How to make a Living Trust without an attorney

June 1, 2020

There are a lot of options available to someone who wants to make sure their family and loved ones are provided for, even while they are still alive. And living trust is one of them! Living trusts are legal protection that helps to ensure that some of your assets go to the people that you want them to while you are still alive. And while lawyers are a great way to ensure that your living trust is written correctly and adhered to, the truth of the matter is that in a lot of instances, you may not even need to hire one to create a living trust!

What is a living trust and what does it do?

Living trusts are legal documents recognized by the court that essentially lays out how you want certain portions of your assets to be distributed to particular people while you’re still alive. It also makes sure that even after you die, everything will be distributed to the right people, according to this document(s).

One option is to create a revocable living trust, which means that if you change your mind about who gets what, you can revoke the trust or make changes to it right away.

According to the California based company AttorneyFee, an organization that helps individuals with preparing Living Trusts, a revocable and regular living trust can contain any assets you want to include, but most of the time, people put big-ticket items like houses, investment, cars, etc. into a living trust. You name a trustee – usually you! – that will be in charge of managing and distributing the assets in question. Then, according to your living trust, the assets you placed into it will be distributed accordingly.

One of the reasons you may want to create a living trust rather than something like a will is that living trusts completely avoid having to go to probate court. This means that a person’s assets may be frozen while the court tries to figure out who gets what. With a living trust, the trustee (which again, is usually you) can distribute the assets in question in adherence to the living trust document right away, without having to go to probate.

Using a living trust rather than a will can help minimize taxes, increase your privacy, and many other advantages. If you do it completely by yourself without the help of an attorney and you are the trustee, it will keep your wishes as to who gets what completely private until after you pass away. Essentially, by creating a living trust, can make sure that the people you care about are given access to the assets you want them to have quickly, you can avoid some unnecessary or higher taxes, and any privacy concerns you may have can often be assuaged.

What would a lawyer do to help with a living trust?


If you were to hire an attorney to help you create a living trust, you would usually turn to an estate planning attorney to help you prepare your documents. In some cases, depending on what you put into your living trust, it can get pretty complicated. This usually happens if you want to skip a generation to endow things to, have conditions that need to be met before you give someone something from your living will, have super high life insurance policies, or need help with trust funds.

How to make a living trust yourself:

Hiring an attorney to help you create a living trust can ensure that no mistakes are made when your assets are distributed, but a lot of the time, it may be super expensive or not even necessary. A lot of the time, with proper research and dedication to creating it, you may be able to create a living trust on your own. And we’re here to help!

First, you should figure out what assets you want to include in your living trust. It doesn’t have to be all of them, just the things you’re concerned about getting to certain people. Make sure you have the paperwork for those things as well, so when these assets are given away, everything is in order. Next, make sure you put down explicitly in words who gets what, or, in the legal field, who your beneficiaries are. These are the people who receive your assets from your living will both while you’re alive and after you die.

Lastly, you need to just a trustee. This is the person that distributes the assets that are in your living trust. As we said, for a lot of living trusts, actually people making living trusts actually put their own name in!

How much does a living trust cost?

The price of a living trust will depend largely on whether or not you hire an attorney to help you create it. This is one of the reasons a lot of people don’t deem it necessary to hire an attorney if their living trust isn’t very complicated.

If you do it on your own, you’re going to need to educate yourself as much as possible to ensure that your living trust bestows your assets to the proper people when you want it to. This means doing a little bit of research and making the proper filings.

Using an online living trust program or hiring a company like AttorneyFee, which will help you prepare and file the correct legal documents, usually costs around $400.

On the other hand, hiring an attorney can get pretty pricey. The average cost for an estate attorney to create a living trust can range from between $2,000 to $3,000, depending on how complicated your case is and where you live.

Whether or not you decide to hire an attorney to help you create your living trust depends on what’s best for you, your family, and your loved ones. It’s important to remember, however, that in a lot of cases, if you do the proper research, you may be able to save yourself significant amounts of money by creating a living trust on your own!



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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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