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Can you have a hand in your Trust amendment?

If your Trust is amendable, can you amend it with a handwritten change? The answer is probably yes, but maybe no. That’s sounds like a typical lawyer response. Let’s explore this a bit.

Under Probate Code section 15402, a Trust can be amended according to the terms of the Trust. If the Trust terms are silent on amendment, then you use the procedure set out in Probate Code section 15401(a), which requires a writing signed by the Settlor and delivered to the Trustee. In most cases, a Trust documents provides the same procedure for amendment—a writing signed by the Settlor and delivered to the Trustee.

The interesting part is that a “writing” can be just about anything that is written. You could type up an amendment, sign it and deliver it to yourself as Trustee and you have a valid amendment. Or you could hand write an amendment, sign it, and deliver it to the Trustee and that works too. How about writing on the back of an envelope? That would be fine if it had the terms of the amendment clearly stated, was signed, and delivered to the Trustee. Just about any writing will suffice to make a valid Trust amendment. Having the writing typed is not legally required.

That’s really the point of Trust amendments, to allow a Settlor to express his or her intent as easily as possible. As long as the Trust terms are followed, any “writing” will do.