Well … no… so long as you do everything perfect – including crossing all of your “t”s and dotting all of your “i”s.
If you have a bizillion dollar estate … well … yea … you need an attorney (you probably wouldn’t be reading this article anyway).
Because if you decide to do it yourself, and don’t do everything just right, then it may turn out that your living trust is a totally invalid and unenforceable document, and you may have unwittingly disinherited the very people whom you wanted to receive your property when you die!
In a perfect world, you have plenty of money to hire an attorney to prepare your living trust. This fee will vary greatly, depending on the attorney’s experience and the customary estate planning fees charged in the community where you live.
But typically, those fees will range anywhere from $1,200 to $5,000. The attorney will usually meet with you two times. The first visit will last about 1 1/2 hours, during which he’ll identify all assets that you own (house, other real property, bank accounts, investments, stocks/bonds, life insurance, annuities, autos, etc.). The second visit will take place after your new living trust has been prepared, and will also last about 1 1/2 hours.
During this second visit, your attorney will review everything with you, to ensure that all of your instructions are properly stated (who gets what when you die), and that all spellings, addresses, account numbers, etc., are correct.
Your trust will be executed (notarized), and you’ll usually receive an instruction letter advising whether any follow-up steps need to be taken (i.e., recording the deed that transferred title into your new trust).
Alternative to paying a private attorney
Here’s a little secret that few, if any, attorneys will share.
It’s really not so much of a secret. You probably already know about it.
For those of you who, like most people, have a relatively simple estate (a house, a few bank accounts, some simple investments, couple of cars, etc.), you can obtain a brand new, valid, enforceable, revocable living trust, right from the comfort of your own home, and save yourself a thousand dollars or more.
But first, please read all of the valuable, “nuts and bolts” information contained in this website (Living Trust Advocate). It’s really way more information than an attorney is going to provide you with, and actually more than you need to know about the basic mechanics of a living trust.
If you’re still interested in a cost-effective alternative – one that provides you with a legally enforceable, “plain English” living trust that will ensure that your wishes are carried out when you pass away – then click here.