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(Forgive me if this has been posted before - difficulty remembering password.) We made an amendment to an irrevocable trust for my parents. We now need to have the document signed & notarized but 2 of the people involved, who live out of state. How should we approach this? Can a party sign a copy with notarization (?) then mail it back? Have no idea how to proceed - the parties are in different states at least 3 hours away. Should I send the original amendment & have each sign it & mail it back? This was not an issue with the original trust.

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Thanks for the update. I can understand the problems with a family attorney having prepared a document totally out of his/her practice area. Family law is a nice term for marriage, divorce, custody, adoption, guardianship and more. It doesn't include trusts within its practice area. That would be Estate Planning and Elder Law practice areas, with EP being the broader area as it spans more than just elder law issues.

So the attorney may not be up to speed on ITs.

Your initial post states that the IT is for your parents, but if your husband and your brother's wife are beneficiaries, how is the IT for your parents? Aren't they beneficiaries as well? What am I missing?

As to the signatures of the beneficiaries, I'm not familiar with this requirement at all. Perhaps laws and practice have changed since I've done EP work. I don't know the reason for it. Perhaps it's required for some states. I did some quick research, but don't have access to the best legal resources.

At this point, I don't feel qualified to make suggestions other than that you contact the Admins here and ask for one of the EP attorneys to review your request. If they don't agree with the "requirement" for beneficiary execution, I think you might want to seriously think about having an EP or Elder Law practice attorney review the Amendment before you go any further. It might not meet IT standards or be lacking in some way.

My recollection of IT trusts were that they CAN'T be changed. If that includes an Amendment, then the issue of signature is irrelevant.

Even if you don't want to spend the money, you need to know that your actions are viable and that what you want to create is in fact being done.
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GardenArtist: Thanks for your response. The original trust was handled by a family law attorney. My brother & I are trustees & my husband & my brother's wife are beneficiaries. The amendment was handled by the same attorney who is out of state now that my parents' have moved to Florida. It took 3 months of follow-up calls & an assertive letter to get the amendment completed, so I'm not inclined to use this atty. again. The initial document did not call for beneficiaries' signatures, but the amendment does. Also the name of the trust is being amended. All the local attorneys charge fees & this seems like it would take 5 minutes to resolve. But it may come to that. Any other thoughts would be appreciated
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Nature, I couldn't help thinking more about your question. I can't edit my already posted answer, but I feel obligated to qualify it.

If the "we" you refer to created an IT for your parents, and you were the signers and your parents are the beneficiaries, then the "we" can amend it, subject to limitations on amendments to ITs.

But I stand by my recommendation that this is a job for an attorney, and that includes proper execution by all parties.

If your parents created the IT, and unless the "we" includes your parents, no one else can amend it, unless there are specific provisions in the IT, and I rather doubt that because typically that's not the situation. Doing so jeopardizes not only your interest, but the intent of the IT as well as its implementation.

I seriously am concerned about the implications of this, for you as well as your parents.
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I assume the amendment is being handled by an attorney? If not, you would be wise and safer to do so. Irrevocable trusts are complicated; there are strict standards for amendments.

And while I might rough out an amendment for a Living Trust, I would never consider implementing it on my own; my attorney will handle that, all the way through execution.

Who are the 2 people who live out of state? Are they trustees or successor trustees? Were they witnesses to the original IT?

This is one reason why an attorney should be involved, to coordinate the execution. Although I've worked in this field, I've never worked on an IT Amendment. But as to contracts, this is what could be done.

Individual signature pages (with acknowledgments for a notary) could be sent to each individual for execution, witnessing and notarizing. These pages are assembled all together with the Amendment after execution, with enough executed copies to create "conformed copies".

Another alternative which I wouldn't particularly find comforting is electronic execution. We've used this for corporate documents; parties execute their portion of the document, notaries witness and notarize, and the pages are either scanned in and emailed back or faxed back.

But these were contracts of a much different nature than an IT, which also has different signature requirements.

Really, I think the attorney who drafted the Amendment should handle this. If you do, and you're named in any capacity in the IT, there could easily be challenges raised that you played an inappropriate role, and perhaps exerted collusion. And that could jeopardize implementation of the IT amendments. In addition, good estate planning attorneys are current on tax and other legal changes and know how to factor them into IT documentation.

I'm surprised that your attorney wouldn't have insisted on this anyway.

Actually, I'm also very concerned about your first two statements, that "...We made an amendment to an irrevocable trust for my parents. We now need to have the document signed & notarized..." Who is "we? Are you the original settlors, the individuals who created the trust? If not, why are you creating an amendment?

Actually, if you didn't create the Trust, I don't believe you have any authority to amend it or create an amendment, even if your parents would sign it. Only the individuals who created the trust can amend it (unless laws have changed since I worked in this field.)

Could you explain this situation more, please?
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