When to update a living trust?

by Howard Spinner
(San Ramon, CA)

My wife and I established a living trust in 2000. Would there be any reason for us to see an attorney to update the trust? The only change in our situation is the selling and purchase of a residence, which I am about to put the title into the trust. Other than that, is there any reason to see an attorney once the trust has been established? Thank you!

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Nov 23, 2010
Rule of Thumb on Living Trust Review
by: Mo Johnson

Thanks Howard for the question. I don't see any particular reason you need to have your living trust reviewed -- based on what you told me -- assuming you have properly titled the house in the name of the trust.

However, I'd say since it's been a decade since an attorney reviewed your trust, it would be a good idea to have one look it over and also, maybe more importantly, discuss with you what's changed in your life or the lives of your heirs/beneficiaries that might warrant changes in the trust. Often, things happen that are legally significant that you might not recognize.

I'd have an attorney look it over.

Nov 28, 2010
Even with a 10-year old Trust in Place, When Death Happens, Things Tend to Change
by: Shell

My situation is very different from yours, but I will address issues my family is facing due to my father's unexpected death 3-4 months ago. Dad was a Harvard grad & got his Master's in Town & Country Planning from Birmingham/Oxford or well known University in England. I always heard whether he was the VP for a real estate developer (& frequently went to court on the company's behalf...& won cases) or doing his retirement job Managing (using his broader expertise) a Golf Course, from him, my mother, & even strangers that he should have been an attorney. He did mentor his 15 yr younger brother down the enquire trajectory. Thus, my parents had a trust since I was old enough to know what some of that meant. They last updated it to a Revokable Living Trust in the mid-90s.

Dad spent great time to include all the necessary items & had a trust attorney review & make some edits to finalize it. Since that time, my father developed cancer, 3 of 4 daughters stopped talking to him, he retired from his 'retirement' job & obtained a clean bill of health. When Dad died, my mother revoked the entire trust because she wanted every last cent to only be in her name. She nixed all grandkids, & added clauses that made her 4 children equal beneficiaries "if any assets remain". She nixed the Special Needs Trust for the 1 disabled adult child, and since his will & Adv. Care Directive were part of the Trust, she convinced herself that what was outlined in the trust was not what he really wanted, she buried him the cheapest way possible & 3,000 miles from where he wanted to be buried. For anyone putting a trust in place, to protect the house from 'estate taxes' in 2010 at least, i.e., or any other reason, it is vital to have absolutely specific instructions for what the remaining spouse is to do. My dad did all the finances & most of what a '50s traditional husband would do. The attorney from 10 yrs ago has been hospitalized since March 2010; his underline is taking advantage of my mom not understanding any of this, plus having to grieve the loss of her husband 3 weeks before their 50th wedding anniversary. Since Midwestern stubborn Mom won't accept anything but 'feel good help' from (think food or now the grass ONCE), she is facing probate from contesting elements of the trust. Just what Fad was trying to protect her, and all if his children, from.

My advice is to at least get the Nolo book on Living Trusts to familiarize yourself as to what you would face if you die first...& fix that & do the same for yourself. Besides death & taxes, things DO change. Best of luck.

Oct 22, 2014
Living trust
by: Anonymous

You should consider amending your living trust if, for example,:
You get married or divorced, You have, or adopt, a child, You move to another state, Your financial status changes significantly, One of your trust beneficiaries dies, One of your named trustees dies or is incapacitated, etc.

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