Amendment to Living Trust

Amendment to Living Trust

Use this form to make simple changes to your living trust – for example, adding or removing beneficiaries or naming a new successor trustee.  An amendment is an add-on to your existing trust. Everything else about your trust remains the same – including the trust’s name -- so there is no need to retitle your trust property.

To make an amendment, fill out this form, print it, and bring it to a notary public.  After you and the notary sign the form, your changes will be valid. Instructions for finalizing your amendment print with the document.

You can save and edit your trust amendment before you buy it – just create a Nolo.com account.  It’s easy, free, and there is no obligation. If you do purchase the form, you can edit, print, and download it as often as you like during your 1-year subscription.

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Use this form to make simple changes to your living trust – for example, to add or remove beneficiaries or name a different successor trustee.  An amendment is an add-on to your existing trust. Everything else about your trust remains the same – including the trust’s name --so there is no need to retitle your trust property.

You may want to make an amendment to account for life's changes - for example, if:

  • you get married or divorced
  • you have a new child or grandchild, or
  • someone named in the trust dies.

Use this document only for simple changes. This amendment works best when you need to make just a few small changes to your trust.

If you need to make more than a few simple changes, or if any changes you want to make are hard to describe using this form, then do not use this form -- get help from an attorney.

If you made a trust with a Nolo software product (either Quicken WillMaker Plus 2019 or Nolo’s Living Trust), then you can make more substantial changes using the program’s “trust restatement.”

Revoking and making a new trust instead. If you need to make extensive or complicated changes to your trust, another option is to revoke your existing trust and make a new one. You can revoke your trust with Nolo's Revocation of Living Trust If you do this, you will need to retitle all of your trust property to reflect the name of your new trust.

Adding or removing property.  If you only want to add or remove property from your trust, you do not need to revoke or amend your current trust.  Adding or removing property requires updating your property schedules and transferring the property in or out of the trust. See the FAQ below.

Using this amendment form. If you decide to make a trust amendment to modify your trust, fill out this form, print it, and bring it to a notary public.  After you and the notary sign the form, the your changes will be valid.  Instructions for finalizing your amendment print with the document.

You can save and edit your trust amendment before you buy it – just create a Nolo.com account.  It’s easy, free, and there is no obligation. If you do purchase the form, you can edit, print, and download it as often as you like during your 1-year subscription.

FAQs


How do I create a trust amendment?

First, find the document that created your trust in the first place. It will probably be called a trust instrument, trust document, or declaration of trust. You need it so that you can copy the provisions you want to change.

It's important that your amendment not confuse the people who must eventually carry out its terms. So be very careful to:

  • copy exactly the language you want to delete or change
  • include the section numbers from the original document to identify the language you want to change or delete
  • include section numbers in the new language to indicate where it should go in the trust document.

After you complete the amendment, print it out and review it carefully. When you're satisified that it clearly conveys your intent, sign it, get your signature notarized, and then attach the amendment to your original trust document.

Why should I amend my trust?

If it's been many years since you created your trust, your circumstances may have changed. Here are some events that prompt many people to change their estate planning documents:

  • You get married or divorced.
  • You have a new child or grandchild.
  • A major beneficiary dies.
  • You move to another state.
  • You change your mind about who you want to serve as successor trustee.

If you want to only add or remove property from the trust, you do not need to make a trust amendment. See below.

Can I amend my trust?

Most revocable living trusts -- the most common kind of trust, designed to avoid probate -- can be amended or revoked at any time during the lifetime of the person or persons (called grantors, settlors, or trustors) who created them. The documents that create these kinds of trusts contain clauses specifically giving settlors these powers.

If you made a shared trust with your spouse, both of you should sign any amendments. Usually, the trust document requires both signatures for an amendment.

Only the grantor has the power to amend the trust. If you are the successor trustee in charge of a trust, the trust instrument (the document that created the trust) will almost certainly not give you the power to amend it.

If you have any doubts about your right to amend your trust, read the trust instrument carefully and look for a clause that sets out the power to amend. If you're still not sure, talk to a knowledgeable lawyer.

Can I use this form to amend my trust?

You can use this trust amendment if you want to make just a few simple changes to your trust. For example, you can use this amendment if you want to:

  • change who you named to be your successor trustee
  • add or remove a beneficiary, or
  • change how a gift is divided among your beneficiaries.

You can use one trust amendment to make several simple changes – say up to three or four – as long you are able to clearly convey the changes you want to make.

If there is any chance of confusion, do not use this trust amendment. See a lawyer instead.

Can I use this form to restate my trust?

No, you cannot use this form to restate your trust. A restatement of trust involves recreating the text from your original trust, along with your changes and some extra information describing the restatement. This form will not help you do that. This form is more simple – it just appends your trust with a new document that adds or removes trust clauses.

If you made your trust with Nolo software (Quicken WillMaker Plus 2019 or Nolo’s Living Trust), you can return to the software to make a restatement of trust.

Otherwise, if you want a restatement of trust, you will need help from a lawyer.

How can I make more complicated changes to my trust?

If you want to make more than a few simple changes or any number of complicated changes, do not use this trust amendment.

Instead, you have several choices:

  • See a lawyer to amend or “restate” your trust.
  • If you made your trust with Nolo software (Quicken WillMaker Plus 2019 or Nolo’s Living Trust), return to the software to make a restatement of trust.
  • Revoke your trust and make a new one. This will require retitling all of your trust property to reflect the name of your new trust.

What if I only want to add or remove property from the trust?

If you only want to add or remove property from the trust, you can do that without creating a trust amendment. Here's what to do:

  1. Locate your trust's "schedule."  A trust's schedule is a list of property that was transferred to the trust. It's normally attached to the trust document after the trust's main body. If you have a shared trust, there will likely be more than one schedule. 
  2. Create a new version of the schedule. Copy the original exactly, adding or deleting items from the list of property as necessary.
  3. Sign and date your revised schedule. You do not need to have it notarized.
  4. Update title documents or assignments of property. If the item has a title document, you'll need to retitle it to reflect whether it is now in or out of the trust. If the added or removed property does not have a title document, add it to or remove it from the trust's "assignment of property" document. The assignment of property is usually attached to the trust following the schedule(s).

These steps mimic the process you took to transfer property into the trust when you initially set it up. If you have questions, see the lawyer or resource you used to create your trust.

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Review by Kristine L.
Helped me get it ready for my lawyer. Difficult to edit. (Posted on 2/15/2018)

Review by Susan S.
This product answered a lot of questions....Thanks (Posted on 7/13/2017)

Review by Richard C.
I needed to make a minor change to my will, and my lawyer told me that a notarized amendment is required. Instead of paying him hundreds of dollars to write the amendment, I found Nolo's Amendment package. Like other Nolo products I have used, this was clearly explained and easy to use. Nolo saved me a lot of time and money, and also gave me some agency in the process. An excellent service! (Posted on 7/2/2017)

Got the job done. by Prazebe
This product was easier to use then some. Although, it does not allow you to copy & paste single entries. Because it will erase what you have already listed & replace it with the copy & paste paragraph/sentence you just put in. I had to to place the entire document I wanted in Microsoft word & then copy & paste the entirety into NOLO. Otherwise, you have to hand type your entire document into NOLO. I didn't like that any tech help could only be done through email. As there is no phone number to actually speak to someone. Therefore, to get an answer may take a few days. I was finally able to complete my amendment. (Posted on 4/20/2017)