Living Trust Templates and DIY Samples

February 8, 2018


The pros and cons of do-it-yourself Living Trust kits


America has been on a do-it-yourself kick for several decades and the trend will surely continue for decades to come.

As the cost of living skyrockets, consumers have sought to keep their own costs down in a variety of ways. One of the best has been to purchase furniture, recreational equipment, etc. in an unassembled state and save a great deal of labor cost by putting such items together themselves.

Many merchants and do-it-yourself stores today feature such assemble-it-yourself kits. They also display a broad range of samples, already assembled, that demonstrate to the buyer what will eventually evolve if the buyer follows the directions and successfully presses tab A into slot B.


Intangibles such as Living Trusts, however, can be an entirely different story. First of all, there are no stores that “display” finished Living Trusts, good or bad. Secondly, most buyers would not recognize a Living Trust if they saw one. Consequently, the Living Trust kit market is flooded with hucksters that make a comfortable living by passing off barn cats as best-in-show felines to unenlightened shoppers who put price ahead of quality.

Living Trusts and Living Trust kits are no different than any other item on the market. Everything is good or bad by comparison. And the comparison is hard to come by when your only tool of examination is a computer monitor. There is a handful of excellent Living Trust kits on the market and a bushel-basketful of very bad ones that usually end up in the trash can after the buyer has had a moment to examine what he got for his money. In most cases the cost is so small ($9.95 to $39.95) that the purchaser simply charges it off to experience, never realizing that a simple note to the credit card company would retrieve his/her money.

The key to not getting stung is education – your education. That is the purpose of this website workshop; to familiarize you with the entire gamut of things you should know about Living Trusts, wills, joint ownership and estate taxes before investing your hard-earned money,

For those interested in purchasing a do-it-yourself Living Trust kit as opposed to a customized, ready-to-sign Living Trust package there are some hard rules that should be fully understood and observed:


1. Realize that the trust package you are purchasing is a kit and not a set of finished, customized Living Trust documents. A quality Living Trust kit will require 3-10 hours of your time to complete. There are no shortcuts. Thus, you must decide what your time is worth and if you would be better off with a finished, customized trust package that arrives ready-to-be-signed and put to use.

2. Much depends on the purchaser. If the kit instructions are not thoroughly read or the purchaser simply bumble-brains his way through it, the finished trust documents, though considered legal, will not achieve the results desired by the purchaser. Thus, because the seller has no way of measuring the competency or dexterity of the purchaser, the best Living Trust kit on the market cannot guarantee the results that can be achieved by professional, ready-to-sign, customized trust documents.

3. Many trust kits ($10 to $50 range) furnish nothing more than a very austere trust contract. Thus, you should learn what auxiliary documents should be included in a quality Living Trust package. Never, never, never order a kit unless you have been assured by the kit provider that a complete set of documents is included in the price.


4. Printed kits are almost always next to useless. Because they are complete and already in printed form on paper, you can add nothing or delete nothing. It’s like buying a pair of shoes; if they are too small there is nothing you can do to make them fit aside from cutting off your toes. The “blanks” in the documents provided for your personal information are fixed in size and will not expand if you require additional space.

5. Kits on disk are often self-damning. Before ordering, learn from the kit provider which word processing program the kit uses. This information can tell you a great deal about the quality of the kit. Most are nothing more than very simple ASCII files that appeal to the lowest common denominator. Such files are tremendously limited as to type style, font size, character selection, line spacing, color coding and the unique and all-important page numbering system required of legal documents to ward off a forgery. It is like trying to tow a 66-passenger bus with a 1952 Volkswagen Beetle. You can’t play Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony on a dime-store harmonica.

Kits on disk not written in Microsoft Word 6 or higher, Corel WordPerfect 6 or higher, or the equivalent thereof lack the sophistication needed to create high quality, legal documents.

6. Experienced home computer operators often become enraptured with the mechanics of commercial trust-making software available on the Internet and at local software stores. They have purchased their computer to compute, by golly, and they figure that a Living Trust software package is the perfect opportunity to put the full abilities of their $1,500 investment to work and save lots of money at the same time.

You can have a lot of fun filling in blank windows on the monitor screen with personal information and then listening to the computer go click-click-click as it emerges that information with a document hidden somewhere in the bowels of the software. But it all goes for naught if the finished document still turns out to be an unalterable, one-size-fits-all form that does not readily adapt to your family’s needs.

7. Remember that a well-designed Living Trust can serve a family for 10 to 20 years or more. A $100 to $200 Living Trust kit with the options capable of serving your loved ones over a decade or two is a far better value than an unusable $19.95 bare bones special that ends up in a dumpster. Few folks can remember exactly what they paid for an item 10 years ago, but they can quickly tell you the kind of service that they got from that item. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.

Here is a video that can help you further with trusts and DIY kits.

Sample Templates:



Previous post:

Next post: