Trust Amendments

– Authored by: Collin D. Dickey

One of the most common questions we hear from clients is, “what if I need to make a change to my Trust?” The way changes to a Trust should be made depends on what specific changes are desired and, of course, the circumstances surrounding the needed changes.

A “Trust Amendment” is a legal document commonly used to change specific provisions of a Revocable Living Trust, while leaving all other provisions unchanged. What does that really mean? It essentially means that while you are living, you can make changes to your Trust to keep pace with life’s events, by executing a Trust Amendment.

When are Trust Amendments used? A change in the law may trigger the need to amend your Trust. If changes in the law impact the manner in which your Trust is drafted or the terms of your Trust, the attorney who drafted the Trust should make you aware of these legal changes and the associated amendments needed.

A Trust Amendment may also be used when you experience a change in your life circumstances. For example, perhaps you have had a falling out with a child or another family member and have decided to remove that person from your Trust, or perhaps your currently-named Successor Trustee has passed away. These circumstances warrant amending your Trust to include language that reflect such changes and carry out your wishes and instructions as they now exist.

In our office, we often see Trusts that contain “red lined” editing of certain Trust provisions in attempt to reflect changes to the Trust language. However, simply red lining a document does not necessarily constitute a valid Trust Amendment. For a Trust Amendment to be valid under Michigan Law, an amendment process using a properly executed document is necessary.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you may be wondering how much a Trust Amendment will cost. Although the complexity of the circumstances will determine the associated costs, most Trust Amendments are quite simple and inexpensive. Generally, a non-complex Trust Amendment should cost between $150.00-$300.00.

We recommend that our clients schedule a meeting with our office to review their Trusts on an annual basis in order to assess their up-to-date Trust needs and the possibility of amendments. Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your Trust.

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