How Often Should I Update My Trust?


Video Summary

How often should I change my trust?  Well, the first question is whether or not you have what they call a revocable trust, meaning a trust that you can amend (because if you have an irrevocable trust that means you cannot change it).  But let’s assume that you’re talking about a revocable trust.  If you reserve the right to amend the trust, I suggest that you review the provisions of your trust at least once a year, particularly the provisions that provide for who receives the assets at your death, and you should change it any time your circumstances change.

In the event that you lose one of the beneficiaries, you would want to consider who you would want to receive that beneficiary’s share.  If you have family problems or domestic problems, you may wish to also change your trust.  So, you change your trust just like you change a will—when your circumstances change.  The laws are changing now in the event of divorce.  Under a will scenario, an ex-spouse is automatically taken out of your will, so even if you left him or her everything, they would not inherit once you are divorced.

I believe that they’re working on trust legislation to provide the same thing in a trust document.  So, this would be another circumstance when you would want to review your estate plan.  Review not only your will or trust document but other documents, such as a living will, if you may not want your ex-spouse to make a decision on a life-or-death situations (such as discontinuing life support) or being named your healthcare surrogate or possibly a power of attorney, which particularly leading up to the divorce, could be particularly dangerous.

So, if you’re going through domestic problems, you may want to set up an appointment to discuss your estate plan and what you can and cannot change while you’re going through the divorce proceeding.  And certainly, after the divorce, you’ll want to review your documents.  If you have some questions about this or would like to set up an appointment to review your trust and talk about any change in circumstances, we’ll be happy to do so and prepare an amendment to your trust.  My phone number is (727) 847-2288.