Can a beneficiary be added to trust before disbursement of estate by the trustee or executor?

UPDATED: Dec 4, 2011

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Can a beneficiary be added to trust before disbursement of estate by the trustee or executor?

My mother passed away and left a revocable trust to be split 3 ways between her 3 living children (all over 50 years). It is written so if anything happens to me all of my share of the million dollar estate will go to my birth children equally. One problem – I have no birth children only stepchildren who I have raised as my own. Can the trust be amended or changed to leave my share to my surviving spouse? If possible, would the trustee or executor be able to do this?

Asked on December 4, 2011 under Estate Planning, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In your situation, the express terms of your mother's trust control the distribution of the assets within the trust. Since she has passed away, the trust cannot be amended. If the trust specifically states your share of the trust if something happens to you goes to your birth children, then the trust means what it says and cannot be amended.

A key point is whether the birth children provision deals with a circumstance if you did not survive your mother. If that is the case and since you survived your mother, then perhaps you have nothing to be concerned about in that you are entitled to your share of the trust's assets and you can decide who receives them in the end. I suggest that you consult with a Wills and trust attorney further about your question.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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