Whether you are trying to decide between a revocable living trust or an irrevocable living trust, you may be considering the use of a lawyer to complete the process. Most people can see the benefit of creating a living trust from an estate planning perspective, as it will help one’s heirs avoid the costs and stresses involved with probate proceedings. It may also provide some tax benefits. However, hiring an attorney represents an expense that some people may not be ready to pay, so is an attorney really worth it?
Utilizing a private estate planning attorney to draw up a trust could cost as little as $1,200 to as much as $2,000, depending on the complexity of the process and the attorney retained. Meanwhile, a do-it-yourself book, a form downloaded from the internet or a special piece of software could allow you to create your trust paperwork for as little as $40.
Florida residents who have simple estates are motivated to save money and have the time and the intellectual know-how might be able to successfully draft a living trust without a lawyer. That said, those with more complicated estates, have special needs, are in a particularly unique situation or simply want to feel more secure that their estate plan will not fall apart after they are gone, may want to get in touch with an attorney to complete the process.
At the end of the day, if you were to ask a Florida estate planning attorney what you should do, a good lawyer would always advise you to get the assistance of an attorney — and that is not just because an attorney is biased. Indeed, most estate planning attorneys have seen firsthand what can happen when a do-it-yourself estate plan goes wrong. They have probably seen estate plans created by under qualified attorneys fall apart as well. The choice is yours. If you are confident that you can complete your living trust documents on your own, make sure that you analyze all options available before you make your final decision.