Q: My wife and I prepared our living trust in June 1990 through an attorney. He sent me a couple of amendments, which I made in the trust. The last amendment was made in 1998 changing the durable power of attorney for health care. There are no changes in the assets or other family changes. My children are now grown, and I want to substitute existing successor trustees, co-executors, agents and conservators with my children. Can I do it myself by making these changes in the living trust? Do I need to make any other changes that may be required in the trust? No changes were made after 1998. Thanks.
A: Given the information you have provided, I am assuming that you are talking about several documents: a trust, powers of attorney, and wills. If the only change you wish to make is to have your children act in the capacities you have mentioned now that they have grown, you will need to make the appropriate amendments.
For the trust and the will, because there are certain formalities that are required for changes to be effective, I would strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney to make those changes. It would probably be most cost-effective for you to consult the attorney who prepared the living trust and your later amendments since he is familiar with your estate plan and the changes you wish to make are relatively minor. As to whether any other changes might be required to the trust, since it has been approximately 16 years since your estate plan was reviewed, you may wish to take this opportunity to make changes to the trust, to also have the attorney review your trust to determine whether any changes in the tax laws have any effect on your trust as it currently stands.