Living trusts have grown in popularity over the last decade. After all, these estate planning documents allow people to achieve goals that are not possible using other types of estate planning methods. Living trusts allow people to both control how assets are distributed as well as change or alter those terms during their lifetimes. If you are one of the many people who decide to alter the terms of your living trust, it can prove helpful if you know exactly how to do this.
Knowing When it is Time to Revoke or Amend a Trust
All major life events including births, adoptions, marriages, and divorces should make you review the terms of your estate plan. If changes become necessary, you should not hesitate to make them. Often the question is not whether you should revise the terms of your trust, but instead how you should implement these revisions. Instead, the primary question is often how revisions or amendments occur.
How Amendments and Revocations are Made
The ways in which a person is permitted to alter a revocable living trust are dictated both by the terms of the trust as well as Oklahoma law. Generally, a person in Oklahoma is permitted to modify the terms of a living trust unless Oklahoma law states otherwise. Regarding the specific details about how these alterations should be made, it helps to view amendments and revocations separately.
A Special Note on Living Trust Amendments
If you are interested in making amendments to a trust, there are some important issues that you should consider. One central concern when making amendments is ensuring that the amendment controls the trust rather than the original terms. Not only are revisions to the trust critical, but you should also make sure to communicate details about these changes to anyone who has an interest in the trust. In almost all cases, amendments should be signed, notarized, and attached to the original document.
A Special Note on Living Trust Revocations
Before the revocation of a trust, a person might decide to transfer ownership of any assets in the trust back to their name. Law does not require that that revocations be notarized, but it might be a good idea to consider doing so anyway. If the terms of a trust do not state how revocation can occur, the only requirement under Oklahoma law is that the trust creator displays a clear and convincing intent to do so.
Given the potentially surprising nature of trust revocations, however, it is a good idea to do so when there is still an opportunity to communicate your intent behind this decision to anyone who might be affected by the choice.
Speak With an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
The estate planning process is full of challenges. One of the best ways to make sure that your wishes are fully carried out is to obtain the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney. Contact knowledgeable estate planning attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.