Do I have to retain a living trust attorney?

A living trust is a trust created to manage property and other assets during one’s lifetime.  Living trusts are also typically created to avoid probate for the initial trustee’s heirs—the initial trustee is the creator of the revocable living trust. 

Initial trustees name a successor trustee who simply takes over the management of the trust upon the demise of the initial trustee, or if the initial trustee becomes legally incompetent. 

Sometimes, individuals who want to create a living trust mull over whether to retain a living trust attorney or to create it on their own. Retaining a living trust attorney doesn’t need to cost a lot, contrary to what you sometimes hear. 

There are some reasonably priced living trust lawyers out there; it’s not worth risking the do-it-yourself approach with what is one of the most important legal matters of your life when it’s possible to hire an experienced living trust attorney.

A living trust usually takes the place of a last will and testament, which many individuals manage without the assistance of a legal adviser. To see how simple it will be, it is useful to comprehend what goes into a living trust.

A living trust document for the most part begins with a simple essential format and incorporates the items below:

  • The name of the trust (this can simply be your name, if it is your trust)
  • The Initial Trustee, the individual accountable for dealing with the trust (once more, this is usually you if the trust is for you).
  • The Successor Trustee who will assume control of the trust when the Initial Trustee passes on or becomes medically incapable of managing the trust. This is typically a spouse (usually this is a first choice in a joint trust, though there is no rule that it has to be this way). It can be a dear companion, grown-up child, or close friend.
  • The beneficiaries – the persons whom you want to inherit your property are also named in the trust (same as in a will).
  • You name a guardian for your minor children in the Pour-over Will, which is something you should include in your living trust package. Oftentimes, the guardian also oversees the portion of the assets you are leaving to your minor children, but you can name a separate individual as a trustee to handle the financial affairs of your children until they become adults.
  • Also, regarding Pour-over Wills, the importance of them can’t be denied.

A good pour-over will gives all of your property not currently in your living trust to the living trust. This will go through probate, but the process will be greatly shortened and simplified because it all goes to the living trust.

  • After your trust has been created, you must fund it, otherwise it has no legal effect whatsoever.
  • Property such as real estate, art work, anything of value, must be deeded to the trust for it to have any legal claim to the property. In addition, you need to change the name of your bank accounts to the name of the living trust.  You do this by bringing the Summary of Trust to your bank. They’ll know what to do from there.

It’s a fairly straight-forward process, if you create (revocable) living trusts all the time.  You could create your own, but again, it’s best to get an experienced living trust attorney, one with whom you can go over your particular trust to be sure it’s tailored to your particular needs, to avoid the serious legal issues that can arise with an improperly drafted trust.  

Before you enlist an attorney, do some exploration and teach yourself about trust fundamentals, but beware of misinformation out there. You are more likely to find accurate information on the websites of actual living trust lawyers rather than on websites where forms are sold with no direct lawyer contact. It can save you, and your heirs,  a great deal of legal problems down the road.

There are times in life where you should save money, we like that too, but the legal way in which you manage your property during your lifetime and for your heirs, is not one of them.  Consider your peace of time and the time you will save by retaining a highly experienced  Living Trust Attorney.