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Depending on the extent of your estate, a living trust isn't much more complicated than a will. With a good self-help book or software package, you can create a valid living trust yourself. Lawyers commonly charge upwards of $1,000 to draw up a simple trust.

Once you get the boilerplate legal language from a book, software package or an attorney, you will be required to define the following information:

  • The name of the person creating and managing  the trust .

  • The name of the person to take over managing the trust if current trust manager dies or becomes incompetent --Usually your spouse, child or close friend.

  • The names of the people who will receive the property in the trust (your beneficiaries)

  • The name of a person to manage any property left to minor beneficiaries.

Once the trust is completed, you must sign it in front of a notary. The final steps are to transfer all property to be distributed under the trust into the name of the trust using a deed or other standard transfer document.