Living trusts are not just for very wealthy people, and you do not need a lawyer to set one up. Establishing a trust is just a matter of preparing the correct forms for a living trust, properly executing them, and making sure your trust is funded with your assets. Because it is so important to correctly complete the forms for living trust formation, you should have a registered legal document assistant (LDA) help set up your living trust to make sure this part of the process is done correctly.
What is the Purpose of a Living Trust?
A living trust is a legal entity to which you transfer ownership of some of your assets. You must apply for a tax ID number for it, much as you do for a company, a nonprofit organization, or the estate of the deceased person. When you transfer assets to the trust, those assets belong to the trust, not to you. Therefore, they do not become part of the estate that goes through probate after your death.
When you set up a trust, you specify beneficiaries for various assets of the trust. You also appoint a trustee, an individual you give authority to manage the trust, including transferring money in and out of the trust or to your beneficiaries. During your lifetime, this is you. On the other hand, when you set up the trust, you will also include instructions about who the trustees will be after you die or if you become too ill to continue acting as trustee.
Besides the advantage of avoiding probate, many people choose living trusts as a means of making sure that they and their dependents will be cared for if they become incapacitated. If you have children, it is a good idea to set up a trust, even if the assets you own now are modest.
How to Set Up a Revocable Trust Estate Plan
First, you must draft a trust document and sign it in the presence of a notary. It is a good idea to have a professional such as a Legal Document Assistant to prepare all the necessary forms for trust formation for you. More specifically, the forms for living trust formation include an individual or couple’s Revocable Trust, Trust Certificate, Declaration of Trust, Will, Financial Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, HIPPA waiver, and other incidental documents. After you have set up the trust, you must file a trust transfer deed for each real property asset that you want to transfer into the trust. Funding your trust is the task of transferring all of your assets into your newly created trust. Keep in mind, your asset can be in the form of money and financial products or real estate properties.
Preparing a Living Trust can be Simple and Inexpensive
Setting up a living trust does not have to be costly. The documents can be voluminous, with a simple trust package consisting of 50-100 pages. However, most of the information in the documents comes from standardized legal templates that are generated by expensive legal software. Yes, attorneys often charge $2500 to $5000 to prepare the forms for living trust formation. However, you can get the same package of trust documents from A People’s Choice for a fraction of the cost an attorney charges. A People’s Choice uses the exact same expensive legal software to generate our estate planning packages as many California attorneys use! This means you get the same professional-quality documents for substantially less cost. Currently, our trust packages for an individual start at $499.00.
Contact A People’s Choice to prepare the documents you need to properly form a living trust and transfer your assets and property to it so your heirs can avoid filing probate. You can reach us at 800-747-2780.