My legal focus for over 37 years has always been the creation of trusts and the preparation of related wills, powers of attorney, and health care documents, including Advance Directives and H.I.P.P.A. Waivers of Medical Confidentiality. I also assist my clients with asset transfers (including revisions to boat documentation), trust revisions and amendments, deeds and custom beneficiary designations for insurance policies and IRAs.
Strategy—Probate Avoidance (i.e. "Estate Planning")
Creating a trust is much like creating a will. The client will retain control through his/her/their lifetime(s) and then designate who will have authority to handle distribution or retention of trust assets thereafter. Also stated in the trust are the beneficiaries...who will receive assets...and any limitations, conditions on when they will receive such assets.
The second, and crucial, factor in estate planning is transferring the ownership/registration of assets into the name of the trust. An example: a deed to real estate FROM John Smith and Joanna Smith, Joint Tenants with right of survivorship TO John Smith and Joanna Smith, Trustees of the Smith Trust dated January 1, 2015. John and Joanna retain full ownership of their assets and can sell/liquidate/convert/add assets at will.
Approximate cost of trust preparation, including a pourover will (pouring any probate assets into the trust for distribution), durable power of attorney and health care documents is $2,500.00 - $5,000.00 depending upon complexity, number of conferences and changes.