Revocable Living Trust - rustic house with garden

Changing Your Revocable Living Trust

Estate planning should be tailored to your needs and your desires. If you’re looking for an estate planning option that allows flexibility due to changing circumstances or personal preferences, you might want to consider a Revocable Living Trust. If you already have a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) and want to make an amendment to that trust, we can help. At Phelps LaClair, serving Gilbert, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, and surrounding areas, whether you’re new to estate planning or you need a revision to your RLT, we’re here to serve you.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a legal document that acts as a substitute for a will by establishing instructions for the distribution of your assets upon becoming incapacitated, or in the event of death. But a Revocable Living Trust is different from a will in that it gives you the flexibility to amend specific details of the document as needed. You can even revoke the entire trust in the case of major life changes.

Steps to Changing Your Revocable Living Trust

There are several options for making changes to a Revocable Living Trust. We’ve given a brief description of each one here:

  • Trust Amendment: A Trust Amendment is a legal document that changes a specific provision of the Revocable Living Trust, but leaves all of the other provisions unchanged. This allows you to modify your RLT without replacing all its provisions or revoking the trust completely. A Trust Amendment makes reference to the original document and is signed by the one who created the trust. It’s good to be aware, however, that making too many changes to provisions by creating numerous Trust Amendments could create confusion for trustees of your estate.
  • Trust Restatement: A Trust Restatement is a good option when you need to make considerable change to your RLT, or when you want to integrate the number of past Trust Amendments that have been made. A Trust Restatement completely replaces all the provisions of a Revocable Living Trust with all new provisions that will better meet your changing needs. It is not a revoking of the initial RLT, but an amendment, or complete Restatement of the original trust. It is a legal document signed by the creators of the RLT.  
  • Complete Revocation: A Complete Revocation of the trust transfers the assets held in the RLT back into your individual name. This then allows you to create and fund a completely new RLT. A Complete Revocation can be time consuming and costly. If you’re contemplating this step, call us for an appointment to discuss available options.

Whether you’re considering a Revocable Living Trust for the first time or you’d like to make changes to your current RLT, we can help you discover the best fit for your specific needs. Contact Phelps LaClair today. We’ll review your portfolio and help you to with all your Revocable Living Trust needs.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/11/2018) William Murphy (Flickr)

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