Why You Need A Lawyer For Living Trusts

lawyer for living trusts
lawyer for living trusts

Creating a living trust can be an excellent way to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. However, the process of creating a living trust can be complicated and confusing. That’s why it’s important to work with a lawyer who specializes in living trusts.

Problem: The Risks of DIY Living Trusts

Many people choose to create a living trust on their own, using online resources or legal software. While this may seem like a cost-effective solution, it can actually end up costing you more in the long run.

DIY living trusts are often incomplete or improperly executed, leaving them vulnerable to legal challenges. Additionally, a living trust that has not been properly funded will not accomplish its intended purpose of protecting your assets.

Solution: Working with a Lawyer for Living Trusts

By working with a lawyer who specializes in living trusts, you can ensure that your trust is properly executed and funded. Your lawyer can also help you navigate the complex legal requirements associated with creating a living trust and can provide valuable guidance on how to structure your trust to achieve your specific goals.

What is a Living Trust?

A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust during your lifetime. The trust then becomes the legal owner of those assets, but you retain control over them as the trustee. When you pass away, the assets in the trust are distributed according to your wishes without going through probate.

Why Should You Create a Living Trust?

There are several benefits to creating a living trust, including:

  • Privacy: Unlike a will, which becomes a matter of public record, a living trust is a private document.
  • Asset Protection: A living trust can protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits.
  • Control: You retain control over your assets during your lifetime and can change or revoke the trust at any time.
  • Flexibility: A living trust can be structured to meet your specific needs and goals.
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How Does a Lawyer Help with Living Trusts?

A lawyer who specializes in living trusts can:

  • Ensure that your trust is properly executed and funded
  • Provide guidance on structuring your trust to achieve your specific goals
  • Help you understand the tax implications of your trust
  • Provide ongoing support and guidance as your life circumstances change

What is the Role of the Trustee?

The trustee is responsible for managing the assets in the trust and distributing them according to the instructions in the trust document. The trustee can be an individual or a professional trustee, such as a bank or trust company.

What Happens to the Trust When You Pass Away?

When you pass away, the assets in the trust are distributed to your beneficiaries according to the instructions in the trust document. Because the assets are held in the trust, they do not have to go through probate, which can save time and money.

How is a Living Trust Different from a Will?

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for the distribution of your assets after you pass away. A living trust, on the other hand, allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust during your lifetime. The trust then becomes the legal owner of those assets, but you retain control over them as the trustee. When you pass away, the assets in the trust are distributed according to your wishes without going through probate.

Success Story

John and Mary had been married for 30 years and had two children. They had accumulated significant assets over the years, including a home, several investment properties, and a substantial investment portfolio. Concerned about the potential tax implications and the possibility of their assets being tied up in probate court, they decided to create a living trust.

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They worked with a lawyer who specialized in living trusts to create a trust document that met their specific needs and goals. Their lawyer helped them transfer ownership of their assets to the trust and provided ongoing guidance and support as their life circumstances changed.

When John passed away unexpectedly, Mary was able to distribute the assets in the trust to their children without going through probate. Because the trust was properly executed and funded, there were no legal challenges or delays.

FAQ

What is the Cost of Working with a Lawyer for Living Trusts?

The cost of working with a lawyer for living trusts varies depending on the complexity of your situation and the lawyer you choose. However, the cost is often less than the cost of going through probate or dealing with legal challenges to an improperly executed or funded living trust.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Create a Living Trust?

No, you can create a living trust on your own using online resources or legal software. However, working with a lawyer who specializes in living trusts can ensure that your trust is properly executed and funded and can provide valuable guidance on how to structure your trust to achieve your specific goals.

Can I Change or Revoke My Living Trust?

Yes, you can change or revoke your living trust at any time as long as you are mentally competent to do so.

What Happens if I Become Incapacitated?

If you become incapacitated, your successor trustee will step in to manage the assets in the trust on your behalf. This can help ensure that your assets are protected and managed according to your wishes.

Can I Serve as the Trustee of My Own Living Trust?

Yes, you can serve as the trustee of your own living trust. However, it’s important to have a successor trustee in place in case you become incapacitated or pass away.

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Do I Still Need a Will if I Have a Living Trust?

Yes, it’s still a good idea to have a will even if you have a living trust. Your will can provide instructions for the distribution of any assets that were not transferred to the trust, such as personal property or assets acquired after the trust was created.

Tips

When choosing a lawyer for living trusts, look for someone who specializes in this area of the law and has experience working with clients in similar situations. Ask for referrals from friends or family members, or check with your local bar association for recommendations.

Summary

Creating a living trust can be an excellent way to protect your assets and ensure that they are distributed according to your wishes. However, the process of creating a living trust can be complicated and confusing. By working with a lawyer who specializes in living trusts, you can ensure that your trust is properly executed and funded and that your specific goals are met.

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