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July 2020

Making changes to your Revocable Living Trust in California

If you are a previous client of the Law Offices of Jack B. Friedell or just interested in finding out if your California Revocable Living Trust meets your needs and desires, give us a call today for a free consultation. We will look over all your estate planning documents and give you feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your current estate plan.

Amending or Restating your California Living Trust

For our younger clients, one of the primary reasons they do not establish a California Living Trust is because they believe they will end of making changes to the Trust sometime in the next few years. One example is they assume that the guardian they choose or successor trustee will change as their kids get older. Therefore, they hold off on putting a Trust in place, and consequently, they leave their estate and family exposed to unnecessary fees and costs associated with not having a living trust.

However, making changes to a living trust is relatively easy depending on what needs to be changed. There are two ways to make changes to your existing Living Trust. One is through an amendment to the Trust and the other is done by restating your Trust. An amendment usually entails a one or two page addition or revision of your existing Trust and costs around $100-$500 depending on the level of difficulty and preparation time. On the other hand, a Restatement to a Living Trust actually supersedes your existing Trust and becomes the controlling document. If you are interested in a price quote for a restatement to your California Living Trust please give us a call today.

Amendment to the Trust

Making changes to a Revocable Living Trust in California is very simple. Most changes, such as to a beneficiary or a Trustee, can be made via an amendment to the Trust. The amendment updates a provision and now supersedes the old provision. An amendment does not take much time and will typically be billed according to the attorney’s hourly rate. Preparing an amendment and having the client come in for a signing typically takes about one to two hours.

Restatement of Trust

Another way to make a change to a Living Trust is to restate the Trust. A Restatement of Trust in California is the process by which an entirely new Trust document is created. This takes place when there are more substantial changes to make to a Trust, such as incorporating new language into the Trust, adding additional or subtracting existing beneficiaries, changing the percentages that a beneficiary will receive, and other more comprehensive changes.


The advantage to an Amendment or Restatement of Trust is the name and date of the original Trust continues to exist, precluding the need to change title to any existing assets already in the Trust. In contrast, if you chose to create a new Trust, all assets would need to re-titled and placed into the new Trust creating a lot of needless additional work. Your best bet is to simply amend or restate your existing Trust.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is you should not delay in establishing a Living Trust in California. Making needed changes to your Trust is simple and the consequences of not having a Trust are substantial, specifically for those with children and/or a home. A Trust will dictate who receives the assets from your estate and when. A Trust will also bypass the probate process which can cost your beneficiaries $20,000 or more, depending on the size of your estate.

For more on making changes to your Revocable Living Trust, please contact an experienced California Living Trust attorney today.

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