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Setting up a Living Trust

Setting up a living trust is one way of protecting your property and assets from going through the probate system upon your death.  This can save your heirs a lot of time and money.  Creating a living trust is actually fairly easy, although there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.  The first is that the trust documents must follow the laws of the state in which they are written.  Living trust laws do vary from state to state, so you will need to speak to a living trust attorney to make certain your document follows state law.  Once written, you have to execute the living trust in order to make it legally binding.  Below are the steps to setting up and executing a living trust.

Once you have drafted the living trust agreement, the grantor takes it to a notary public.  The grantor must sign the living trust document in front of the notary public, who then stamps it.  Some people believe they need to create multiple copies of their living trust document, but this can actually create problems.  Only one original needs to be signed and stamped by the notary.  Copies can later be made for the grantor and others if necessary.

After the grantor has signed off on the living trust and the notary has stamped it, the trustee must sign the document.  Since this is often the same person as the grantor, this can be done at the same time as the grantor’s signature.  Again, the trustee must sign the living trust document in front of a notary public, who then stamps and signs the document to verify the authenticity of the signature.

Once the grantor and trustee have signed the living trust document, it is legally binding.  Because it’s so easy to execute a living trust agreement, however, it is very important that the document be legally correct.  Even if you don’t engage the services of a living trust attorney in writing the agreement, you should at least have one review your document before you sign it to ensure that it meets all state laws.