Does an Attorney Need to Draft my Trust?
Technically, no. Paralegals and other “consultants” can draft a Trust in California. However, they are unable to provide key legal advice when discussing your estate plan with you. Furthermore, they frequently offer little custom drafting to fit your specific needs. Those deficiencies are counteracted by offering prices far below what attorneys in the area would generally charge. Seminars and other organizations that offer complete Trust packages for a fraction of the typical fee are known as “Trust Mills” and provide Trusts that are often times not what the client really wanted. I have amended or redone countless Trusts that were drafted by Trust Mills.
As with anything, you get what you pay for. There are, however, some things in life that you should not cut corners on, and one of those things is your Trust. For one, it is an important document that is tasked with successfully transferring all your assets to your beneficiaries exactly as you wish, while avoiding Probate and minimizing or eliminating taxes. Secondly, you will never know if your Trust is drafted correctly until it is too late, because most key components of your Trust will not take effect until after your death.