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Can I destroy an amendment to my own revocable living trust without notifying the beneficiaries?

San Jose, CA |

I had a lawyer write up an amendment to my trust, signed and notarized, but I do not believe it's been distributed to my beneficiaries. Is it okay for me to simply shred the amendment, or do I need to notify everyone that a) and amendment exists, and b) that I'm destroying it?

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Attorney answers 4


Unless your state law requires you to notify the beneficiaries of your private plans in a REVOCABLE instrument, then you can do whatever, whenever.
That being said, I have two suggestions:
1. involve your attorney whenever changing your documents because one little thing pulling in the wrong direction can knock your whole estate plan off track sometimes; and
2. ask your attorney about restating your trust instead of amending it. Amendments tend to get mis-labeled, misplaced, and they tend to complicate and frustrate your overall plan.

Reach me at, (877) 411-3462, or (954) 900-2939. Do you know the consequences of your legal situation on your Financial & Estate Plan? I run a Florida law practice and a nationwide financial planning practice (411 Financial) in which I mostly work with people/families who have recently undergone a legal claim like personal injury, divorce, wrongful termination, etc. I find that money without purpose finds a way of getting spent; so I work with my clients to make sure that they have something to show for all of their troubles well after their legal claims are resolved. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Brokers International Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, Panora, Iowa, Brokers International Financial Services, LLC is not affiliated with 411 Financial, 411 LegalDox, or 411 FlaLaw. Disclaimer: The response above is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, would significantly alter the above response.


It may be preferable to simply prepare another amendment to revoke the changes and restate the prior provisions that had been revoked.


The answer is "yes." But, that said - it is wise to have the trust "restated." As suggested by other counsel, it may avoid future complications - what if the lawyers file reflects the existence of the amendment? What if it appears in your files after your death?

DISCLAIMER: The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship or any right of confidentiality between you and the responding attorney. These responses are intended only to provide general information about perceived legal issues within the question. Each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer is not a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances.


I believe you are looking at the wrong side of the fence. The issues revoking or terminating the amendment are not really so much one of notice. If you simply destroy what you have and your attorney has copies upon your demise the beneficiaries will get copies of what your attorney has and they will be able to enforce the provisions of the modification. What you need to do and you can do without notification of the beneficiaries is to formally in writing revoke the amendment or have a new amendment which takes out the provisions of the prior amendment. Your attorney can handle this and you don’t have to notify the beneficiaries.

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