Can You Write Your Own Trust in Maryland?

While you could write your own trust without legal assistance in Maryland, doing so is not wise.

When making a trust in Maryland, it is important to consider the type of trust you would like to set up. Do you want to make a shared trust with your spouse or an individual trust? Do you want to make a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust? Once you have answered these questions, it will be time to identify the property you want to place in your trust. Although you will likely be the initial trustee, you should name a successor trustee when designating beneficiaries. Then, our lawyers will write a declaration of trust document describing the property to be placed in the trust and its designation. Because writing a trust is a complicated process, you should not do it alone.

To have Rice, Murtha & Psoras assess your case for free, call our Maryland wills and estate planning lawyers now at (410) 694-7291.

How to Make Your Own Trust in Maryland

When you have a living trust, you can place certain property in it while you are alive, allowing your loved ones to receive such property upon your death without the added hassle of probate. There are several steps involved in making a trust in Maryland, which our attorneys can assist with.

Choose the Type of Trust

First, you must choose the type of trust you would like to create. There are individual and shared trusts. If you are married, you might want to set up a shared trust with your spouse. This can make it easier when handling and retitling shared property, like your home. If you are married and own property separately, you can make an individual trust. Or, if you were recently married or are unmarried, setting up an individual trust might be best. This will keep your assets and property protected. You should also choose whether you want to create a revocable or irrevocable trust. There are benefits to both options, and we can help you choose which is best for your situation.

Decide What Property to Put in the Trust

Once you choose the type of trust you want to set up in Maryland, it is time to decide what property you want to put in the trust. You can put various properties and assets in trusts, including bank accounts and real estate. Many people set up trusts so that property can pass to beneficiaries without the need for probate. Our Baltimore wills and estate planning lawyers can help you review your existing will to see which property is currently designated for beneficiaries and which could be included in a trust. If you would like, we can amend your will by executing a codicil to exclude certain property from your will. You can then place that property in a living trust if you prefer.

Choose a Successor Trustee and Beneficiaries

A successor trustee is the person who takes your place managing a living trust after your death. This person could be the same individual named as your personal representative in your will. Your successor trustee should be someone responsible and that you trust. You should also choose beneficiaries at this time. Your beneficiaries will be the ones to receive the assets and property in your living trust upon your death in Maryland. Choose these individuals carefully.

Write and Sign the Trust Document

Once you have ironed out all of the details regarding your living trust, it is time to write up the document and sign it. This is known as executing a declaration of trust document. While deciding the specifics of your trust is important, so is writing it down so that you can ensure all property transfers are properly carried out in the future. The proper way to create a trust through written declaration is laid out in Md. Code, Ests. & Trsts. Art., § 14-404. Our attorneys can help you write your trust document so that it adheres to all requirements for trusts in Maryland. After your trust document is written, it must be signed in the presence of a notary public. The trust will not officially exist until a trustee accepts the property. The grantor can be the initial trustee.

Change Titling of Property in the Trust

After you have created your living trust, it is time to change the title of the property in the trust to reflect its new ownership. You might need to do this for your car or home. If you do not retitle property in a living trust, beneficiaries might face problems down the road when it is transferred.

Should You Write Your Own Trust in Maryland?

Making a trust is a legal process that requires a certain level of experience. Generally speaking, you should not make your own trust without legal assistance, as doing so might cause you to contradict your will or improperly execute your declaration of trust document.

Because property left in living trusts does not go through probate, creating a trust can greatly appeal to individuals living in Maryland. If you write your trust entirely alone, you might unintentionally include property that has also been left in your will, causing hassles for your loved ones after your death.

Consulting with our lawyers when making a trust is also important to ensure the trust document is properly written. If it does not include the proper verbiage or is not signed in front of a notary public, it will not be official, and property will not be transferred to the trust.

Furthermore, those seeking to make a trust might not be aware that they have to retitle property to reflect its transfer to a living trust.

A living trust can allow you to designate property and assets to beneficiaries that do not pass through a will. If you include non-probate property in a trust, it will pass to beneficiaries without the need for probate.

You can stipulate when beneficiaries will get the assets held in your trust. For example, your trust can be ended upon your death or when a specific milestone is met, like your child graduating from college or getting married. Because creating a trust is a complicated process, it is not wise to do so alone without consulting our lawyers in Maryland.

Call Our Maryland Attorneys Today

You can call our Frederick, MD wills and estate planning lawyers at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case review from Rice, Murtha & Psoras.