Welcome to WillMaker's Living Trust

With WillMaker's Living Trust, you can easily make a living trust that keeps trust property out of probate. After you complete the friendly interview (which takes less than an hour), you'll have a little more work to do on your own. But it's a fairly straightforward process that will save your family time and money after you're gone.

You'll have help and guidance every step of the way. As you go through the interview, try clicking the blue question mark icons. Doing so will open up Helpful Information on the right side of the screen answering many questions about making your living trust. And those topics will lead to more in-depth help if you need it.

What You'll Need to Complete Your Living Trust

It will be easier to make your living trust if you've given some thought to the following issues:

You'll need to address each of these issues to make your living trust document. But don't worry if the questions seem overwhelming or if you don't immediately have all of the answers. You can work on your living trust at your own pace, pausing and coming back as many times as you need. And we provide helpful information about making these decisions every step of the way.

Who May Use This Living Trust

You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to make this trust. Being of sound mind means that you understand what property you own and to whom you want to leave it. WillMaker's Living Trust is designed to be used by most U.S. citizens and permanent residents, including U.S. residents living abroad. However, this living trust is not appropriate for residents of Louisiana or the American territories.

What WillMaker's Living Trust Can and Can't Do

WillMaker's Living Trust CAN:

  • Keep your property out of probate.
  • Name beneficiaries for trust property.
  • Name alternates in case your first choices don't survive you.
  • Provide property management for trust property left to young people.
  • Name a person who will manage your trust after you cannot.
  • Name a person who will decide when you can no longer manage your affairs.
  • Create a shared trust for you and your spouse or partner.

WillMaker's Living Trust CANNOT:

  • Name a guardian to care for your young children.
  • Name an executor for your entire estate. (Though, if you have not named an executor through a will, a court may name the successor trustee named in your trust to serve as your executor.)
  • Forgive debts others owe you.
  • Specify how your debts and taxes will be paid.
  • Leave property under conditions, like that a beneficiary must act in a certain way to get the gift.
  • Name beneficiaries for property not specifically added to the trust. (You can't name a beneficiary to get "everything else" you own, like you can in your will).
  • Leave property to your pet.
  • Include detailed explanations about why you have decided to leave property in a particular way.

Help Using WillMaker

Nolo provides answers to your questions at every step of the trust-making process.

Here's how to get more information about:

  • Specific Interview Questions. If you need help answering a specific question during the will interview, read the help topics on the right side of the screen.
  • Legal Information. WillMaker Legal Manual provides answers to most general questions you have about making your will WillMaker. For example, you can get information about what your will can and can't do and about what to consider when you're naming personal guardians for your children.
  • General Estate Planning Guidance. Nolo (the legal information provider that brings you WillMaker) has lots and lots (and lots!) of free legal information about wills, trusts, probate, and most other estate planning topics in Nolo.com's Wills, Trusts & Probate section.

Putting Your Trust Into Effect

Completing the interview is just the first step in making a functional valid living trust. You also need to:

  • Sign the trust in front of a notary public
  • Have the notary public provide a certificate of acknowledgment
  • Transfer all titled property into the trust

You will get detailed instructions about how to do each of these tasks.

A Living Trust as Part of Your Estate Plan

Making a living trust is a good, reliable way name beneficiaries for your property while keeping your estate out of probate. In addition to making your living trust, you may also want to consider making other estate planning documents, like a back-up will, health care directive, or financial powers of attorney. Visit the Wills, Trusts & Probate section of Nolo.com to explore these topics in detail.

Getting Help from an Attorney

WillMaker's Living Trust is a great estate planning solution for many people because it's convenient, fast, inexpensive, and covers many situations. But we can only provide general information about whether or not this living trust might work for you. If you want legal advice about your specific circumstances, you should contact an estate planning attorney.

Finding a lawyer who best suits your needs usually requires patience, willingness to do some footwork and the ability to comparison shop.

You can get more information about estate planning and about working with an attorney on Nolo.com.