Can I Amend My Living Trust Without an Attorney?

Talk to any estate planning lawyer, and they’ll tell you it’s crucial to check your estate plan every five years.

Life can change a lot in a short time, and your will and living trusts should stay up-to-date.

Now, many wonder, ‘Can I amend my living trust without an attorney?’

In this post, we’ll discuss why you might need to update your living trust and the simplest way to do it.

An Image of a an Amendment of a Living Trust
A Living Trust Amendment

Important Reasons to Amend a Living Trust

You can change a living trust whenever things in your life change.

Here are some reasons why you might want to do that:

  • You got married
  • You got divorced
  • You had a child
  • Someone who was supposed to get something from the trust passed away
  • You want to change who gets something, who takes care of the trust, or how things are shared
  • You want to take a property out of the trust
  • You bought a new property and want to add it to the trust
  • You moved to a different state with different rules about inheritance

There could be other reasons too.

It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer to see if the changes in your life mean you should update your trust.

Can I Amend My Living Trust Without An Attorney?

Yes, you can change a living trust without an attorney, and you don’t have to go to court.

There are forms online or services that can help you with estate planning for a small fee.

But, it’s usually a good idea to work with a lawyer, especially if they helped make the trust.

Even though it costs money, a lawyer can suggest ways that might save you money later.

For example, they might say it’s better to cancel the trust and make a new one if it makes sense and helps you save money.

Most importantly, if you make a mistake (which can happen with legal stuff), it might cause money problems later.

So, having a lawyer is the safest choice.

How To Amend A Living Trust

Now that you know you can change your living trust without a lawyer, here’s how you can do it if you’re feeling sure:

  1. Find an Online Form: Look for free forms online to make changes to your living trust. There are many available. Just pick the one that’s easiest for you, as there’s no one right form.
  2. Use Simple Words: Keep things easy! Don’t use fancy legal words. You want the people who get your things and the ones looking after them to understand easily. Just clearly say the trust’s name, date, and what exactly you’re changing.
  3. Make Changes Official: Make your changes official by getting them notarized. This means signing the changes in front of someone called a notary. If it’s a shared trust, each signature needs this. But remember, there might be a fee for each notarized signature.
  4. Add Changes to the Trust: Once it’s official, attach your changes to the main document. Keep it in a safe spot your trustees can get to easily, or at your lawyer’s office. But don’t keep it in a safe deposit box if its contents aren’t part of the trust. During probate, the court might seal the box, making it hard for your trustees to get the documents.

Can You Amend An Irrevocable Living Trust?

You can’t change an irrevocable living trust once it’s set.

Unlike a revocable trust, this one doesn’t allow any changes.

But, you can cancel or “revoke” it if the people who benefit and take care of it agree.

If they don’t agree, you’ll need to get a lawyer and go through a court process to cancel the trust.

Conclusion

Regularly checking your estate plan is crucial due to life changes.

The article discusses the possibility of amending a living trust without a lawyer, listing reasons for updates, and suggesting working with an attorney for safety and potential cost savings.

The process involves finding a form online, using simple language, notarizing changes, and attaching them to the trust.

It notes that irrevocable trusts cannot be amended but can be revoked with an agreement or through legal channels if there’s disagreement.

It’s really important to update your living trust as part of your overall estate plan.

Whenever something big happens in your life, take a look at your estate plan.

You might not need to make big changes, but it’s good to check after important events.

If you’re not sure, talk to a qualified estate planning attorney.