Do You Need a Lawyer to Set Up a Trust?
As the popularity of trusts has grown in recent years, people sometimes think they can — and should — create a trust on their own without help from a legal professional, which is a serious misconception. In fact, you should not even decide that a trust is right for your circumstances without talking to an estate planning lawyer. If you do decide to establish a trust, you should never attempt to set up a trust without assistance from an attorney. Doing so can create significant problems for you, your family, and your estate.
What Is a Trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement established through a carefully written legal document that defines the terms under which the trust operates. Creating a trust requires both executing a legal document setting up the trust and funding the trust with assets.
The legal document establishes the terms of operation, names a trustee to manage and administer the trust, and designates beneficiaries to receive the asset distributions from the trust. The contents of the document are extremely important, especially since there are many different types of trusts. The details in the trust document determine the type of trust, whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable, and which federal and state laws apply to operation of the trust.
If you attempt to create a trust document on your own without professional assistance, mistakes you make in the document can lead to disastrous results. If you set up the wrong type of trust, or do not properly establish terms for the operation of the trust, the legal arrangement simply may not work the way you intended it to operate. Issues with the trust may not be discovered until it is too late to fix them, or they may be issues that cannot be fixed without court intervention. For you, your intended beneficiaries, and your estate, the financial cost of making mistakes in setting up a trust could be enormous.
You can also make mistakes if you attempt to fund a trust without professional guidance. Those mistakes can affect whether assets are in the trust or outside of it, which in turn can affect whether the assets are subject to probate and whether they will be distributed under the trust or by some other means. Mistakes in funding a trust can result in your assets not going to the beneficiaries you intended to receive them. Errors in funding a trust are also another potential source of substantial — and unnecessary — financial costs for you and your estate.
Do You Need a Trust?
A trust can accomplish many different estate planning goals. But not everyone needs or should have a trust in their estate plan. While internet articles and on-line document services often lead people to believe that everyone needs a trust and that creating a trust is a simple matter that you can do yourself, nothing could be farther from the truth.
The only way to find out whether a trust is the right tool to accomplish your estate planning goals is to talk with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Deciding to create a trust without professional advice and assistance is a significant mistake that can cause serious legal problems for you and your loved ones.
A trust is a complex legal arrangement set up by a detailed, complicated legal document. Establishing a trust includes much more than simply preparing a legal document and signing it. A complete estate plan also should include other related documents, like a pour-over will, as well as additional documents to protect you and your family during your life and after your death. Attempting to create any of these legal documents on your own using the do-it-yourself / DIY approach creates substantial risks for you and your loved ones.
Talk With an Experienced Georgia Trust Attorney
Our Cartersville estate planning practice at Asset Protection & Elder Law of Georgia focuses on helping clients determine their estate planning goals and using the best approach to address all their concerns relating to their assets, families, and estates. Determining whether a trust can provide benefits for a client and their loved ones is an important part of our legal services. If a trust would be beneficial for your estate plan, we can help you establish the right type of trust to address your specific needs.
We serve clients throughout the communities northwest of Atlanta, including in Bartow County, Cobb County, Cherokee County, Gordon County, Floyd County and Paulding County. To schedule a consultation, call us at (770) 382-0984 or contact us through our online form.
You may also be interested in:
Why Is Funding a Trust Important?
What Is the Role of a Trust in an Estate Plan?
What Is the Difference Between Wills and Trusts?