When Life Changes May Necessitate Amending Trusts
December 2, 2015
As the use of trusts for estate planning has become increasingly common, more and more Florida residents have drawn up the documents necessary to establish them. In some cases, a change in circumstances may necessitate an update or amendment to the trust document itself. Determining when such a change is needed may be tricky for most people.
A common scenario is when co-trustees are named in the document. In the event one of them passes away, it may be necessary to make amendments to make certain a co-trustee is appointed to take the decedent’s place. In most cases, the document should already provide how the selection of a successor trustee will be handled in the event of one co-trustee’s unexpected death. However, this is not always the case.
Some people think they can amend their trust documents on their own by using materials from an office supply store or from online. While this is possible, it is not always a good idea. Trusts are fairly complex documents, and if errors are made, the trust itself may be at risk.
When people establish a trust, they do so with the idea that they can use it to pass their assets in a manner that is unassailable. Generally, a grantor does not wish a trust contest to occur. If errors are made, though, a contest may occur. If a contest is successful, the grantor runs the risk that their assets will be passed according to the state’s intestacy laws instead of the manner in which they intended. People who have questions regarding whether their existing trust documents need to be amended may want to revisit the estate planning attorney who prepared the originals. If that is not possible, they may choose to see a new attorney to get a review and analysis of what needs to be done.