A grantor that is still alive can change a revocable living trust name easily. If the grantor of the living trust is mentally incapacitated, no longer alive or if the living trust is irrevocable, the name change is possible, but the process is more complicated.
Grantor Revocable Living Trust
If the grantor of the living trust is still alive and the trust is revocable, an amendment to the trust will accomplish the change of trust name. It is not necessary for the grantor to redraft the trust in its entirety, as a short amendment to the living trust can accomplish the objective. The lawyer that drafted the trust can create a one-page document that states the new name of the trust, and the trust grantor signs and executes the amendment in the same manner as the original living trust agreement. After execution, the amendment to the trust becomes a part of the entire living trust agreement.
Grantor Irrevocable Living Trust
If the trust grantor is still alive and has created a living trust that is irrevocable, as a matter of standard practice, the grantor does not retain the right to amend the trust. This applies if the grantor is mentally incompetent as well and does not retain the mental faculties to enter into a binding legal agreement. In this case, the interested parties to the trust retain a trust lawyer to petition the court with jurisdiction over the trust to allow the trust name to be changed. Any court order issued by a judge becomes a part of the living trust agreement.
Grantor Deceased Living Trust
If the grantor of a living trust is deceased and the trust does not grant the trust interested parties the power to amend the trust, then a court order is required to change the trust name. The living trust parties interested hire a trust lawyer to draft a petition to the court with jurisdiction over the trust, and a judge considers the matter. If all interested parties to the trust consent to the petition, common practice is that the judge issues a final court order to allow the change of trust name. Any court order issued becomes a part of the trust agreement.
State law regarding trusts varies from state to state, but some state statutes allow non-judicial modification to a trust agreement. States that have this statute allow execution of an agreement without a court proceeding in which the interested parties all agree to change the trust name without a court order. If the living trust is irrevocable or the grantor is deceased, states that have this provision make changes to the trust an easier process, as long as the living trust meets the state criteria to apply the statute. A trust lawyer drafts the agreement, and all the parties formally execute the non-judicial modification agreement.
Seek Professional Help
Since trust law is different in each state, it is always good practice to seek the advice of an experienced trust lawyer regarding amending or changing a trust. Each state has different rules regarding proper execution of trust amendments and agreements, and trust law changes constantly.
- Dictionary.com Legal Dictionary: Trust
- Trusts: Common Law and IRC 501(c)(3) and 4947
- IRS.gov. "Basic Trust Law." Accessed Aug. 29, 2020.
- IRS. "Tax Forms and Instructions, Tax Rate Tables," Page 10. Accessed Aug. 30, 2020.
- IRS. "IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2020." Accessed Aug. 30, 2020.
Mary Frazier began writing in 2011 for various websites and has over 20 years of experience as a bank vice president and senior trust officer. Frazier is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor, holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of North Florida and holds a Master of Science in finance from the College for Financial Planning.