Can I form my family trust myself?
In theory, yes you could, but in practice that would be a very silly thing to do.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is that about 15, maybe 20 years ago, I studied trusts very carefully and wrote a trust deed template for use with all future clients. That template has served me well, but because trust case law keeps changing, the requirements of the Master of the High Court keep changing and because I keep thinking of subtle but important little tweaks, I am constantly changing the template. Now if I, recognised as one of the country’s top trust experts, feel a need to constantly review my template, what chance have you got of doing a good job on your first one?
Of course, you could do the equivalent of what some attorneys do. You could borrow a friend’s trust deed and make it your own. Two problems with that. You don’t know how good that trust deed is and you don’t understand sufficient of the subtleties to know whether there are changes that should apply to you but not to him.
Then, of course, you would still have the problem of completion and submission of all the documents required by the Master.
Trust deeds are very special documents and are designed to survive attacks by your creditors and SARS, so getting them right is far more important than getting them cheap.