As we have pointed out in previous posts there are marketing websites on the Internet that sell generic legal documents including last wills. They also sell downloads and worksheets that you can use to create revocable living trusts.
There are many reasons why you would do well to take pause before using an online tool to create estate planning documents (or any other legally binding documents for that matter). However, we would like to focus on something else here.
How do you know that a living trust is the correct legal device to utilize? Does the typical layperson understand these trusts in detail?
Some people are under the impression that trusts protect assets from creditors and claimants. They may also assume that assets that you place into a trust will not be counted by the Internal Revenue Service when estate tax liability is being assessed.
If you simply convey assets into a revocable living trust that you create online and feel as though you have satisfied the above objectives you and/or your family could be in for a rude awakening.
You retain incidents of ownership when you place assets into a revocable living trust. You can act as trustee and beneficiary, and as such you have control of these assets.
Because of this the IRS would count these resources, and assets that have been placed into a revocable living trust can indeed be targeted by interested parties seeking redress.
There are other types of trusts that will protect your assets and provide you with estate tax benefits. If you would like to learn about them contact our firm at (631) 265-0599 to arrange for a free consultation.