Trust drafting is as complicated as one’s family dynamic. Whether you consider yourself smart, educated, uneducated, white collar, blue collar, a single parent, prudent or some other label, please avoid the temptation.
What temptation? The temptation of drafting your own trust document using a trust mill or document found on the interwebs.
Instead, consider this: organize your most critical documents and seek a personal estate plan that is drafted with your exclusive interest.
Trust Drafting: Documents to Gather
When I meet with a family, here is a short list of documents I believe are helpful to my research and drafting process:
- Birth Certificate (for self and or children)
- Marriage License
- If divorced, one’s Divorce Decree(s)
- Identification Card (license, passport, etc.)
- Deed to home or other real estates (family cabin, etc.)
- Bank Statements
- Title to Motor Vehicles (cars, trucks, boats, atv, etc.)
- Gun Registrations
- Retirement Statements
- Military Records (DD-214)
- List of heirlooms of significance
- Beneficiary Forms
- Any ancillary document that suggests title ownership
Trust Drafting: First Stage
Before drafting an estate plan or trust document, meeting one-on-one is a great way to hear a person’s goals and concerns. For example, some folks are single and they do not want to share their property with nephews and nieces.
Other people want to use a per stirpes process with the intent of distributing their property equally. Really, I use the first stage to listen and take notes. Again, I believe the best estate plan is a personal estate plan.
Trust Drafting: Next Stage
The next stage is the actual drafting process. As you might suspect, this can take some time. From my perspective, I like the idea of introducing a Client to their trust immediately following the first draft. But, throughout the drafting process, we are engaging one another about topics like:
- Trustee Identification
- Guardians and Custodians
- Tax Issues
- Back-up Plans
Thus, the trust drafting process is very interactive.