Neuberger, Griggs, Sweet & Froehle, LLP

Can I make changes to my living trust?

Estate planning worksheet for living trustEstate planning comes with a lot of questions; after all, estate planning is an important and beneficial action for the sake of the estate owner and their family and friends. Drafting legal documents, deciding what legal documents are right for the situation, modifying the estate planning documents…estate planning is a continual process that fluctuates as your life changes.

When those changes occur, the question “can I make changes to my estate planning documents?” is the typical response. Since a will is the most common estate planning document, it is common knowledge that the document can be altered. A revocable living trust is a less commonly used document and comes with its own set of questions—especially when modifications are needed.

What is a revocable living trust?

A revocable living trust is a legal document that outlines your assets and distribution. In a living trust, all assets are placed in a living trust and a trustee is appointed to manage the assets. Typically, the trustee is the estate owner during their lifetime and is transferred to another party or parties when necessary. Any adult or corporation can be named trustee in a revocable living trust.

Unlike a will, a revocable living trust is a private document. The biggest benefit of a revocable living trust is that all assets named in the trust do not have to go through probate, which can take longer for distribution and incur more costs.

Should I have a will even if I have a revocable living trust?

A will should be drafted even in situations where a living trust is in place. A will can detail instructions for any assets not covered under the revocable living trust and appoint a guardian for minors. Detailing instructions for support of those minors can be included in the revocable living trust.

Can I make changes to a revocable living trust?

A revocable living trust can be modified or revoked after drafting. Contact a lawyer for information on how to do so, and what is needed for the change. Typically, changes cannot be made when the estate owner passes away.

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