Estate Planning
July 28, 2023

Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Living Trust?

Stewart Willis

Good estate planning can ease the burden of managing assets. A living trust is a legal document to manage your assets and remove unnecessary expenses if you pass away. You may wonder if you need a lawyer to make a living trust. Or if you can amend your living trust without an attorney.

The simple answer is: no. Although you don't need a lawyer to make a living trust, seeking legal advice is best. Consulting with a lawyer can be beneficial in creating a practical living trust. Legal professionals possess a thorough knowledge of trust laws.

How to Make a Living Trust without a Lawyer

Several alternatives exist if you choose not to use a living trust attorney. These options don't have the legal expertise and guidance of an attorney for living trusts.

Online Living Trust Kits

Going the DIY route for a living trust is incredibly easy because you can purchase kits online. While this might seem cost-effective, a boilerplate template won't fit your needs. These online kits will come with instructions on how to fill out the forms. However, they won't be able to look at the nuances of your financial situation to give you genuinely personalized advice. 

Estate planning can be complicated if you own a business, have a blended family or possess numerous assets. Since you aren't an experienced living trust attorney, you don't know what you don't know. There will be gaps in your knowledge that could lead to unwanted expenses and consequences.


You can have a paralegal create a living trust for you in Arizona and Nevada. The services of a paralegal will be less expensive when compared to living trust attorney fees. A paralegal would be best if you need a cheaper solution for basic needs.

Legal Document Preparers

Legal document preparers don't work under a lawyer's supervision and can't give legal advice. However, some may still try to influence your decision-making. This is unethical, and they won't be working in your best interest. 

Legal document preparers can assist with the paperwork for a living trust. However, they don't have the expertise to identify potential issues. They can’t guide you in structuring the trust to meet your needs.

Why Do You Need a Lawyer to Make a Living Trust

You should consider working with an attorney for a living trust for many reasons.

Avoiding Probate

Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process on the public record. This is why many people choose to create a living trust in the first place. You transfer assets outside the probate process, ensuring your loved ones receive their inheritance quickly and efficiently.

Avoid Unnecessary Risks

You need a lawyer to make a living trust and avoid errors. Even minor mistakes can have significant consequences. A court might deem an improperly established trust invalid or ineffective, leaving your assets vulnerable to legal issues and disputes. A trust lawyer creates your trust with consideration and ensures that you fund it correctly.

Special Needs Implications

It would be best if you had a lawyer to make a living trust who understands the circumstances of your beneficiaries. Otherwise, this could affect their special needs benefits. Special needs trusts provide financial stability and security to disabled beneficiaries while safeguarding their eligibility for government benefits. 

These trusts help families ensure that loved ones receive the necessary support without fear of losing access to vital programs and services. By establishing a special needs trust, your disabled beneficiary will receive care for now and in the future.

Tax Implications

There are tax implications for owning a large estate or having multiple beneficiaries. An estate planning attorney would understand the legal strategies that could minimize the tax burden. The trust can also include provisions such as gifting strategies and charitable giving. A living trust attorney ensures the living trust complies with state and federal tax laws to maximize benefits.

Holistic Living Trust Creation

A living trust is just the tip of the iceberg regarding estate planning. A comprehensive estate plan should encompass a variety of legal documents and strategies that protect your assets. A living trust attorney can help you draft a will, powers of attorney, and health care directives and advise on strategy.

Working with Asset Preservation Wealth and Tax will allow you to create a comprehensive estate plan with access to our lawyers. Our attorneys don’t mark up the cost of the process, so you can save money. Estate planning and wealth management services with us consider your entire financial situation for custom advice.

Get a free portfolio review today!

Stewart Willis is the founder and president of Asset Preservation Wealth & Tax, a financial planning firm in Phoenix, Arizona. Investment advisory services offered through Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser.

The commentary on this blog reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the author, Stewart Willis, providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC (“Foundations”), an SEC registered investment adviser or performance returns of any Foundations client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment, legal or tax advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Personal investment advice can only be rendered after the engagement of Foundations for services, execution of required documentation, including receipt of required disclosures. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Foundations manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Any statistical data or information obtained from or prepared by third party sources that Foundations deems reliable but in no way does Foundations guarantee the accuracy or completeness. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Any past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Foundations and its advisors are properly licensed or exempted. For more information, please go to and search by our firm name or by our CRD # 175083.

Ready To Get Started?

You spent all your working years accumulating this wealth. Now it’s the time to make the most of it.