Trust Drafting Is Easier Than You Think, And Sometimes Not

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.)
  • Mortgage
  • 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.