Can I Change My Trust in Virginia?

Trusts can be powerful estate planning tools, allowing you to streamline the transfer of your assets at death and to ensure your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes. Many estate plans also utilize trusts because of their flexibility and the control they offer over assets. However, as life’s circumstances change, you may wonder about the possibilities of modifying the trust you’ve put so much thought into. Is it set in stone, or can it evolve as your life does?

What’s a Trust, Anyway?

First off, think of a trust like a virtual bucket. You can fill this bucket with just about anything you own – from your home and checking accounts to stocks and savings. Once items are in this bucket, they’re managed according to the rules you’ve set, benefiting your chosen beneficiaries. 

A trust can hold essentially any type of property such as:

  • Real estate
  • Cars and other vehicles
  • Household goods
  • Artwork and collectibles
  • Cash in bank accounts or a box under the bed
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Intangible property such as mineral rights or patents
  • Shares of stock or mutual funds
  • Life insurance proceeds

Can You Modify Your Trust in Virginia?

In Virginia, just as in many states, the flexibility to modify a trust depends largely on the type of trust established. Revocable living trusts are a popular option, allowing your heirs to bypass probate while giving you control over your assets while alive. These trusts stand out for their adaptability; as long as the trust’s creator is of sound mind, they can revoke or alter the trust in numerous ways.

This means that, within Virginia’s legal framework, individuals can appoint a new successor trustee, redefine how assets are distributed among beneficiaries, or make other significant changes to their trust’s structure. It’s essential, however, to seek legal advice when considering alterations to a revocable trust to ensure that any changes align with Virginia’s specific legal requirements and estate planning laws. Remember, once the trust creator is either incapacitated or deceased, the trust typically shifts to an irrevocable state, where its terms are set and cannot be changed.

Types of Trusts

The ability to make changes hinges on the type of trust you’ve set up. There are mainly two types:

  • Revocable Trusts: As the name suggests, these can be changed or revoked entirely. This type of trust is like having a bucket where you can swap out items, change who will hold the bucket, or alter who gets to peek inside and when. It’s all up to you as long as you can legally make these decisions.
  • Irrevocable Trusts: These are more like a locked safe than a bucket. Once you’ve put something inside, taking it out or changing the safe’s combination is harder. However, you can sometimes alter this type of trust under certain circumstances and with the right approach.

Why Consider Changing Your Trust?

Life is anything but static. Your family grows, financial situations evolve, and what made sense years ago might not hold the same weight today. Regularly reviewing your trust with these changes in mind ensures it continues to serve its intended purpose, protecting your assets and benefiting your loved ones as you intended.

Ready to Revisit Your Trust?

Life changes are inevitable, and your estate plan should reflect this dynamic nature. Whether you’re considering minor tweaks or significant overhauls to your trust, we’re here to help. With a compassionate approach and deep understanding of Virginia estate law, we’ll ensure your trust matches your current needs and wishes.

Contact Jennifer Porter Law, PLLC, at (571) 532-9070 or online today to begin the process of updating or creating your Virginia estate plan. Together, we’ll make sure your estate planning strategy is as dynamic and adaptable as life itself, ensuring peace of mind for you and your loved ones.