If the schedule of an original trust document no longer expresses the needs of the person who set up the trust, known as the trust grantor, it can be modified or amended; however, this can only happen if the trust is set up as a revocable living trust. It is not necessary to hire a trust attorney to amend a living trust. All the documents you need to complete the task are available online.
To amend a trust document without the help of a trust attorney, fill out a living trust amendment form, a legal instrument whereby minor changes are made to an original trust document. Blank templates are available on the Internet through online document suppliers, although charges may apply. The one-page form is straight-forward and easy to navigate.
To complete a living trust amendment form, you must identify the number of amendments that have preceded the one you're currently making. Enter the trust name as well as the names of the parties involved. Indicate the effective date of the amendment form along with the effective date of the original trust agreement.
Identify the articles of the trust document you wish to modify -- for example, amending or revoking "Article 3" of the trust agreement in whole or in part. Write in the changes you wish to amend. For example, "John Q. Public should be replaced as successor trustee by Jane Doe." The form is not valid until you endorse it with a signature and identify the trust grantor's state and county of residence.
For an amendment form to be legally recognized, you must have a notary public notarize the document. It is not effective unless all signatures have been verified. Keep a copy of the amendment form in a trust portfolio, which should be sheltered inside a safety deposit box at all times.
It's a good idea to record an amendment form in the county clerk's or county recorder's office. A certified record of the amendment may eliminate questions from beneficiaries later regarding the validity of the changes made.
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