A Revocable Living Trust is a great alternative to a Last Will and Testament, especially if you want to avoid probate. To create a Trust, you must write a Trust agreement, name your beneficiaries, and fund your property into the Trust.
Creating a Trust may seem easy. So, does that mean writing your own is safe? There are some short term and long term costs to consider before you write your own Trust.
Short Term Costs
The short term costs you will face are those to create your document. This is the price you will pay for a generic fill-in-the-blank form or for an attorney to write the Trust for you. In the short term, writing your own Trust only costs about $50. If you hire an attorney, creating a Trust may cost around $2,000 to $4,000. When you look at it in the short term, it seems like writing your own Trust is the better idea, but dont forget to consider the long term costs for an out-of-date or improperly funded Trust.
Long Term Costs
Like all estate documents you must regularly review your Trust to make sure it is current with your states laws. You must also ensure that you have included new beneficiaries, removed deceased or divorced beneficiaries, and titled new property into the name of your Trust. When you have an attorney, he or she can help you with these steps. If you write your own document, you are in charge of your own maintenance and unless you are a legal expert, you are more likely to have a document that may need probate later.
If your Trust is not fully funded, or does not have accurate beneficiaries or property, your estate may have to pass through probate. This completely defeats the purpose of using a Living trust to avoid probate. This is where your long term costs will come into play. Depending upon the errors in your Trust, probate may take longer and cost more than if you had an attorney draft a legally sound document in the first place.