Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
A copy of an original trust is legal so long as the parties to the trust, notary and witnesses can properly authenticate the document as a true and correct copy of the original.
An amendment is generally not allowed unless it is witnessed and notarized.
If you don't have the amendment signed an notarized, it opens the document up to legal challenges and authenticity problems.
The rule has always been that with a will or a trust, any amendment (legally known as a "codicil") must be made in the same form as the original document's posture. This means if the trust is signed, witnessed and notarized, the amendment must be as well.
The only way an un-witnessed and un-notarized amendment will pass muster is if ALL beneficiaries agree that the change was made by the person and that they all agree with the change. If your family is anything like most, everyone cannot agree on anything - especially where there is money or inheritance involved.
Yes, authenticity could still be challenged - it could be alleged that someone forced her to put it in there, that it was forged, that she was not in her right mind when she did it, etc. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is if it is not witnessed and/or notarized, there's a problem.
If you don't have a complete copy of the document, it would likely be considered void by a court.
If everyone can agree on how to divide the corpus (property) of the trust, you can divide it that way. This may cut down on headaches and confusion.