Understanding and Setting Up a Trust with a Trust-Based Estate Plan

Trust Overview 

What is a Trust?

A Trust is a legal arrangement where you assign a third party, known as a Trustee, to manage your assets based on your instructions. Unlike a Will, which kicks in after your death, a Trust starts working the moment you sign it and continues while you're alive. This setup can help manage your affairs if you can't make decisions yourself, ensuring your wishes are clear and reducing stress for your loved ones now and in the future.

What's included in a Trust-Based Estate Plan?

The Trust-Based Estate Plan includes several key documents:

  • Revocable Living Trust: primary document with provisions for the management, control, and distribution of your assets during life and after death.
  • Pour Over Will: Your final wishes for your possessions, dependents, and arrangements and transfers any remaining assets into a Trust after death.
  • Living Will (Advance Health Care Directive): Specify your preferences for health care and medical treatment to be used as guidance if you are ever unable to make decisions. Includes a Medical Power of Attorney.
  • HIPAA Authorization: Authorizes trusted individuals to receive your protected health information for specified purposes.
  • Power of Attorney: Authorizes trusted individuals to receive your protected health information for specified purposes.
  • Schedule of Assets: A listing of assets that you hold in the Trust and subject to the provisions of the Trust. 
  • Certification of Trust: To deliver to third parties for a summary of key provisions from the Trust without revealing personal details.

How much does the Trust-Based Estate Plan cost?

Individual Trust: $499

Married Couple Trust: $599 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A Revocable Living Trust is set up during your lifetime and can be changed or cancelled anytime you're alive. This trust helps avoid probate and offers some protection against creditors, although your assets in the trust are still somewhat accessible to them.

Do you need both a Trust and a Will?

No need to purchase a Will separately from a Trust. The Trust-based estate plan includes both a Will and a Trust. These two documents work together, but accomplish different things:

  • The Trust is the centerpiece of the plan and handles the distribution of all assets.
  • The Will lets you designate guardians for kids and pets, transfers any other assets into the Trust at death, and lets you specify preferences for your final arrangements. The will associated with your Trust is a called a "Pour Over Will".

How to switch from a Will-Based to a Trust-Based Estate Plan?

If you've started with a Will-based plan, switching to a Trust-based plan is easy and doesn't require starting over. Just answer a few more questions to include a Trust in your plan.

How long does it take to create a Trust?

Setting up a Trust usually takes about 20 minutes. You can save your progress and come back anytime to finish up.

How to Create a Trust 

Step 1: Purchase a Trust-Based Estate Plan

Start by getting a Trust-Based Estate Plan or adding a Trust to your current Will-Based Estate Plan.

Step 2: Finish the questionnaire

Fill out a questionnaire to gather all the information needed to create your final documents.

Step 3: Finalize your documents

Print or ship your final physical documents. Then sign, witness, and notarize your documents to make them official.

Step 4: Fund your trust

After your documents are complete, move your assets into the Trust to make sure they are managed according to the Trust's terms.


Was this article helpful?
22 out of 29 found this helpful