Do You Need a Lawyer To Make a Living Trust

While it’s not mandatory to enlist the services of a living trust lawyer when establishing or already having a living trust, you might be contemplating whether it’s necessary. In essence, it’s not a strict requirement.
Nevertheless, the absence of a legal necessity doesn’t negate the potential benefits of hiring a lawyer.
Given the intricacies associated with living trusts, if you harbor concerns about your proficiency in creating one, engaging the services of a living trust lawyer for consultation can prove valuable.
These legal professionals can assist your appointed trustee in the posthumous distribution of assets, maintain confidentiality, and circumvent the probate process.
Additionally, considering collaboration with a financial advisor for crafting an optimal estate plan may also be a prudent decision.
Do you need a lawyer to make a living trust
Image courtesy (FindLaw)

Consider a living trust attorney based on your individual views about net worth.

No strict rules on when to hire one, but you should think about it if:

  • Passing on Assets: If you have over $100,000 in assets for family, a living trust lawyer may help, especially with a complex financial portfolio.
  • Special Trust Conditions: Hire if your trust has specific conditions or preferences, like excluding certain family members or setting up a generation-skipping trust.
  • Tax Liability: If facing federal estate tax (exceeding $12.92 million), consider a living trust attorney; even estates below this threshold may benefit from their services.
  • Unique Beneficiary Situation: Engage an attorney if beneficiaries have unique needs or receive government assistance to avoid potential mistakes in setup.
  • For Peace of Mind: If your estate is complex and you’re overwhelmed, hiring a living trust attorney provides reassurance.

In summary, a more intricate estate and substantial wealth argue in favor of hiring a living trust lawyer.

Read more: How to choose a criminal defense lawyer

Should I Make My Living Trust Lawyer the Trustee?

Consider the idea; it simplifies life. Some experts caution against it. A living trust attorney takes on dual roles – consultant and trustee – leading to potential ethical conflicts.

Attorneys must prioritize fiduciary duty, placing clients’ interests first.

At the start, many attorneys can suggest equally qualified, less expensive trustees. While hiring your lawyer as a trustee is possible, weigh the decision carefully.

If a family member lacks time or expertise, hiring a bank or trust company is an option. However, both choices involve fees, impacting your assets.

A family member trustee can be paid, aligning with your preferences. Ultimately, trust the qualifications of your chosen trustee.

The Bottom Line

Wealthy individuals needing a living trust should consider hiring a living trust attorney, especially if their financial situation is complex.

While some may navigate estate planning independently, hiring a lawyer can be a wise investment to avoid potential mistakes and ensure money is well-spent.