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Are you planning for the future?
What will happen to your property after you pass? Will it go into months and months of probate while your family wait and pay hundreds in court costs and legal fees? Or, do you have a living trust?
Are you considering setting up a living trust yourself?
A trust is an arrangement that sets out guidelines and directions for management of your property. A living trust is a trust that you create to go into effect during your lifetime, rather than upon your death.
People often create living trusts to avoid probate. Probate is the court process of distributing your property to heirs and creditors after you die. Depending on how much property you have, probate can take a very long time. A living trust expedites the process because the trustee just follows your directions and transfers your property to your beneficiaries. It avoids the probate process altogether.
Writing the Trust
Writing a trust doesn't need to be complicated, especially if you don't have a lot of property. To create a trust, you must first write a Declaration of Trust, or the trust document. In this document you should specify:
Once you've written out your trust, sign it in front of a notary, and make a copy for safe keeping.
Funding the Trust
You're not done yet. A living trust is useless unless you transfer the listed assets and property into it. If you've listed real estate, bank account, stocks, bonds, you need to transfer title of those assets to the trust. You can do this by signing a deed, giving the trust ownership of the property, and the trustee the power to control it.
If you want to write your trust yourself, but need a little more guidance, you can purchase FindLaw's Legal Forms' Living Trusts package with templates and instructions. If you are unsure on how to proceed, or simply have too complicated an estate to do it yourself, an experienced probate attorney will be able to guide you.