The problem with DIY living trusts

Have you decided to write a DIY living trust? Take a moment to reconsider. While you can find estate planning documents, including do-it-yourself living trusts, in books, created by software, and online, they’re generally designed to deal with the most basic of estate planning needs; in other words, they’re “one-size-fits-all.” They may simply involve checking off some boxes or filling in some blanks on rather simplified forms.

It’s important to understand that everyone has different needs when it comes to estate planning; online sites and computer software programs are not designed to allow for these differences or to address any of your unique issues and concerns.

The advantage that some people see to completing a living trust online is that they’ll have it as quickly and as cheaply as possible. While it’s better to have a DIY living trust or will than none at all, if you choose to go it alone without an attorney, you could end up with potential problems which could cost you a lot more in the long run.

Getting everything right the first time

Many people go into estate planning having no idea as to all of the different estate planning strategies that are available to them, what they want or need based on their unique situation, and what mistakes to avoid. This is especially true for people with complicated personal as well as financial situations.

That’s where an estate planning attorney with experience is a real asset. Your attorney will take the time to understand your specific needs as well as those of your family. They’ll be able to provide guidance pertaining to unique state laws when it comes to things such as probate, estate taxes, property ownership, gifts, and inheritance taxes. 

Additionally, there are legal formalities that are required when it comes to writing, signing, notarizing, and having witnesses present that can be affected by state-specific issues. Funding your living trust with your assets will require that additional documents be drawn up and signed. You cannot do this with a simple DIY living trust.

The bottom line is that a DIY living trust may save you some time and money in the short-term, but could prove to be a financial disaster in the long-term. You would do better to search for a living trust attorney in California who is knowledgeable about California laws concerning estate planning, probate, living trust, and estate taxes. It will pay off in the long run.

Reasonable rates for a living trust

If you live in the San Diego area and are interested in hiring a living trust attorney, the Law Office of David W. Foley, California Living Trusts, provides a wide range of estate planning services. 

Our fees are reasonable because we can communicate with you by phone and emails, a much more efficient use of your time. You only need to come to the office to sign your documents. Before contacting us, take a minute to read our reviews.