A Trust Amendment revises the conditions and terms of a Trust. Trust Amendments are only made if certain provisions of a Trust agreement must be changed or modified. All remaining provisions of the agreement remain unchanged in this case. Minor changes may include updating a beneficiary’s name, changes due to marriage or divorce, adding or deleting certain simple bequests, or naming a different trustee.
In contrast, a Trust Restatement is made if the basic goals of forming the Trust have changed or if all or main provisions of the Trust agreement need to be changed. Changes in the number of beneficiaries, changes in the way in which the funds or assets are to be distributed, or compliance with new laws are a few of the significant changes that may warrant a restatement.
A Trust agreement is also restated if the Trust has already been amended several times and consolidating all changes in a clear manner will help provide greater clarity. A restatement can help avoid confusion when directions contained in the Trust are implemented. Restatement of a trust agreement may also make sense if federal and state estate tax laws change, or new administration laws are enacted.
Important Points about Amendment and Restatement of Trusts
- There is no specific rule regarding when you should opt for a restatement or how many times a trust can be amended before it needs to be restated. Get the advice of an experienced attorney.
- While an amendment makes sense for minor changes, a restatement may be essential if major changes are made.
- The restated document completely supersedes the original agreement. In this case, the name and date of the trust remain the same and only the content must be changed.
- A Trust amendment document must be signed and formalized, as is the case with the original document.
- Handwritten changes may not be acceptable in some states or might be considered invalid.
Each time a Trust agreement is changed, the accompanying Pourover Wills should be reviewed as well.