People try to stay healthy so they can live longer. But since no one lives forever, it’s important to make arrangements for the inevitable. To determine who gets your assets and how they receive them after your death and even what happens to you if you are unable to speak for yourself, you need an estate plan. But what does an estate plan cover and how do you make one? There are some important estate planning issues to consider when you decide what you want. Anne Desormier-Cartwright of Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA offers some insight. “Make a will, consider a trust, “establish healthcare directives, “make a financial power of attorney, “protect your children’s property, file beneficiary forms, “prepare for funeral and related expenses, “and make your final arrangements.” You should also plan ahead for your business and store your paperwork so your attorney and executor will have access to these documents. Desormier-Cartwright continues that this is a partial list and the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney will be the guidance you need to have a thorough understanding of a comprehensive estate plan. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys PA is a law office small enough to provide personal service, but large enough to handle all of your estate and planning needs.
If your life or the law has changed since you signed your trust, it needs to be updated. Updates can be made by way of an amendment – or – a complete restatement. An amendment updates a specific part of the trust; whereas, a restatement, updates the entire trust. You might think that an amendment would cost less than a restatement, but that’s not necessarily true. Let’s chat about which is best for you.
Amendments vs. Restatements: Which Is Better?
Imagine a recipe card you’ve used for years. If one or two provisions have been crossed out and replaced, the card may still be readable. However, if many provisions have been altered, the recipe is likely confusing. If your loved ones can’t read your instructions and determine whether to add a cup of flour or a cup of sugar, your recipe won’t work. You’ve got a 50/50 chance for a great dish – or a complete disaster.
The same can be said about revocable trust. Making one or two amendments is generally acceptable, but when revisions are numerous or comprehensive, your instructions may become confusing and you may be better served with a restatement.
Although amendments are generally used to make smaller changes and restatements are used for larger ones, there’s no bright line rule when it comes to amending or restating a revocable trust. A general guideline to follow is that anytime you’re making more than two changes, restatements are likely better as they:
- Foster ease of understanding and administration
- Tend to avoid ambiguity
- Reduce the amount of paperwork to retain and provide to financial institutions / parties
- Decrease the risk of misplacement
- Prevent beneficiaries from discovering prior terms
- Provide an opportunity to provide other relevant updates, such as changes in the law
In many cases, a restatement may actually be more cost effective than amendments. This is especially true today as computer software allows estate planning attorneys to create and retain documents easily and efficiently. Fortunately, today, you pay for legal counseling, not typing.
Have Questions About Updating Your Trust? We Can Provide Answers
Before deciding whether to amend or restate, it’s important to determine whether previous changes have inadvertently altered your intent or might adversely affect how the trust is administered. We’ll help make your instructions clear.
Have questions? If you do, that’s normal. We can provide you with answers. Whatever your circumstances, rest assured that we can help you to determine the best way to update your trust. Call us today and we’ll help make your instructions are up-to-date and crystal clear.