What Is a Living Trust and Do I Need an Attorney to Create One?

A living trust ensures that you have the final say on how your estate will be handled while you are alive and after your death. With a living will, you can have an even greater level of control over who and what your heirs receive than you could with a will. Many people ask if they need an attorney to create a living trust. The answer is not a simple one.

Advantages of a Living Trust

The first advantage of a living trust is that it allows your heirs to avoid the time and hassle of probate. If you have children, you could protect them from themselves by entrusting the inheritance to a third party until an age that they may be better able to make sound decisions, or you may want to parcel it out in increments over a few years. If you are concerned about your estate going to greedy relatives, bankruptcies, creditors or lawsuits, you can prevent that from happening with a living trust. Finally, you can ensure that there is no conflict over your estate by determining the outcome while you are of sound mind and in good health.

How To Set Up a Living Trust 

Thanks to the power of the internet, there are several services and plenty of information to help you design a living trust on your own. However, living trusts can be complicated, and it could vary significantly from person to person. Depending on the amount of your estate, the type of assets and the number of heirs, your trust document could get very detailed. Additionally, the laws vary by state for property ownership, probate, estate taxes, gift taxes, and inheritance taxes, all areas that could be affected or mitigated based on how you form your trust.

The question should be whether you should set up a living trust without an attorney rather than if you can set up a living trust yourself. There is no way to impart all the knowledge, experience and education that an attorney has in a fill-in-the-blank software template. An experienced, licensed estate lawyer will be able to advise you on the best way to set up your living trust to avoid unnecessary taxes and adhere to state laws. Contact a living trust lawyer in Roseville, CA in your area to get suggestions on ways to protect your assets so that they end up in the hands of the people you intend to receive them.


Thanks to Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and living trusts.