How do you change beneficiaries in a living trust?


Quick Answer

Beneficiaries can be changed in a living trust by either attaching an amendment or by drawing up a restatement of the trust, notes Nolo. A living trust can be changed without a lawyer, but one should be consulted if major changes need to be made to the trust.

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Full Answer

If the trust maker decides to attach an amendment to the living trust, he needs to sign the amendment and have his signature notarized the same as he did when he originally created the trust, says Nolo. When creating a restatement of the trust, a brand new trust is created that includes the new beneficiaries or leaves out beneficiaries who have been removed. The restatement option is often the more preferable of the two, since it's usually less confusing.

Living trusts that are created by couples can be revoked by either spouse, but both have to consent in writing to any changes made to the trust, notes Nolo. If any property listed in the trust is ever transferred out of the trust, the change requires the agreement of both spouses. If one spouse dies, the remaining spouse is legally allowed to change the trust as long as the change involves his property. The remaining spouse is not legally permitted to change the terms of the trust dealing with the deceased spouse's property.

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