How Long Does it Take to Set Up a Revocable Trust?

When you create a revocable living trust, you create a legal document. Generally, people hire trust attorneys to write trusts but you can prepare your own trust document. It may only take a few minutes to write up the actual trust document but if you have a complex trust it could take several weeks to transfer ownership of your assets to your trust.

Trust Details

A revocable trust operates under your Social Security number for tax purposes which means that revocable trusts are quicker than irrevocable trusts to create since you do not have to apply to the Internal Revenue Service for a Tax Identification Number for the trust. You can act as the trustee of your own trust which means you do not have to spend time finding someone to manage the trust. You do though have to name beneficiaries and it may take you some time to decide how to split the trust's assets between your heirs.


Any assets that you decide to include in the trust do not have to pass through probate when you die so if you want to enable your heirs to completely avoid probate, you must prepare an extensive list of all of your assets. This may not take long if you hold all your assets as cash in one or two bank accounts, but it could take several days to prepare this list if you own various parcels of real estate and a wide variety of stocks, bonds, bank accounts and different commodities.

Completing The Trust

You should provide your trust attorney with a list of all of your assets as well as the names of your beneficiaries and ask your attorney to prepare the trust document. A state-certified notary must witness the final trust document but your attorney should have a notary on staff so this should not cause a delay in the process.

Having created the trust, you must provide copies of it to your bank, broker and investment companies and ask all of these firms to re-title your accounts. You must also use quit claim deeds to transfer real estate from your name to the name of your trust. This process could take a number of weeks if you have assets held at various locations around the country.

Other Considerations

If you hold all of your assets in the form of cash in a bank account then you can create a revocable trust within just a few minutes and without even having to hire an attorney. Under federal banking laws, you can add the names of pay-on-death beneficiaries to your existing bank accounts, and when you do this you actually turn your accounts into revocable trust accounts. All you have to do is provide a banker with the names of your heirs and then when you die your heirs can claim your money without going through probate.