Can I make changes to my trust?

Arizona residents who have started the estate planning process may be concerned that they will not be able to make changes to their trusts once they are finalized. Fortunately, most trusts are both revocable and amendable, so you may be able to make multiple changes to your trust over time, or cancel it altogether. However, trusts are legal instruments, so the terms of the trust will dictate what you can do with it.

If you and your spouse choose to enter into a joint revocable trust, the terms will likely be somewhat broad. Broad terms will allow you to amend the trust over time, even after your spouse passes away. You may not be able to change the residuary beneficiaries, or, in other words, the people who gets the money. However, if you just take all the assets out of the trust and create a new one, you will not need to change the beneficiaries.

The terms of your trust will be the key in determining whether you can modify the assets and conditions. If you have not created your trust yet, an estate planning attorney can help make sure your trust is as malleable or as strict as you want it to be. The attorney will go through the pros and cons of each type of trust and help you figure out which is best for you.

If your trust already exists and you want to amend it, an attorney can help review the terms of the trust and let you know what changes you can make. Once you have determined what you are legally allowed to do, you can plan your next steps in the estate planning process.

Source: NWI Times, “Estate Planning: Options possible to amend trusts,” Christopher Yogo, Oct. 15, 2017