Trust Issues: When to Hire a Trust Attorney

We don’t like to think about what will happen after we’re gone, but if you’re leaving loved ones behind, that’s not a question you can afford to ignore.

For many people, the answer comes in the form of a living trust formif they know how to set one up properly.


Judge Dan Hinde

This is where a trust attorney comes in. Attorneys know that most people have more complicated estates than they realize, and they can help ensure that those estates are handled according to your wishes, no matter how extensive or complicated the estate may be.

Here’s what a trust attorney can do for you, when you need to hire one, and why it may be the best decision you could make for your family’s future.

What Does a Trust Attorney Do?

A trust attorney, more commonly referred to as an estate planning attorney, is an attorney who will set up a trust on your behalf.



There are several different types of trusts, but all trusts boil down to the same thing: an account managed by a person or organization for the benefit of a third party.

The two most common types of trust are living trusts and testamentary trusts. Living trusts are created while the grantor (you) is still alive through the transfer of property to a trustee. The trust is in the grantor’s control, but once the grantor dies, the trust becomes irrevocable and can no longer be changed.

Testamentary trusts, or trusts under will, are trusts created by a will after the grantor dies to preserve assets for children from a previous marriage, ensuring the financial security of a surviving spouse, taking care of beneficiaries with special needs, or giving to charity.

A trust attorney helps guide you through the process of setting up, maintaining, and executing a trust, among other estate planning functions.

What to Expect When Hiring a Trust Attorney

A trust attorney is basically your personal guide through the financial planning process. Their role is to walk you through the laws in your state, assess your goals, and help establish a trust that acts as the perfect balance between the law and your personal needs.

A trust attorney knows the ins and outs of estate planning. When you go to a trust attorney, they’ll take the time to understand your financial goals and help you understand your options.

From there, they can help set up a trust that is legally binding and meets your desired goals. But their job isn’t done when the trust is set up–they’ll also help you manage the trust as time goes on so that the trust is as effective as possible.

Why You Should Hire an Attorney

There are plenty of good reasons to hire an attorney, but they all come down to the same thing: peace of mind.

Planning for your loved ones when you’re not there to take care of them is an incredibly stressful process. An estate lawyer can help take a load off your mind and ensure that your estate is executed according to your wishes.

Here are a few other reasons why it’s a good idea to get an attorney on the phone.

Making Sure the Trust is Valid

First and foremost, a trust attorney can help ensure that a trust is legally valid and binding.

That sounds like a given, but the reality is that estate planning is a complicated process–creating a legally binding document isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it sounds.

Every state has its own unique estate planning laws. For example, certain assets are not allowed in living trusts, and the inclusion of an ineligible asset can render the whole trust worthless.

In addition, your location may affect who can serve as a witness, who can be a personal representative, and where and how the trust must be signed. Never mind the wide array of estate planning procedures that vary between states.

A trust attorney is versed in the laws of your area and can ensure that your trust is legally valid. And if the laws change, they can help make adjustments to keep the trust active.

Navigating Complications

Do you have a complicated estate?

Most people answer no. Here’s the problem: most people are wrong.

If you have no debts, limited assets, and streamlined finances, then maybe your estate is simple. However, any of the following can throw a wrench in your estate:

  • Multiple marriages
  • Divorce
  • The recent loss of a spouse or family member
  • Multiple children
  • Problem children
  • Minor children
  • No children
  • Business ownership
  • Real estate (especially in multiple states)
  • Substantial investment assets
  • Disabled loved ones
  • Bequests to charity
  • Debts
  • Taxable estate

Chances are, any one of the following might apply to you. And even if you don’t think your estate is that complicated, your lawyer may think otherwise. There’s no good reason to throw your estate into turmoil if it can be avoided.

Protecting Your Loved Ones

Do you know what happens if you’re in breach of trust?

In breach of trust cases, the defendant was in legal possession of the victim’s property, the defendant converted that property for their own use, and took possession of that property without intending to give it back to the victim.

You see, trusts are administered by trustees, who manage the trust for the benefit of a third party. They handle the assets in the trust, but the assets are not the trustee’s property. The trustee’s job is to act for the benefit of the grantor and the beneficiaries.

Here’s the problem: you have to, well, trust your trustee.

A trust attorney can help ensure that your trust is executed according to your wishes, whether they’re the trustee or not. This is especially helpful if your trust is unusually complicated or it’s being administered on behalf of minors or disabled adult children.

Your attorney’s job is simple: protecting your wishes and your trust. And that means that your loved ones will also be protected and see the benefits of the trust you created.

Don’t Put Off Planning for the Future

If you’re thinking of hiring a trust attorney, you need to ask yourself one question: what is your family’s future worth to you?

If the answer is quite a lot, it’s time to work with a trust attorney. When you’re gone, your family will already have a significant burden. This is just one of the ways you can help the healing process.

And if you need more great legal advice, make sure to check out our blog.

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Comments 5

  1. Victoria Addington says:

    I’ve been doing research to support my aunt as she plans to set up a trust for her kids. It’s helpful that you pointed out that a trust lawyer is knowledgeable about estate planning, would take the time to learn about your financial objectives, and can guide you through your options. I believe she might benefit from employing one. I’ll make sure to let her know about this and suggest that she get assistance from a trust lawyer. I appreciate you sharing!

  2. Luke Smith says:

    It’s great that you pointed out how a trust attorney could help guide you through the process of setting up, maintaining, and executing a trust, among other estate planning functions. I was reading my brother’s book about trusts and I barely understood how it works. Fortunately, there are trust attorneys now, so I think it would be best to just hire one for trusts.

  3. Zachary Tomlinson says:

    It’s amazing how trust attorneys could help you establish a support system for your living relatives especially when it comes to asset management after your death. Ensuring that your children can receive any form of support that you have is indeed important. I should keep this in mind if I end up accumulating a couple of assets in the future.

  4. Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for pointing out that there are different kinds of trusts that can fit different sorts of needs. I’d like to know more about how to find a trust lawyer because I want to start thinking about what to do with my assets. I think that it’s about time that I plan ahead so that my retirement would be mostly hassle-free.

  5. Karen Holland says:

    I don’t know what to do. I need help.

    My brother is trustee of my father’s estate. He and I don’t always get along, and he says he doesn’t trust ME, so, I don’t trust him.
    He’s managing both our father, and dad’s trust. Dad is 96.
    Recently, my brother said he’s going to have to put dad in a memory care facility.

    I live in Florida, they’re in Michigan. I’m concerned about my dad. I’ve wanted him to live with me. He’s said he wants to come home. His home in Florida was sold.
    My brother is manipulative. I allowed my brother to coerce me out of being co- trustee. I allowed my brother to manipulate my dad into seeing up the trust so his 2 daughters are involved somehow and my estranged daughter doesn’t benefit.

    How do I go about protecting my interest as a beneficiary BEFORE my dad passes?

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