Can I revise a living trust without the use of an attorney?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Fullerton, CA

I have a living trust that was formed in Feb 2000 through a local attorney. I need to revise the trust, but the attorney (and others I've checked) are requiring a fee in the area of $500.

The changes I need to make are simple; names, a few assets, but nothing changes the legal wording of the trust. Could I simply retype the pages with the changes needed and add them to the trust documents?

I have all copies of the trust and the chances of it being contested are low.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Brian Lindsay Chew

    Pro

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . You do not necessarily need an attorney to amend any of your estate planning documents although it is generally a good idea to have an attorney do your amendment to make sure everything is done properly. You should be able to find an attorney who would only charge you for one hour of time at a rate of less than $250 per hour to do this for you.

  2. Michael Douglas Shafer

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . IT WOULD NOT BE ADVISABLE. THERE ARE TOO MANY VARIABLES INVOLVED, MANY OF WHICH YOU WOULD BE UNAWARE. KEEP CHECKING AROUND. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF ATTORNEYS AROUND O.C. THAT COULD HELP YOU ACHIEVE WHAT YOU WANT WITHOUT CHARGING FOR A "NEW" TRUST.

  3. Randy Marvin Spiro

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Even though a person who has created a revocable trust has the right to amend it without an attorney, there are problems in attempting to do so. If the amendment you create is invalid for some technical reason, or if there are ambiguities in what you have done, the problems that could be encountered at your passing could dwarf the attorney fee for preparing the amendment. If you are amending the trust to change the trustee, you will want to have the attorney prepare a codicil to the will to change the executor. You may also want to re-do your durable power of attorney for health care if you need to change the name of your agent. If some of your assets are not in your trust, or if you have taken real estate out of the trust to refinance it, or if you have IRAs, retirement plans or life insurance where the beneficiary designation forms have not been updated to reflect your estate plan, the attorney could review these items with you too in order to make sure the new forms are filled out correctly.

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