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.
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.
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.
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.
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