Can I Create My Own Trust?
Trusts are legal arrangements that can be simple or very complex. In order to ensure your objectives are achieved and that you are not creating any problems down the road, you will want to be sure your trust is properly drafted and created. While you may save money in attempting to draft your own trust, it may cost you (or your beneficiaries) when you (or they) run into trouble later.
LKP are highly experienced Las Vegas trust attorneys who engage in estate planning for clients throughout Nevada. If you need estate planning in Nevada, a trust may be part of the solution for you. Call 702-333-1711 to speak to a Las Vegas, Nevada, estate planning attorney experienced in preparing trusts, estate plans, and related legal documents.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement allowing the trustee (which can be you or a third party) to manage assets for a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts are created in many ways to accomplish different objectives.
Trusts have three parties:
- Settlor: Also known as a trustor or grantor, this person creates the trust and its terms.
- Trustee: An individual, trust company or bank can fill this position. The trustee is responsible for managing the trust’s assets, hold legal title to trust assets, and administering the trust and its assets according to the terms of the trust.
- Beneficiary: The person or entity (it could be a nonprofit) benefitting from the trust assets. There can be a single beneficiary or many beneficiaries who benefit from the trust. After the primary beneficiary passes away, remainder beneficiaries can be named to benefit from the trust.
Depending on the assets you own, the beneficiaries you wish to provide for, and the terms upon which you want your assets to be administered and distributed after your death, a trust may be a good option.
Do I Need a Trust?
Before you create your trust, consider if it is the right tool for the job. A trust can help you reach these goals:
- Estate Planning: By placing assets in a trust, the assets can pass directly to beneficiaries without going through a court-monitored probate proceeding. Trusts also allow for the controlled and efficient distribution of assets to beneficiaries, even after the settlor’s death. Some types of trusts can protect assets from creditors and lawsuits. Trusts can often be used to keep the details of an individual’s financial affairs private because trust documents are generally not part of the public record, unlike probate proceedings.
- Tax Planning: Certain types of trusts or provisions with trusts can help reduce or eliminate estate taxes upon your death. Trusts can also be used for gifting strategies to minimize your overall gift and estate tax liability. In some cases, trusts may also be structured in such a way to reduce income tax liability for beneficiaries.
- Wealth Preservation: Trusts can preserve a family’s wealth and pass it down to future generations while maintaining control and protecting the assets. Trusts can provide for the care of minor children, elderly family members, or individuals with special needs by ensuring they can access financial resources. Some specialized trusts may also allow qualification for Medicaid.
- Charitable Giving: A trust may allow you to provide for beneficiaries during the beneficiaries’ lifetime, then donate the remaining assets to a charity upon the beneficiaries’ death. It can also be reversed, with income going to a charity for a given time, then the remaining assets going to non-charitable beneficiaries.
If any of these benefits are important to you, a trust may be a good option.
Should I Create My Own Trust?
There are plenty of risks that come with a do-it-yourself trust. Here are some reasons why competent legal counsel is always recommended when creating a trust:
- Legal Expertise: Our estate planning attorneys are trained and experienced in the complexities of trust law. We understand the legal requirements, rules, and regulations that govern trusts. This expertise ensures that the trust is drafted correctly, complies with applicable state and federal law, and serves its intended purpose.
- Customization: Unlike online trust forms, we can tailor the trust to your needs and objectives. Trusts are not one-size-fits-all, and one of our attorneys can help you create a trust that aligns with your unique financial and personal circumstances.
- Avoiding Errors and Pitfalls: Your trust may need to include intricate legal language and address complex concepts. Attempting to create a trust without legal guidance can lead to errors or omissions that may invalidate some or all of the trust language, or result in unintended consequences that may emerge years later.
- Changing Laws: We stay informed of the ever-changing body of law that governs estate and tax planning. At the request of clients, we often review old trusts that need to be updated due to changes in laws.
- Professional Guidance: We can provide you with guidance on trustee selection, beneficiary considerations, and other critical decisions related to your trust.
- Peace of Mind: Knowing that your trust has been professionally created and is legally sound can provide you and your loved ones peace of mind. It can also reduce the likelihood of future legal challenges to the trust’s validity.
There’s a cost to our services but we offer a great return on your investment.
Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer to Create the Right Trust for You
LKP are highly experienced estate planning lawyers helping clients throughout Nevada. If you’re considering creating a trust, call us for a free consultation. We’ll discuss what we think is best for you, the service we can provide, then you can decide for yourself. Call us at 702-333-1711 or use our online contact form to speak to a Las Vegas, Nevada, trust attorney today.
Attorney Kennedy Lee practices in all aspects of trust and estate law. He views all legal issues from multiple angles (e.g. from litigation to administration point of view) to provide a higher quality of service to our client.