How To Make A Living Trust Without A Lawyer

How To Make A Living Trust Without A Lawyer - Can You Set Up A Trust Without An Attorney - How To Transfer Property Into A Trust - Revocable vs Irrevocable Trust

Wondering how to make a living trust without a lawyer?

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • how to make a living trust without a lawyer
  • how to name a trust
  • revocable vs irrevocable trusts
  • what assets to put in your trust
  • what assets you should not put in a trust
  • how to transfer property into a trust
  • how much lawyers charge to set up a living trust
  • how much it cost to put property into a trust

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

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How To Make A Living Trust Without A Lawyer

Making a living trust without a lawyer can save money. 

It helps distribute your assets as you wish after you pass. 

Unlike a will, a living trust skips the probate process. 

This process can be long and costly. 

But be careful when creating a trust without a lawyer. 

It needs careful attention to detail. 

Errors can lead to financial and legal problems.

Here’s a general guide on how to make a living trust without a lawyer:

  • Educate Yourself: Understand the basics of trusts and why they might be beneficial for your situation.
  • Choose the Type of Trust: Decide whether you need a revocable or irrevocable trust. A revocable living trust can be changed or revoked at any time, while an irrevocable trust, once established, generally cannot be altered.
  • Inventory Your Assets: List all of your assets, such as real estate, bank accounts, securities, jewelry, and other valuables that you wish to put into the trust.
  • Select a Trustee: This individual or institution will be responsible for managing the trust. It can be you, a close family member, a trusted friend, or one of our estate planning lawyers.
  • Purchase Trust Software or Forms: There are various online platforms and software packages that help guide individuals through the process of creating a living trust.
  • Draft the Trust Agreement: Use the software or forms to draft your trust agreement. This document will detail who the beneficiaries are, what assets are included, how and when the assets will be distributed, and who will serve as the trustee.
  • Notarize and Witness: Some states require the trust agreement to be notarized. It’s also a good practice to have the document witnessed, although it’s not always a requirement.
  • Transfer Assets to the Trust: This is a crucial step. For the trust to be effective, you must formally transfer ownership of your assets to the trust. This might involve changing titles on property, altering account ownership at financial institutions, and more.
  • Store the Document Safely: Place the trust agreement and any related documents in a safe place like a fireproof box, safe deposit box, or with a trusted individual.
  • Review and Update as Necessary: Regularly review your trust, especially after major life events like births, deaths, marriages, or divorces, and make changes as needed.

Things to keep in mind when creating a living trust without a lawyer:

  • State Laws: Each state has different laws and regulations regarding trusts. It’s important to ensure that your trust complies with your state’s specific laws.
  • Complex Situations: If you have a complex financial situation, significant assets, or special considerations (like caring for a special needs child), it’s highly recommended to consult with a trust lawyer, even if you want to draft the majority of the trust yourself.
  • Potential Errors: Mistakes in creating a trust can have lasting financial and legal consequences. If you’re not confident in your ability to create a trust without legal assistance, it might be worth the investment to hire a trust lawyer.
  • Taxes: Trusts can have tax implications. It’s wise to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to understand potential tax consequences.

Remember, a living trust can be an effective tool for estate planning, but it’s essential to ensure that it’s done correctly. 

If there’s any doubt, fill out the form on this page to talk to an attorney.

Read More: Does Your House Have To Be Paid Off To Put It In A Trust

How To Name A Trust

Naming a trust is essential for easy identification. 

Start with the purpose or main beneficiary’s name, like “Smith Family Trust.”

Add the creation date for clarity, such as “Smith Family Trust Dated July 1, 2023.” 

Keep it descriptive yet concise. 

Avoid ambiguous or misleading names. 

Using the word “Trust” in the name makes its purpose clear. 

So, a name like “John Smith Revocable Trust Dated July 1, 2023” works well. 

Always ensure the name reflects the trust’s intent and main beneficiaries.

Read More: Do I Need A Trust To Avoid Probate

Revocable vs Irrevocable Trust

A revocable trust can be changed or canceled by the person who created it. 

Assets in a revocable trust can be accessed by the creator. 

When the creator dies, assets avoid probate but not estate taxes.

An irrevocable trust can’t be changed or canceled once set up. 

Assets in an irrevocable trust can’t be accessed by the creator. 

It can provide tax benefits and protect assets from creditors.

Read More: Who Owns The Property In An Irrevocable Trust

Can You Set Up A Trust Without An Attorney?

Yes, you can set up a trust without an attorney. 

You’ll need to choose the type of trust and its terms. 

