Can I Change the Beneficiary of My Will or Trust?

Can I Change the Benefici…

There are many life events or changes that may cause you to change the beneficiary of your will or trust. Some of these changes as positive; for instance, you might marry and want to make your new spouse the beneficiary of your will. On the other hand, some of these changes might be negative; your current spouse could pass away or you could end up divorced, which are both situations in which you will need to change the beneficiary of your estate and any related assets. Fortunately, making these changes is fairly easy, so it is important to review your estate plan every so often in order to ensure that your wishes in terms of beneficiaries are carried out.

You can change your will throughout your lifetime, without any legal consequences to you for doing so. However, you should not cross out sections of your existing will or attempt to write in a new beneficiary or executor. If you try to amend your will in this matter, you might end up invalidating the entire will. Rather, you’ll need to see a lawyer to ensure that you make the corrections that you want and that your will still remains legally valid.

Trusts can be a bit more complicated than wills in terms of changing beneficiaries. Your ability to easily do so depends in large part on the type of trust that you have in place. If you have a revocable living trust, it is easy enough to change the beneficiary or remove property from the trust. You’ll simply need to see a lawyer to make the necessary changes in a way that preserves the legal validity of the trust. However, if you have established an irrevocable trust, the process is much more difficult, if not impossible. Attempting to make any changes to the trust is likely to result in lengthy and expensive court proceedings. In the vast majority of cases, the terms of an irrevocable trust cannot be changed.

If you want to have a comprehensive plan in place for the future to protect yourself and your family, our Washington estate planning attorneys can guide you through every step of the process. We are here to answer your questions, both now and in the future, about all aspects of the estate planning process, including making updates such as changing beneficiaries as needed. At Legacy Law Center, we have represented the interests of countless individuals throughout the estate planning process. Contact our office and set up an appointment with one of our experienced elder law attorneys today.

Categories: Uncategorized