Trust Lawyer St. Peters, MO
If you created a revocable living trust with your spouse, you can change the whole trust or part of the trust following the his or her death. A living trust allows to you make any changes to the terms by creating amendments or by creating a new trust entirely. If you have an “A-B” trust, the trust you created splits entirely in two when your spouse dies and you are unable to change any piece of your spouse’s part of the trust.
When the trust is divided in two, your spouse’s sections are known as the bypass trust and your pieces are called the survivor’s trust. The trust you originally created with your spouse holds all of the terms for both the bypass trust and the survivor’s trust. You have the capability to change your section, the survivor’s trust, just as you would with a traditional living trust until you die.
Reviewing your Original Trust
If you have a traditional living trust, you will need to read over the trust carefully prior to making any changes. The death of your spouse will alter the way any assets in the trusts are distributed when you die, if your spouse was listed as the beneficiary. You will also need to choose someone to name as a successor trustee if that role was left to your spouse in your original trust.
To ensure everything is distributed fairly, it is recommended to created a list of any assets in the trust, how these assets are distributed, and who is listed as a beneficiary. Once you have created this list, it will be easier to change the distribution of your assets in your amended or new trust. If you have an A-B trust, the trust will need to be split into two separate trusts. If you need to split your trust, it is recommended to work with a St. Peters, MO trust lawyer.
Creating an Amendment
If you have decided to only make a few changes to your living trust or survivor’s trust, you may only need to create an amendment rather than creating a new trust. State laws regarding creating amendments to your trust will determine how this should be done, but the usual process is to create a separate document that lists the sections of the trust you are deciding to change and how you are changing them, exactly word for word. You will also need to list the name of the trust agreement and the date of execution, along with the date and your signature.
If, after your spouse dies, you need to change many sections or large sections of your trust, it may behoove you to create an entirely new trust agreement. This is also true if you are planning on making a large amount of changes to your survivor’s trust. Having a large amendment could get confusing and could make people uncertain about what you would like to have happen to your belongings when you die. It is recommended to have a new trust reviewed by a trust lawyer St. Peters, MO clients call to ensure it is correct.