Legal Requirements for Trusts

Bellaire estate planning attorney reviewing legal bookIf you are interested in creating a trust as part of your estate plan, a Belleair estate planning attorney can discuss the legal formalities that must be executed with trusts. Additionally, your Belleair estate planning attorney can explain that these formalities are the same as those required by individuals who make a valid will.

Writing

One basic requirement of a valid trust that your Belleair estate planning attorney can mention to you is the need for the trust to be in writing.

Signatures

Additionally, your Belleair estate planning attorney can explain that you must sign the trust or ask another person to sign on your behalf in your presence. Two witnesses must see this signing personally. These witnesses must also sign the trust in front of the person creating it and in the presence of one another.

Presumption of Revocability

The person who establishes the trust is usually able to revoke or amend the trust at his or her bidding unless the trust is expressly made irrevocable.

Revoking or Amending a Trust

If only one person created the trust, the settlor can generally amend or revoke the trust by substantially complying with a revocation or amendment provision in the trust. If the trust does not say how to amend or revoke the trust, the settlor can revoke or amend it by making a later will or codicil that specifically devises the trust property or any other method that provides clear and convincing evidence of the settlor’s intention to revoke or amend the trust. Again, the formalities of creating a will are required.

Special Rules Regarding Joint Settlors

If more than one settlor established a trust, such as when a married couple does, there are different rules regarding revoking or amending the trust. For example, if the trust has community property in it, the trust can be revoked by either spouse. However, it can only be amended by both of the spouses together. For property amendments that are separate property, each settlor can revoke or amend the trust regarding that part of the trust individually. Contact a Belleair estate planning attorney from the Coleman Law Firm at 727-461-7474 for help with your estate plan.