While most people think of estate planning as a major endeavor, and it is to a certain extent; however, it is not a goal that is obtained and then forgotten about. Instead, estate planning should be something that an individual engages in on an ongoing basis. Failing to do so, in conjunction with changed circumstances, could result in unwanted and unintended consequences that leave an estate and its beneficiaries facing uncertainty.
One way to ensure that your estate plan is adequately meeting your needs and desires is to revisit your wills and trusts to determine if modifications are necessary. Amending a trust can be relatively simple, but it must be done accurately to avoid assets from being subjected to unwanted distribution. If you want to change a beneficiary or a trustee, you only need to create a written amendment to your trust. The amendment must be clear, and the document as a whole must be signed and dated. Such an amendment should then be attached to the original trust documents. This same procedure should be followed when you want to change how assets in the trust are to be distributed.
There may come a time when you want to either move assets from one trust to another or completely revoke a trust. Generally speaking, it is easier to re-state the purpose of a trust rather than revoke it in its entirety and create a new trust in its place. When you attempt to revoke a trust and create a new one in its place, you risk making an error that leaves assets unprotected. By restating the purpose of a trust, you can incorporate all trust assets into a new trust automatically, thereby subjecting those assets to the terms of the new trust.
On their face, these matters may seem relatively easy to address. However, even the smallest of errors can have enormous consequences. These mistakes can have substantial ramifications for an estate and beneficiaries and heirs to that estate. Therefore, Arizona residents who need assistance modifying their estate plan need to consider acquiring the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney. Only then can they rest assured that there estate will be distributed in accordance with their wishes.