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Making changes to a trust: amendment vs. restatement

Life never stands still. Even when you have crafted an estate plan that makes sense for you and your family, it's only natural that changes will come up. This doesn't mean there was anything wrong with your earlier planning. It simply means that life is dynamic and it is simply not possible to anticipate every possible change.

That is why, in Massachusetts or any other state, making an amendment to a trust is often in order. It could be a living trust or some other type of trust. The main thing is that something has changed and it is necessary to reflect that change in the trust document.

Again, this is perfectly normal. Keep in mind, however, that if you have multiple amendments, it may be time to do more than tweak or revise the original trust. If there are multiple amendments, you may want to consider replacing the entire original trust with a new trust.

The term for this transaction is "restatement." To make comprehensive amendments of an original trust and replace it with a new one is there called a restatement of a trust.

The types of changes that may prompt the need for such a change will of course vary from case to case. For example, let's say you want to change the person whom you have named as the trustee.

It could be that the person you originally named has moved away or is unable to serve as trustee for some other reason. An amendment to the trust can make clear who the successor trustee should be.

But if multiple amendments are to be made, a restatement of the trust may be preferable to merely amending it.

Source: "ESTATE PLANNING: Trusts are not a do-it-yourself job," NW Times, Christopher W. Yugo," 1-13-13

To learn more about our firm's practice, please visit our page on trusts.

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