How to Set Up a Living Trust

By Jonathan Bales , last updated December 18, 2011

A living trust is a legal arrangement through which one person holds the title of property for another. Sometimes, people will be the trustee of their own living trust, which allows for reduced taxes, set up long term property management, and so on. Living trusts are not substitutes for wills, but rather a supplement. A living trust simply allows the allocation of items not specified in your will to be handled by a specific person. Setting up a living trust can be difficult because you actually need to transfer assets into it, as opposed to a will which does not have the transfer of assets until after death. Read below for more information on how to set up a living will.

To set up a living will, you need to make sure the assets you want transferred are done so in a legal way. Real estate titles, for example, are assets that you want transferred. Make sure they go to a beneficiary and allow plenty of time for this since it can be time consuming. If you are the trustee of your own living will, which is often the case, you will also need to sign the checks associated with the trust.
The most important thing to remember when setting up a living trust is that you must transfer of assets. A living trust itself is nothing more than the ability to transfer legal ownership of assets. If you fail to make these transfers, the living will has no legal enforceability. You can visit an attorney to help you set up a living trust. Then, you will need to appoint a trustee. Most people usually assign this position to themselves because it saves money. If you are the trustee, you are in charge of all asset transfers, not your lawyer. Being your own trustee means you are in charge of all of your own assets until death. Most people name a spouse or other close relative as the beneficiary.
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