I just received an update from the State Bar of California the Trusts and Estates Section regarding a recent case King v. Lynch - filed April 10, 2012, Fifth District (Cite as F062232). The court held that "(t)rust amendments were properly invalidated when they did not comply with the amendment provision in the trust. The court held that given the effect of Probate Code section 15402, when the trust specifies a method for amendment, the settlor cannot amend the trust by using the method of revocation provided in Probate Code section 15401(a)(2)."
This is an example of why having a competent estate planning attorney is important. There are many people out there who believe they can "do it" themselves, regardless of whether it is repairing their own car, laying cement for a new patio, or amending/creating their own estate planning documents. While they (and probably you and I) could do (some of) those things, the question is whether could we do them correctly?
Especially in estate planning, you want to make sure it is done RIGHT. Afer you pass away, there are no "do overs" and what a shame if your estate planning wishes are invalidated because your estate planning documents (or subsequent amendments) are not drafted incorrectly. If you invest your time and effort to create estate planning documents, it is obviously important to you to be able to leave your estate to particular beneficiaries. So isn't it worth the expense to have these important documents drafted correctly?
While I like to do certain things on my own too, I can also appreciate my own limits. After you pass away, it is much easier (and perhaps less important and/or less costly) to correct that cracked patio you've created, than it is to correct an estate planning mistake.