Revisiting a trust executed decades ago

Revisiting a trust executed decades ago

| May 4, 2020 | Firm News |

You may have executed a revocable trust decades ago in Florida with your spouse, naming your spouse as the primary beneficiary of your trust assets. However, now in your old age you may find yourself a widow and your children are grown. At this point, you may want to revisit that revocable trust executed long ago, to reflect the changes in your family and the wealth you accumulated throughout the years.

Revocable trusts serve as a tool to legally distribute your assets both while you are alive and upon your death without having to go through probate. Unlike an irrevocable trust, a revocable trust allows you to modify the terms of the trust while you are alive or even revoke the trust altogether, if you are mentally competent.

To amend a revocable trust, you need to execute a valid trust amendment in accordance to state law. It can be a complete trust restatement or a complete revocation of the trust. It is important to seek legal assistance while doing so, as handwritten modifications may not be enforceable by the court. You can always add assets to the trust without having to amend it.

When you restate a revocable trust, you will execute a document stating that the original trust is not revoked entirely, but that the original trust is being restated with certain amendments. This means that you will not have to move assets out of the original trust, and then retitle the assets in the trust’s name, which would be the case if you revoked the trust.

There are a variety of reasons why you may want to amend, restate or revoke a trust. Your spouse may have died, meaning you want certain assets to go to your adult children or to your grandchildren. Conversely, you may have had a falling out with a beneficiary to the trust, and now no longer want that beneficiary to inherit. In addition, you may have gained significant assets during your lifetime that need to be placed in the trust. Whatever the reason, it is important to seek legal assistance when amending, restate or revoke a trust to ensure the changes are legally enforceable when the time comes.