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Preparing your own trust could end in disaster

There is no getting around the fact that creating an estate plan that includes a trust will cost you money. You may be looking for a way to cut costs, and you may begin perusing the internet for solutions. Those cheap online forms may be enticing, but you may want to think twice before using them.

Your trust dictates what happens to your assets, your family members and you. Even if you purchased a set of documents supposedly compliant with Florida law, laws change. In addition, how would you know whether the documents are really in compliance? That isn't the only problem with do-it-yourself trust documents, however.

The dangers of creating your own trust

If you attempt to create your own trust, you could end up with a document not worth the paper it's written on. Below are some of the reasons why a DIY trust is probably not your best option:

  • If you read the disclaimers on those DIY form websites, you will notice that they let you know up front that they are not providing you with legal advice. In fact, most of them will direct you to seek out the advice of an attorney.
  • State laws vary, and what you get may not even be close to what Florida law requires. Granted, there are some similarities among states when it comes to trusts, but the differences are where a court could declare your trust invalid.
  • Those DIY forms provide only generalities and do not provide for your unique situation. Even if you have to answer some questions before the system recommends a trust, it will not provide you with the tailoring you need in order to make certain your wishes are expressed and your trustee will follow them.

Another important factor to remember is that you must fund your trust. This means you will need to transfer ownership of your assets into the trust, which requires a whole other set of documents depending on the type of property. Again, these legal documents must comply with current law in order to achieve your goals.

The money you spend up front in order to make sure that your estate plan, and particularly your trust, represents your wishes, achieves your goals and complies with the law is more than likely worth the peace of mind it provides to you and your loved ones.

The alternative could be that all of your property will end up in probate, which subjects the estate to taxation, creditors and more. Moreover, your loved ones will not have access to the remaining assets until the conclusion of the probate, which could take months.

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