By Mark Gullotta on February 26th, 2021 in
Once you have come to the realization you need a living trust, you have several ways to obtain it:
Do It Yourself
Using an attorney
The differences between the approaches vary by the following factors:
How comprehensive is the plan
How effective is the plan when a death or incapacity event actually occurs
Do It Yourself
If you are familiar with Estate Law, you can draft a Living Trust document yourself. This is probably the least expensive way to create it.
You will need, though, to get yourself familiarized with the recent laws and case laws that involve your specific situation.
Upfront costs may be minimal. However, your heirs may pay a high price if the documents were not drafted and/or executed properly.
An Online Service
An alternative to the DIY method where you fill in pre-printed forms is an online service.
Each person’s situation is different and may require special attention. Thus, an online service may produce a living trust document which will not cover all cases.
While seem benign, the true value of the living trust comes into play only at times of death or incapacitation.
While it incurs a modest fee, a non-comprehensive document might fall short to deliver what you intended it to do.
Using an Attorney to Obtain a Living Trust
Let us first address the “elephant in the room”: cost.
Yes, drafting a living trust using an attorney will probably cost you more upfront than DIY or online service options.
You likely wanted a living trust in the first place to save on the enormous cost and time associated with Probate. But you may find that the cost of poorly made documents is far greater to your heirs than the upfront cost of an experienced attorney; one who can avoid Probate with a well-drafted, comprehensive living trust.
An attorney will also interview you and your family and could expose little things you haven’t thought about yourself, that might greatly influence how your living trust is executed and followed.
At the very least you should consider talking to an experienced Estate Attorney and find out costs, if your situation even calls for having a living trust, and then decide what is your best option.