Do-It-Yourself Revocable Trust

by Edriaan Koening ; Updated July 27, 2017
Preparing your own revocable trust can lead to big savings.

Also known as a living trust, a revocable trust allows you to plan your estate by creating a written agreement that appoints one person to manage your assets. When you die, the trust determines how your assets are distributed among your heirs. You either can get an attorney to prepare a revocable trust or prepare one yourself.

Benefits

The obvious benefit of preparing your own revocable trust is that it costs less than hiring an attorney to prepare one for you. According to the legal website Nolo, a professional attorney charges about $1,200 to $2,000 to help you prepare a revocable trust. If you do it yourself, you can save at least $1,000. At the time of publication, you can expect to pay about $30 for a book on revocable trust preparation, $50 for a revocable trust software or $70 for an online revocable trust tool.

Process

To easily prepare your own revocable trust, you can obtain a legal draft from a book, a software or an online tool. You then fill in the form with the names of parties related to the trust, including yourself, the persons who will manage the trust and your heirs. After this, you visit a notary and sign the trust. When you are ready, you can transfer all the assets to be distributed into the trust.

Drawbacks

A do-it-yourself revocable trust draft works well for a certain common scenario. If you have unusual needs, the draft may not fit your situation. Laws relating to estates also tend to be complicated. Because of your inexperience, you may end up making a mistake with your wording or failing to execute the trust correctly. As a result, doing it yourself may lead to problems, such as conflicts between your heirs and unexpected costs.

Warning

When looking for revocable trust resources, you may come across advertisements of cheap revocable trust preparation services. The State Bar of Wisconsin advises you to avoid any individuals who pressure you into hiring them for trust preparation services. Also avoid cold calls offering a free home consultation on revocable trusts. Scam artists may pretend to sell revocable trusts to access your personal financial information. If you suspect anyone selling a revocable trust to be a scam artist, contact your local consumer protection authority for advice.

About the Author

Edriaan Koening began writing professionally in 2005, while studying toward her Bachelor of Arts in media and communications at the University of Melbourne. She has since written for several magazines and websites. Koening also holds a Master of Commerce in funds management and accounting from the University of New South Wales.

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