When you are ready to create your trust, we are ready to help.
The Trust Paralegal
1706 Chester Avenue, Suite 361A
Bakersfield, CA 93301
(661) 407-0774 Cell
(661) 516-1981 Office
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to create a trust?
The short answer is $255 per person ($520 per couple). This is our fee for a simple two-person (spouses) trust with family members (spouses and their children) as the beneficiaries. It includes the transfer of personal assets into the trust but does not include the transfer of real property because such transfers are made through deeds, not trust documents. Naturally, we can prepare the necessary deeds also, but these are separate documents that must be recorded with the county recorder. Deeds typically cost $350, which includes the preparation of supporting documents, notarization, and recording fees.
If you use an attorney for a simple living trust, which is a trust that is created to avoid probate and distribute assets after death, it can cost $1,800 to $3,500 in legal fees. However, if the trust is more complex and involves a variety of assets, such as real estate, business interests, or investment accounts, the cost could be much higher. We also charge more for more complex trusts, but our fees are generally less than one-third of the fees charged by an attorney.
In general, the cost to create a trust using our services can range from our starting price of $550 up to around $1,500 for the most complex trust. Approximately 80% of the trusts we prepare are for $550, 15% are for less than $900, and only 5% are for a higher price.
However, in addition to legal fees, there may be other expenses associated with creating a trust, such as filing fees, recording fees, and the cost to prepare deeds. We will discuss all of these costs with you before you hire us to assist with your trust so you have a clear understanding of the total cost and whether it makes sense for your situation.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement where a person or entity (the “trustee”) holds and manages assets on behalf of another person or entity (the “beneficiary”). The trustee is responsible for managing the assets in the trust and distributing them to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. The person who creates the trust is called the “grantor” or “settlor.”
Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, including estate planning, asset protection, charitable giving, and business succession planning. They are often created to provide for the needs of loved ones after the grantor’s death or to manage assets for minors or individuals with disabilities.
Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be changed or revoked by the grantor at any time, while an irrevocable trust cannot be changed or revoked without the consent of the beneficiaries. Irrevocable trusts are often used for estate planning and asset protection purposes.
There are many types of trusts, including living trusts, testamentary trusts, special needs trusts, and charitable trusts. Living trusts are created during the grantor’s lifetime, while testamentary trusts are created in the grantor’s will and take effect after their death. Special needs trusts are designed to provide for the needs of individuals with disabilities without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. Charitable trusts are created to benefit a charity or non-profit organization.
In summary, a trust is a legal arrangement where a trustee manages assets on behalf of beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes and can be revocable or irrevocable, and there are many different types of trusts to choose from depending on your needs and goals.
What’s the difference between a trust and a will?
A trust and a will are both estate planning documents that can be used to distribute assets to beneficiaries after the owner’s death, but they differ in some key ways.
A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets should be distributed after their death. It can also name guardians for minor children and designate an executor to manage the distribution of assets. A will only goes into effect after the person’s death and must go through the probate process, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
A trust, on the other hand, is a legal arrangement where a person (the grantor) transfers assets to a trustee to manage and distribute to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. A trust can be revocable, meaning the grantor can make changes to it during their lifetime, or irrevocable, meaning it cannot be changed once it is created. A trust can help avoid probate and provide more flexibility in distributing assets to beneficiaries. It can also provide benefits such as asset protection and tax advantages.
Overall, a will is a simpler and less expensive option for basic estate planning, while a trust can provide more benefits and flexibility for more complex situations. It’s important to consult with an estate planning attorney to determine the best option for your individual needs.
What’s the difference between a trust and a living will?
A trust and a living will are two different legal instruments that serve distinct purposes.
A trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds and manages assets on behalf of beneficiaries. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and to manage the assets according to the terms of the trust. Trusts are often used to provide for the management and distribution of assets after the grantor’s death, to minimize estate taxes, or to protect assets from creditors or other risks.
A living will, on the other hand, is a legal document that allows an individual to express their wishes regarding medical treatment in the event that they become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for themselves. A living will typically specifies the types of medical treatment that the individual would or would not want, such as life support or artificial hydration and nutrition.
In summary, a trust is a legal arrangement for managing and distributing assets, while a living will is a legal document for expressing an individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment. Both can be important tools in estate planning, but they serve different purposes and should be tailored to an individual’s specific needs and circumstances.
What’s the difference between a trust and a power of attorney?
A trust and a power of attorney are two distinct legal instruments with different purposes and functions.
