How often should living trust be reviewed?

Setting up a living trust is a good first step in getting your estate organized. But, it is important to review the trust  to be sure that the trust is firing on all cylinders and all assets are correctly titled.

I don’t charge current clients for trust reviews. If forced to answer the question “how often should a trust be reviewed?” I would say it ‘s best to review  a trust every 5 to 7 years. This is completely made-up and non-scientific. I have some really nice clients who came in every year for a trust review and we kind of ran out of things to talk about, but it made them feel good, so what the heck.

For a trust review, we need:

  1. The trust binder with the documents. Requiring this makes the  clients find their trust. Believe me, quite a few can’t find the trust. If the trust binder is lost, then the client has to sign a restatement and new documents.
  2. A list of current assets including all beneficiary designations.

If your kids were under 18, but are now older than 25 or so, we will often sign a trust restatement (I don’t do amendments)to make one of the kids successor trustee. I am not a fan of co-trusteeships, so it is usually best to pick just one successor trustee at a time. That is probably the most common change that clients make to their trust.

Often, in the trust review,  IRA/401k beneficiary designations need to be redone. We rarely make the trust a beneficiary of an IRA/401k unless there is a minor or disabled person involved. So we will usually need to re-do the beneficiary designations to make the kids direct beneficiaries of the IRA/401k which allows them to stretch out IRA withdrawals over their lifetime.

Trust review appointments can be scheduled online and usually take about 30 minutes.

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  1. How to Review a Living Trust
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  4. What assets do NOT go into a living trust?
  5. Living trust funding: Whose job is it?

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