When Should I Amend my Trust?
By William C. Mason, III, Of Counsel
As your life changes, so too can your revocable trust. While there are numerous reasons why you may want to modify your trust, the following events are the most common that necessitate a trust amendment:
The birth or adoption of a child
When initially creating your trust, you may have named individuals such as siblings, parents, or friends as fiduciaries and/or beneficiaries of your trust. However, upon the birth or adoption of a child, there is a likelihood that your original designations no longer align with your current wishes.
Marriage or dissolution
In California, a marriage or dissolution involves numerous community and separate property issues that may impact your estate plan. Upon entering a marriage, you may wish to give your spouse a future interest in your separate property or transfer separate property to your community estate through creation of a marital trust. Similarly, upon dissolution, a court order may alter ownership interests in community property, or you would likely end your ex-spouse’s interest in your separate property trust, if you have one.
The death of a beneficiary
If one of your beneficiaries predeceases you, their share must go somewhere. It is likely that when you prepared your trust, you selected a contingent beneficiary to receive in the beneficiary’s place. However, if you did not do so, your relationship with that person changed, or if you simply decide you want to provide for someone else, the death of a primary beneficiary creates a situation in which you may need to amend your trust.
Remember that this is only a small selection of instances which may trigger a need for trust amendment. As such, it is important to have your documents reviewed often to ensure that the terms of your trust accurately reflect your present life situation.