Living trusts can help you to more efficiently transfer your property. Unlike wills that may still be subject to lengthy litigations, living trusts go into effect immediately. They can also be modified fairly easily, but you must make sure that all of the modifications still comply with the law.
Preparing your own living trust can be done as long as your situation is not too difficult. General property matters such as efficient distribution can be handled on your own if you do the necessary research. Attention to detail is a must. Living trusts can be easily invalidated if you do not put in sufficient time and preparation. Once you are finished with the research for your state, you should expect the drafting process to take a couple hours.
The Information You Will Need
Once you are ready to start drafting your living trust, you need to gather your information in one place. As you can see from the sites LegalZoom reviews, the basic information is not too much. You need the names, social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and contact information of all the individuals involved. If there are no social security numbers, you can generally get on without this information. It just adds another layer of authenticity.
Keep the Terms Straight
Remember that you need to keep all of the terms straight. Failure to keep the terms and titles straight is one of the most common reasons that living trusts fail. The individual who creates the trust is the grantor, settler, or trustor. This is all the same person. Make sure that you are consistent in that description. The person who manages the trust is known as the trustee. The person or people who receives the property from the trust are the beneficiaries.
Be as clear as possible in your language. Remember that “shall” creates language of obligation. Language of obligation means that a legal duty is created. Make sure that you do not assume anything in the details. If you need the trustee to check in on the property on a regular basis or reinvest it, then make that clear. The terms of the trust control. Some states have filler language that may be read into the trust if it is too ambiguous, but the majority of states will either interpret the matter in the courts or deem the trust invalidated.
Make sure that when you finish the living trust that you get it notarized. This is another easy way that people unintentionally invalidate their trusts. They assume that having their own signatures and the signatures of witnesses will be enough to validate it. However, most states require that a trust be notarized. States that do not require notarization will still allow it. Having a notary sign the trust makes it even stronger and less simple to break. Ideally, have the notary at the courthouse handle this matter for you as it adds another apparent layer of authority to the trust itself.