A living trust is a legal document that allows you to specify how your assets will be managed and distributed after your death and also during periods of incapacity. It is be a useful tool for avoiding probate, which is the legal process of transferring ownership of your assets after you die.
Additionally, when you place assets in a living trust, as the name implies, you can make changes to it as you see fit during your lifetime. In California, there are several steps involved in changing a living trust. Although an attorney should walk you through the process, as every case may be unique, they generally include the following:
Determine the reason for the change
There are multiple reasons why you might want to change a living trust. You may have a change in your personal or financial circumstances, if you want to add or remove beneficiaries, or if you want to make changes to the terms of the trust.
Consult with an attorney
It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney when making any changes to a legal document like a living trust. An attorney can help you understand the legal implications of the changes you want to make and ensure that the changes are properly documented.
Prepare the amendment
To make changes to a living trust, an amendment to the trust document must be prepared. This amendment should specify the changes you want to make and should be signed and dated by you.
Have the amendment notarized
In California, a living trust amendment must be notarized in order to be valid. This means that a notary public must witness your signature on the amendment and stamp it with an official seal.
Provide copies of the amendment to all interested parties
After the amendment has been notarized, you should provide copies to all interested parties, including the trustee, the beneficiaries, and any other individuals or entities named in the trust.
Update your estate planning documents
In addition to making changes to your living trust, you should also make sure that any other estate planning documents, such as your will, power of attorney, health directives, and any other documents, are consistent with the changes you have made.
Review and update the trust periodically
It is important to review and update your living trust on a regular basis to ensure that it accurately reflects your current wishes and circumstances. This is especially important if you have any major life changes, such as getting married, divorced, or having children.
Overall, the process of changing a living trust in California involves determining the reason for the change, consulting with an attorney, preparing and notarizing an amendment, providing copies to all interested parties, and updating your estate planning documents. By following these steps, you can ensure that your living trust accurately reflects your wishes and helps protect your assets after your death.
None of this is meant to overwhelm you. At the Law Offices of Andrew Cohen, a San Luis Obispo living trust attorney is on hand to guide you through every step of this process. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at 661-481-0100 today.