A trust is a legal arrangement in which one party (the trustor) transfers ownership of their assets to another party (the trustee) for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary). The trustee manages the assets and distributes them according to the terms of the trust agreement. Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, such as estate planning, asset protection, and charitable giving.
On the other hand, a power of attorney is a legal document in which one person (the principal) grants another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to act on their behalf in certain matters, such as financial or healthcare decisions. The agent has the legal authority to make decisions and take actions that the principal would normally do, but cannot do so themselves.
The main difference between a trust and a power of attorney is that a trust is used to transfer ownership and management of assets to a trustee, while a power of attorney is used to grant decision-making authority to an agent. Trusts are typically used for long-term asset management and distribution, while powers of attorney are used for short-term decision-making and delegation of authority.
In summary, trusts and powers of attorney are both important legal instruments that can be used for different purposes, depending on the needs and goals of the parties involved. Trusts are used to transfer and manage assets for the benefit of others, while powers of attorney are used to delegate decision-making authority to an agent.
What does a trust paralegal do?
A trust paralegal is a legal professional who works with attorneys to help clients create and manage trusts. A trust is a legal document that allows an individual or organization to hold and manage assets for the benefit of another person or entity.
The primary responsibilities of a trust paralegal include assisting attorneys in drafting trust documents, conducting legal research, reviewing and analyzing legal documents, and communicating with clients. They may also help attorneys prepare for court appearances, manage client files, and maintain records.
Drafting trust documents is one of the most important tasks of a trust paralegal. They work closely with attorneys to ensure that the trust document accurately reflects the client’s wishes and complies with applicable laws and regulations. This can include preparing trust agreements, deeds, powers of attorney, and other legal documents.
Legal research is another critical responsibility of a trust paralegal. They must stay up-to-date on changes in trust and estate law, as well as any other relevant legal developments that could affect their clients. This may involve reviewing court decisions, statutes, regulations, and other legal materials.
In addition to drafting documents and conducting research, trust paralegals may also communicate with clients to help them understand the trust creation process, answer any questions they may have, and keep them informed about the status of their cases. They may also coordinate with other professionals such as accountants, financial advisors, and investment managers to ensure that the trust is managed effectively.
Overall, trust paralegals play an essential role in helping attorneys provide high-quality legal services to clients who need to create and manage trusts. They bring a wealth of legal knowledge and experience to the table and work tirelessly to ensure that their clients’ interests are protected.
When performing services for attorneys, we acting as paralegals.
What’s the difference between a trust paralegal and a trust LDA?
A legal document assistant (LDA) is a non-lawyer professional who provides legal document preparation services to individuals and businesses. LDAs are authorized to assist clients with the preparation of legal documents, but they cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court. LDAs can assist with a variety of legal documents, including trusts, wills, powers of attorney, living wills, divorce papers, evictions, custody matters, and other legal documents.
The role of a legal document assistant typically involves helping clients navigate the complexities of the legal system by providing support and guidance with the preparation of legal documents. This involves working closely with clients to ensure that all necessary information is provided and that the documents are completed accurately and on time. LDAs may also help clients understand the legal terminology and processes involved in their case.
Some of the specific tasks that a legal document assistant may perform include drafting legal documents, filling out legal forms, filing documents with the appropriate court or agency, and providing general legal information and advice to clients. LDAs may also help clients with document review and editing, document filing, and case management.
Overall, the primary goal of a legal document assistant is to provide affordable and accessible legal document preparation services to individuals and businesses who may not have the resources to hire a lawyer. LDAs can help clients save time and money by providing assistance with legal document preparation while also ensuring that the documents are completed accurately and in compliance with legal requirements.
When performing services for clients who represent themselves, we are acting as Legal Document Assistants.
Why hire a legal document assistant instead of an attorney?
A legal document assistant, also known as a “registered legal document assistant” or “legal document preparer,” is a trained professional who is authorized to assist individuals in the preparation of legal documents. While a legal document assistant cannot provide legal advice or represent clients in court, they can help with a wide range of legal documents, including contracts, wills, and divorce papers.
Here are some advantages of hiring a legal document assistant instead of an attorney:
- Cost-effective: Hiring a legal document assistant is typically much less expensive than hiring an attorney. Legal document assistants charge lower hourly rates, and their fees are often fixed, making it easier to budget for their services.
- Specialized knowledge: Legal document assistants have specialized knowledge in the preparation of legal documents. They are often experienced in the specific legal document that you need help with and can ensure that it is completed accurately and efficiently.
