2024 California Law Update for Amending Your Trust

Attorney Image By: James Filippi

2024 California Law Update on the Required Method of Amending Your Trust

In our October 2022 newsletter, we shared two cases where the law was unclear on the legally required method of amending your trust. There were two cases in the California appeals court system that came to different conclusions. A few others have entered the fray since and added further confusion to the matter. First, a quick recap.

The California Supreme Court took on the appeal and has finally decided to settle this ambiguity in the law. In 2022, it was well settled law that one can modify their trust in any way they choose by including instructions in the terms of their trust. Meaning, if you say my trust may be amended through “X” process, this is the process that will be legally enforced by the court.

There is also statutory law that “fills in the gaps” of your trust should the language not explicitly define how the trust can be amended.  This law allows for your trust to be amended according to the process the legislature defined.

The problem is, which process controls if there is a conflict or an ambiguity, or if you did not fully adhere to the method indicated in your trust, or if you chose to follow the statutory method instead?

Now, in 2024, we finally have an answer. The court established that a trust can be changed using the procedures outlined in Probate Code §15401, which typically involve revocation (cancellation) of the trust, unless the trust document specifically outlines a different method for making changes and clearly states that it’s the only way changes can be made, or if it explicitly says that revocation procedures cannot be used for making changes.

If you would like to make changes to your trust or have questions regarding the process, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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We found the Filippi Law Firm in Yelp and we were so lucky to have found them. Both Jen and Jim were kind and patient, explaining the process and addressing our concerns with a cost we felt was appropriate for the quality of the work. At all times we felt supported in the process and it could not have gone better. If you need this kind of work do yourself a favor and reach out to these folks for help. You won’t regret it.

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Jenn helped us with a trust account for my parents. She is very polite and thorough at doing her job she answered every question. My parents had and made them feel very welcome there. If we ever had to use the office again, we would .

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My experience was perfect.

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Very detailed in redoing our trust. I would definitely refer my friends to them.

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I was referred to Filippi Law Firm from another client, who was very happy with their services. I very thankful for the guidance given, for my “Trustee Role” for my Uncle’s Estate. It went smoothly, from start to finish.

Lillian G. | Lincoln, CA

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