Change is just a part of life. From changing the laundry detergent that we use to changing the kind of car we drive, the possibilities really are endless when it comes to change.
But what happens when we need to change an important legal document that has already been executed? It is a common misconception that everything is written in stone when it comes to the legal world, and we are here to address that myth and talk about how you can make changes when needed.
Recap of What RLTs Do
If you follow our blog, you’ll know we write regularly about revocable living trusts (RLTs). They are trusts that are set up in order to protect your assets by transferring their ownership from your personal name into a trust. One of the benefits is that an RLT can help avoid probate, which is the legal process of transferring your property when you die, because most of your assets are owned by the trust rather than you personally. You can read more about the basics of RLTs by clicking here.
Modifying a Revocable Living Trust
Simply put, the answer to the original question is “yes” you can make amendments or modifications to a revocable living trust in Virginia so that it once again meets your particular needs. As the name suggests, “revocable” indicates that it can be changed or revoked as compared to an “irrevocable” trust, which can not be amended or revoked.
The most straightforward way to modify a RLT is to have your attorney create an amendment, meaning that a provision of the original trust document is re-written using language designed to accomplish your new goals. This amendment can then be notarized and stored for safe keeping. One common misconception is that an RLT must be filed for public record. On the contrary, these documents are not part of public record and are instead usually stored away or filed just like with a will, power of attorney, or other important estate planning documents.
The best advice is to ask for help
We strongly suggest calling us for advice to avoid a potentially disastrous situation down the road. Remember, that even the most intricately planned trust may require a change in the future, but ensuring that you have selected your trustee carefully and included all pertinent information is a good starting point and can avoid potential future costly changes.
With an unparalleled reputation in Northern Virginia for providing quality, affordable estate planning services to our clients, the time has never been better for you to sit down and talk to one of our attorneys about your needs.