- Time-saving: Hiring a legal document assistant can save you time, especially if you are unfamiliar with the legal process or the specific document you need to prepare. They can help you navigate the requirements and procedures involved in preparing legal documents, which can be time-consuming and confusing without assistance.
- Accessibility: Legal document assistants are often more accessible than attorneys. They typically have more flexible schedules and can provide services remotely, which can be especially helpful if you live in a rural area or have mobility issues.
- Unbiased advice: Legal document assistants are not permitted to provide legal advice or advocate for clients in court, which means that they can provide unbiased assistance without any conflicts of interest. This can be beneficial for individuals who want to handle their legal matters independently but need some guidance to ensure that their documents are prepared correctly.
It’s important to note that legal document assistants are not a substitute for an attorney in situations where legal advice or representation is necessary. However, for individuals who need assistance with the preparation of legal documents, a legal document assistant can provide a cost-effective and efficient alternative to hiring an attorney.
Is a legal document assistant the same as a notary?
A legal document assistant (LDA) and a notary public are both professionals who work in the legal field, but they have different roles and responsibilities.
A legal document assistant, also known as a “document preparer,” is a person who helps individuals prepare legal documents for their personal and business matters. LDAs are not lawyers, but they are authorized to provide self-help services to the public, such as preparing legal documents, providing legal information, and filling out forms. They are regulated by the state in which they work and are required to meet certain education and training requirements, as well as pass a licensing exam. LDAs may provide services related to divorce, wills, real estate, and other legal matters.
A notary public, on the other hand, is a person authorized by the state government to witness and certify the signing of important documents. Notaries are responsible for verifying the identity of the person signing the document, ensuring that they are signing voluntarily and without coercion, and administering oaths or affirmations when necessary. Notaries are typically required to keep a record of the documents they notarize and are often authorized to certify copies of certain documents as well.
In summary, while both LDAs and notaries work in the legal field, they have distinct roles and responsibilities. LDAs help individuals prepare legal documents, while notaries witness and certify the signing of important documents.
Our office has both LDAs and notaries.
Is a legal document assistant the same as a process server?
LDA and a process server are two distinct roles in the legal system.
As noted above, an LDA is a non-lawyer who assists clients in preparing legal documents. An LDA can provide self-help services to individuals who need legal assistance but do not want to pay the high cost of an attorney. LDAs cannot provide legal advice, represent clients in court, or engage in any activity that constitutes the practice of law.
On the other hand, a process server is a person who delivers legal documents to the intended recipient. This includes summonses, complaints, subpoenas, and other court-related documents. Process servers are typically used in civil cases, and their job is to ensure that the recipient receives the legal documents in a legally valid manner. In some cases, process servers may also be required to provide a sworn affidavit to the court to confirm that they served the documents correctly.
In summary, an LDA assists clients in preparing legal documents but, with few exceptions, cannot serve those documents, while a process server is responsible for delivering legal documents to the intended recipient in a legally valid manner.
Do I need an attorney to create a trust?
It is not always necessary to hire an attorney to create a trust, but it is generally recommended to seek the advice of a qualified estate planning attorney when creating a trust, especially if the proposed trust is complex or the estate is large. A trust is a legal arrangement that can involve complex legal concepts and formalities, and an attorney can help ensure that your trust is properly drafted and executed.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal requirements and restrictions of creating a trust, including choosing the appropriate type of trust for your situation, selecting the right trustee, and setting up the trust in compliance with state and federal laws. Additionally, an attorney can help you identify potential legal issues and provide guidance on how to address them, such as ensuring that your trust document includes all necessary provisions and is properly executed to avoid challenges to its validity.
Do I need a Legal Document Assistant or Paralegal to create a trust?
You do not need to hire a paralegal or an LDA to create a trust, but it may be helpful to do so.
The creation of a trust typically involves drafting multiple legal documents that outline the terms and conditions of the trust and identifies the trustee and beneficiaries.
While it is possible to create a trust without a paralegal, LDA, or attorney, it is important to note that the creation of a trust involves legal and financial considerations that require careful attention. A paralegal, LDA, or attorney can help ensure that the trust is created in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations and that the language used in the trust document is clear and unambiguous.
Furthermore, hiring a paralegal, LDA, or attorney can also help avoid costly mistakes or misunderstandings that could potentially arise if the trust is not created properly. So, while it is not legally required, it may be beneficial to seek the assistance of a legal professional to create a trust.