Can You Trust Your Trust

Becky Cholewka: I have a question for you today. Can you trust your trust? I have some quick gut‑check ways for you to make sure that you think that your trust should work for you. Check number one. Look how long your trust is. For example, is your document a paragraph long? Is it two pages? Is it 10 or 12 pages? We’ve seen lots of trusts that don’t have many pages to it.

The problem with that is a trust is like a book of answers. If we have a document that doesn’t answer a question that we have about how to administer something within the trust, the only person that can help answer that question for us is a judge. Which means now we’re in court, and we’re spending a lot of money going through the court process.

When a document is silent as to something, vague or ambiguous, we have a problem. Those very simplistic documents that you might see, that are just a few pages long, typically don’t work very well on the back end. They are still a valid executed trust, potentially, but they’re not really going to work the way that we want them to work.

Pull out your trust, just take a quick look, and see how many pages is it. For example, a trust that we prepare here at Cholewka Law for a couple are about 90 to a hundred pages long. For an individual, probably about 70 to 80 pages long. There’s a lot of information that we need to put in these documents to make sure that they work properly in different and individual circumstances.

Another thing to look at is how old is your document? For example, here in Arizona, January 1st of 2009, we completely updated our trust code. If you have a trust document that is previous to January 1st of 2009, we know your document probably needs to be legally updated at this point in time.

Make sure you take a look at it. See when it was executed just as a quick gut‑check to see if you need to make any changes at this point. Another quick thing to look is, how long has it been since you’ve actually updated it yourself? Have you taken it out and looked at and see whether or not your goals and wishes are still being met? Maybe you’ve changed your mind about something.

If you have, you need to make sure that we go in and do an amendment to now accurately reflect what your current goals and needs are. Another thing to do, if you have moved from another state, you may also want to make sure that you are checking. Hopefully, this information was helpful for you. Have a great day…

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