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Do Not Write on Your Living Trust

At Morris Hall, we have the privilege of meeting with clients on a regular basis to review their living trusts.  Most of the time the trust is bound, organized, and often looks like it hasn’t been touched since it was executed.  These trusts are easy to review because the trust provisions and the wishes of the client are easy to find and interpret.

There are clients, however, who read their trust on a regular basis, and in the process of doing so, make their own changes to the trust or write down questions on the trust document. Please don’t do that. Anytime handwritten language appears on an executed trust, the integrity of the document is jeopardized, which could lead to a challenge in court.

We recognize that your circumstances will likely change after you've drafted your trust. You may acquire or get rid of assets, have more children, get a divorce, or law changes in your state may necessitate updates to your trust.  If any of these things happen, we recommend amending or restating your trust.

An amendment or restatement is achieved by adding or removing language to your trust to reflect changes in the law or your wishes; these changes must meet certain statutory requirements. Writing on your trust to include new information creates the potential for legal challenge from beneficiaries and may require interpretation by the courts.

If your circumstances have changed, it’s best to put down your questions and wishes on a separate piece of paper and schedule a consultation with a qualified estate planning attorney.

Contributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney Darren L. Richardson.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

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