Can we use the same trust name for a new living trust?

Annepont asked...

My parents are in their 90's and have a living trust done by a trust mill. They would like it redone and I would like to assist them in using self help software and/or a book like one authored by Denis Clifford. My question:

Can we use the same trust name? If so, can we avoid having to transfer title of their home to the trust again?

Expert Answer

You ask if you can use the same name on a new/redone living trust as was used on a previous living trust. The conventional lawyer's answer would be "No. There 's a possibility of some confusion between two trusts with the same name. At the very least, you should add a date to the new trust's name, to distinguish it from the prior trust."

I am not a conventional lawyer, so let's take a different approach. Who could be harmed if your parent's new trust has the same name as their prior trust? I can't see that anyone could be. Of course, if someone could be harmed by this, or could plausibly claim harm, you shouldn't do it. But if no one could be harmed by it, why should you parents have to transfer title to their home yet again to their (new) living trust? Why the waste of effort and some money? I see no valid reason compelling it.

One of the major benefits of having a living trust is that they do not have to be presented to a judge or approved by a court. As long as all involved understand what the trust is for and agree with it, technical drafting perfection is not absolutely mandatory. Further, any well-drafted living trust contains a provision that revokes all prior trust the grantor (ie your parents) have made. In that clause, they should identify the prior trust by the date it was signed and notarized.

I have written Make Your Own Living Trust (with forms CD-Rom), published by Nolo. Nolo also publishes Quicken WillMaker, a computer software program that enables users to prepare a living trust