Question 1: Can I change my revocable living trust? What about an irrevocable trust?
Anyone who creates a revocable living trust, known as a trustor or a settlor, can change the terms of that trust at any time as long as he or she is mentally capable. You cannot change the terms of your trust after you die by, for example, dictating the amendment through your last will and testament. Also, if you created the revocable living trust jointly with a spouse, both you and your spouse will have to agree to any changes. Irrevocable trusts cannot typically be changed.
Question 2: Can the trustee change the terms of my trust?
No. Only the trustor is allowed to change the terms of the revocable living trust. There are many reasons why a trustor might want to do this. For example, if one of the beneficiaries dies, has a child, gets married, or gets divorced, this may lead the trustor to want to change terms. However, the trustor can change the terms for any reason she has and does not have to seek court approval to do so.
Question 3: How do I change the trust’s terms?
Changing the terms of your trust is as easy as creating one. Essentially, you simply have to write the terms down in a manner which comports with state legal requirements. Each state may have slightly different requirements, so you should always speak to your estate planning attorney about the details of the changes.
You can learn more about this and other living trust issues at one of our free seminars in October. The next will be on October 23rd and 24th in Vero Beach and Port S. Lucie. Contact our office for registration information because space is limited.