Detail which assets go into the trust and select a trustee. 

Online platforms offer trust templates to help. 

Transferring assets into the trust is crucial. 

Regularly review and update the trust as needed.

Read More: Does The Beneficiary Own The Trust Property?

What Assets To Put In A Living Trust

​​Put assets in a living trust that you want to bypass probate. 

Common things to put into a living trust include:

  • Real estate, like your home.
  • Bank accounts.
  • Stocks and bonds.
  • Business interests.
  • Art and collectibles.
  • Intellectual property, like copyrights or patents.
  • Personal property with significant value, like jewelry.

Always update the trust when acquiring or selling major assets. 

This ensures assets transfer smoothly to beneficiaries.

Read More: Don’t Put Your House In A Trust

What Should You Not Put In A Living Trust

You shouldn’t put the following in a living trust:

  • Retirement accounts: IRAs, 401(k)s, and other tax-deferred accounts have designated beneficiaries. Transferring them to a trust can trigger taxes.
  • Motor vehicles: Transferring vehicles to a trust can complicate insurance and registration.
  • Time-sensitive assets: Items you plan to sell or dispose of quickly might be more hassle than they’re worth to include.
  • Personal checking accounts: You’ll need ready access to funds without routing through the trust.
  • Property with existing obligations: For instance, property under a mortgage might face a “due-on-sale” clause if transferred.

Remember, the above list is a general guideline. 

Some assets can be placed in a trust depending on:

  • individual circumstances 
  • the specific rules in your jurisdiction

Read More: How To Set Up A Trust Fund For A Child

How To Transfer Property Into A Trust

To transfer property into a trust:

  1. Identify which property you want to transfer.
  2. Create a trust agreement, specifying details about the property and beneficiaries.
  3. For real estate, draft a new deed with the trust as the owner.
  4. Sign and notarize the deed.
  5. Record the deed at the local county recorder’s office.
  6. For bank accounts or securities, contact the institution and complete their transfer forms.
  7. Update titles and ownership documents to reflect the trust’s name.
  8. Store all relevant documents safely with the trust agreement.

Read More: Who Needs A Trust Instead Of A Will?

Can You Transfer A Property Into A Trust With A Mortgage?

Yes, you can transfer a property with a mortgage into a trust. 

However, the lender may have a “due on sale” clause. 

This clause can require the full loan amount upon property transfer. 

It’s essential to check your mortgage agreement before making a transfer. 

Some lenders might allow the transfer without invoking this clause. 

Always communicate with your lender before making any changes.

Read More: How To Put House In Trust With Mortgage

How Much Do Lawyers Charge To Set Up A Trust?

Here is how much a living trust costs based on the complexity of your living trust:

  • DIY Trust: $50 – $350
  • Simple Trust: $1,000 – $3,000
  • Complex Trust: $5,000+

If you opt for a do-it-yourself (DIY) living trust, you might only spend between $50 and $350.

If you decide to hire a lawyer, the cost of a trust can range from $1,000 to $3,000 for a single person’s trust. 

This fee typically includes:

  • the initial consultation
  • trust drafting
  • signing process

If your estate is complex, requiring unique provisions or tax planning, costs can go up to $5,000 or more. 

Read More: How Much Does A Living Trust Cost?

How Much Does It Cost To Put Your House In A Trust?

Putting your house in a trust involves several costs. These can include:

  • Fees for a trust attorney: This typically ranges from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the complexity and region.
  • Deed preparation and recording fees: This can vary, but often costs between $100 to $250.
  • Additional costs: If you use online services or software, it might cost $50 to $500.

In total, you might spend anywhere from $1,150 to $3,750 to put your house in a trust, depending on the method and location.

Read More: What Happens To A House In A Trust After Death?

Get Help From A Trust Lawyer

If you want help from a trust law firm, fill out the form below. 

At The Hive Law, we understand the importance of:

  • protecting your hard-earned assets 
  • ensuring your family’s future
  • not losing everything to creditors and lawsuits
  • properly (and legally) distributing assets 

We only accommodate a limited number of clients each month.

So don’t miss your opportunity to work with our trust fund lawyers.

Benefits of our trust services:

  • Tailored solutions to fit your unique needs and goals
  • Expert guidance in navigating complex tax and legal matters
  • Preservation of your wealth for future generations
  • Streamlined asset distribution according to your wishes

Avoid the pitfalls of inadequate estate planning strategies:

  • Creditors seizing your assets
  • Lawsuits jeopardizing your family’s financial security
  • Family disputes over inheritance
  • Costly and time-consuming probate processes

Talk soon.

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We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)

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