When you met with an attorney a few weeks ago, perhaps you expected that all you needed was a simple will. Maybe you thought that, with your situation, the work should be easy and the documents should be few. But now that you have finished working with the attorney, your parting gift is a large binder filled with hundreds of pages. You may be wondering, “Why is my trust so long?”
Creating a comprehensive plan for your future involves numerous different and critical elements. Working with a lawyer to create an estate plan, with its various documents, provisions, and pages is complicated, even if you don’t have a lot of money.
Therefore, your trust documents may be lengthy. Here are a few considerations regarding the various legal documents that go into the preparation of your estate plan:
Your trust must accurately reflect your desires. One of the key reasons your trust document is so long is because it memorializes your wishes with careful precision. Suppose you are unable to make financial decisions regarding yourself or the money and property in your trust because of illness or death. In that case, the words crafted together in this powerful legal document will be your only opportunity to express your priorities for giving the money and property in the trust to the people you love and care about. Failure to consider the proper language and accurately articulate what you have communicated to your attorney can cause results that do not align with your values and wishes. Your trust also contains detailed instruction about how to appoint and remove trustees.
Your trust must be enforceable in court. Another reason your trust documents are so long is that they must be comprehensive enough to achieve one of the main objectives of a trust, avoiding the probate process. Your trust document ultimately communicates legal rights, obligations, and responsibilities without involving the court. As a result, your attorneys must make sure that they are covering a variety of legal situations that could arise in your future. Though these documents will not be used in probate, they will be used in a legal capacity to communicate to entities such as banks and other financial institutions, medical providers, title companies, and even the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies.
Your trust must address unanticipated and unpredicted needs. Your trust is a comprehensive document created to anticipate both foreseeable and unforeseeable events. Your attorney helps you to consider what you would want to see happen in multiple scenarios. The trust instructions walk you through potential life situations and may give specific instructions to your trustee about how to carry out your wishes for various scenarios.