Understanding & Signing Your Living Trust

Play Video Explaining Your Married Trust


Play Video Explaining Your Single Trust

The Pivotal Clauses Are All Located In The First Pages Of The Trust

The first document in your trust package is the living trust itself. Don’t be intimidated by the number of pages because like all comprehensive trusts, it is comprised of a great deal of standard language. While this standard language may be important and necessary to a well functioning trust, few will find it to be exciting or desirable reading. That is why we choose to first focus your attentions on the parts of the trust we believe are most relevant and personally important to you — and they can all be found in the first pages of your trust.

Pivotal Pages of the Married Living Trust

Page 1 – The Name & Date of The Trust
This page declares your trust and sets forth your names, the name and date of your trust, and how trust assets should be titled.

Page 2 – Successor Trustees & Family Information
This page sets forth your family information and your choice of successor trustee(s).

Page 3 – Distribution at First Spouse’s Death
This page sets forth the distribution of the trust estate at the first spouse’s death — generally outright to the surviving spouse.

Page 4 – Verifies The Husband’s Ultimate Wishes
This page verifies how the husband wants the estate divided after both spouses are deceased, which is generally equally among the children. It also specifies the minimum age a beneficiary must attain before being allowed to manage their own inheritance.

Page 5 – Verifies The Wife’s Ultimate Wishes
This page verifies how the wife wants the estate divided after both spouses are deceased, which also is generally equally among the children.  It too sets forth the minimum age a beneficiary must attain before being allowed to manage their own inheritance.

Page 6 – Gives Instructions For Specifying Personal Effects Distributions
Finally, many of you are interested in specifying distributions of certain personal effects — and you will find instructions for doing so at the top of Page 6.

Pivotal Pages of the Single Living Trust

Page 1 – The Name & Date of The Trust
This page declares your trust and sets forth your names, the name and date of your trust, and how trust assets should be titled.

Page 2 – Successor Trustees & Family Information
This page sets forth your family information and your choice of successor trustee(s).

Page 3 – Verifies The Distribution of The Estate
This page verifies how you want your estate divided, which is generally equally among the children. It also specifies the minimum age a beneficiary must attain before being allowed to manage their own inheritance.

Page 4 – Gives Instructions For Specifying Personal Effects Distributions
Finally, many of you are interested in specifying distributions of certain personal effects — and you will find instructions for doing so at the top of Page 4.

The Balance of The Living Trust Is Comprised of Boring But Necessary Supporting Language

The balance of the trust contains all the standard trust clauses, tax clauses, accounting clauses, potential sub-trusts, and other supporting language. They give the trust functionality, flexibility and adaptability — and though many may never apply to you, they need to be there just in case. Though we wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from this “exciting reading” be forewarned as to its standard, boring, and sleep-inducing nature. That said, trusts need this kind of language just as a car needs many parts and safety features — yet it is unlikely that many find the shop manual very interesting.

The Trust Signature Page Must Be Signed In Two Places

When you are ready, you should sign your living trust as soon as possible where indicated on the last page of your trust. Notice that you need to sign twice – once as the settlor of your trust and once as the trustee of your trust. If you are married you both need to sign twice.

Make Sure The Trust Is Notarized Correctly

When you have your living trust notarized, make sure that the notary stamps, completes and signs both notarial areas.