The benefit of a living trust is that it's terms, conditions, and beneficiaries may be changed during the testator's lifetime. With that said some changes may only need an amendment, however in other aspects a restatement may be necessary.
Amendments to trust are reserved for only minor changes to the trust provisions. For example is there is a name update, change of a specific gift, contact information, or other changes that don't materially change the terms or the distribution provisions of the trust.
Restatement is a more formal procedure of completely restating the terms of the trust, while keeping the trust name intact. Restatement is used when major provisions of the trust need to be changes. Number and type of beneficiaries, addition or removal of trustees, change in the goals of the trust, or updating of the trust terms for the purpose of compliance with a new laws or regulations. Furthermore, if there are changes that are relatively minor but propagate throughout the trust, a restatement is a much wiser step, because it avoids the possibility of amending one part of the trust, but forgetting to amend the second part. Finally, some financial institutions and county recording offices require that trusts be restated through an attorney to formally accept the changes in the paperwork and to minimize errors and liabilities down the line.
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