Plan Ahead and Create a Living Trust Checklist

Revocable Living Trust Plan Ahead and Create a Living Trust Checklist

Creating a Living Trust Checklist

Learn the difference between living trusts vs. wills, the reasons to pick an inter vivos vs. a testamentary trust, the roles included within the process, and the best way you can get estate planning done as efficiently as possible.

This article has it all - including a step-by-step guide and checklist to help you create a living trust!

Why Choose a Living Trust Over a Will?

There is a significant difference between living trusts and wills, but the primary difference is that wills only become active after the author has passed away, while trusts become valid immediately. For a will to become active, it will have to go through a legal process called probate, which can become complicated if the will is contested. 

Probate Explained

Here’s what happens during probate if you decide to use a will:

  1. Verification that the will’s author has indeed passed away
  2. Verification that the author in question did write the will
  3. Verification that the will is valid, up to date, and the newest possible version
  4. The will becomes available for consultation for the appropriate parties.

How to Create a Living Trust

There are two different types of living (inter-vivos) trusts. These are revocable trusts, which can be changed at any point after being signed, and irrevocable trusts, which can only be changed in extreme circumstances.

DoNotPay can help you create a living, revocable trust! Scroll down to follow our easy step-by-step guide, or check out the chart below to see which method can work for you. 

CostEfficiencyReliability
Contacting a lawyer Estate planning lawyers can cost around $1,200-2,000Research and booking appointments can be time consumingVery reliable
Do It YourselfFreeQuite time consuming, as everything has to be done by handVaries
Online TemplateRanges from $0 - approx $99, depending on the siteDepends on the quality of the website. The reliability of these vary, but websites like this one can be a good choice if you’re already well versed in legal language
DoNotPayDoNotPay is only $36/3 months (that’s $12 a month!), which includes access to all of our services. The process is simplified into simple questions from our chatbot

[scroll down for full instructions]

Very reliable

Step-By-Step Checklist for a Living Trust

  • Gather your information 
  • Identify your assets to be put in a trust
  • Assets that do not need to be put in a living trust:
    • Motor vehicles (as vehicles do not have to go through the probate process)
    • Health and Medical Savings Accounts
    • Retirement Accounts
    • Life insurance (although you can make your trust a beneficiary of your life insurance)
    • Uniform Transfers or Uniform Gifts to Minors Accounts (UTMA or UGMA)
  • Choose and name your beneficiaries, and what assets they should receive. This will become instructions for your executor (or successor trustee) to divide and give out the assets. Residuary beneficiaries will receive all or a portion of everything not specifically given away to other beneficiaries. 
  • Gather copies of the deed for each property that will go in your trust. 
  • Name your successor trustee and backup/alternate successor trustee. They will manage the assets without taking any for themselves; they are obligated to treat each beneficiary equally. 

How to Set Up Your Living Trust Quickly with DoNotPay

Got all of your information? All that’s left is to fill in the blanks, and DoNotPay makes it simple. In three steps, you can have a crucial part of your estate planning finished. 

  1. Sign-in to DoNotPay and select the Revocable Living Trust icon
  2. Tell us your state of residence
  3. Assign a trustee(s) and select your beneficiaries
  4. Distribute your properties and assets as needed
  5. Provide us with the state you will be getting the trust notarized in

Estate planning is important, and we understand that you have to do the appropriate research. That’s why we’ve provided articles on a variety of related topics, so you can get a sense of the process and legal language around living trusts. 

Living Trust Guides by State

Legislation can vary by location, so we’ve created guides for each state. 

CaliforniaOhioHawaii
TexasVirginiaPennsylvania
ArizonaNorth CarolinaUtah
MichiganGeorgiaIndiana
ColoradoMassachusettsIdaho
IllinoisMarylandSouth Carolina
FloridaWisconsinMissouri
Washington StateNew JerseyLouisiana
OregonMinnesotaAlaska
New YorkOklahoma

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