Should I go for online Will making software?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Bobby206
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Bobby206 »

Will Maker might work great and you might save money over hiring a professional. We'll find out after you die how good you did nd if you saved money or cost them a TON!? Good luck!
P.S. In California living trusts should be strongly considered.
palanzo
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by palanzo »

Bobby206 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:48 pm Will Maker might work great and you might save money over hiring a professional. We'll find out after you die how good you did nd if you saved money or cost them a TON!? Good luck!
P.S. In California living trusts should be strongly considered.
I guess we will find out how your attorney did after you die. Right?

There is no evidence that I have seen that Will Maker documents are not valid and recognized. After all 10s of thousands of documents are created by Will Maker. You would think we would have had many lawsuits if the documents were faulty. Have we have one lawsuit? And yet people will say things like good luck and we'll find out if you cost your relatives a TON after you die.

Very disrespectful.
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FIREchief
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by FIREchief »

palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:51 pm There is no evidence that I have seen that Will Maker documents are not valid and recognized. After all 10s of thousands of documents are created by Will Maker. You would think we would have had many lawsuits if the documents were faulty. Have we have one lawsuit? And yet people will say things like good luck and we'll find out if you cost your relatives a TON after you die.

Very disrespectful.
Yeah, I agree. The vast majority of people leave very modest estates. I don't know the exact number, but I'll guess it's typically less than $100K and in many cases far less than that. If the estates are simple (e.g. financial accounts and a personal residence), than I see little need for the "insurance" of paying an estate attorney to prepare estate planning documents; especially if the surviving family/heirs are reasonably functional.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
Dottie57
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Dottie57 »

A will is your after death document. You won’t be there to clarify. It is extremely important to have one - especially if you die early. Do it right. Find a good lawyer and get it done.

I found a lawyer indispensable - excellent questions were asked and made me think f hat I wanted to accomplish.
Bobby206
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Bobby206 »

palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:51 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:48 pm Will Maker might work great and you might save money over hiring a professional. We'll find out after you die how good you did nd if you saved money or cost them a TON!? Good luck!
P.S. In California living trusts should be strongly considered.
I guess we will find out how your attorney did after you die. Right?

There is no evidence that I have seen that Will Maker documents are not valid and recognized. After all 10s of thousands of documents are created by Will Maker. You would think we would have had many lawsuits if the documents were faulty. Have we have one lawsuit? And yet people will say things like good luck and we'll find out if you cost your relatives a TON after you die.

Very disrespectful.
Call it "disrespectful" if you want but I speak with some actual knowledge on the subject. There is nothing inherently wrong with Will Maker, Legal Zoom, Orman, etc... documents. There might be some technical points where a highly experienced estate attorney might argue those companies oversimplify or other technical issues that two people differ on. It's not the documents generally though. The problem is a lot of people do not follow their instructions for executing of wills and funding of trusts among other problems. I am giving you a factual statement from the real world. Not saying it applies to you but I am saying it happens A LOT. A lawyer can certainly make a mistake on the drafting but they usually execute the documents right and, at least the good ones, help fund the trust. Additionally, I can say that lawyer drafted wills, assuming a well respected one, is much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc... after death in my very significant experience. Again, I am giving you factual statements from about 30 years in the business.
palanzo
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by palanzo »

Bobby206 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:14 pm
palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:51 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:48 pm Will Maker might work great and you might save money over hiring a professional. We'll find out after you die how good you did nd if you saved money or cost them a TON!? Good luck!
P.S. In California living trusts should be strongly considered.
I guess we will find out how your attorney did after you die. Right?

There is no evidence that I have seen that Will Maker documents are not valid and recognized. After all 10s of thousands of documents are created by Will Maker. You would think we would have had many lawsuits if the documents were faulty. Have we have one lawsuit? And yet people will say things like good luck and we'll find out if you cost your relatives a TON after you die.

Very disrespectful.
Call it "disrespectful" if you want but I speak with some actual knowledge on the subject. There is nothing inherently wrong with Will Maker, Legal Zoom, Orman, etc... documents. There might be some technical points where a highly experienced estate attorney might argue those companies oversimplify or other technical issues that two people differ on. It's not the documents generally though. The problem is a lot of people do not follow their instructions for executing of wills and funding of trusts among other problems. I am giving you a factual statement from the real world. Not saying it applies to you but I am saying it happens A LOT. A lawyer can certainly make a mistake on the drafting but they usually execute the documents right and, at least the good ones, help fund the trust. Additionally, I can say that lawyer drafted wills, assuming a well respected one, is much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc... after death in my very significant experience. Again, I am giving you factual statements from about 30 years in the business.
My experience is that a well regarded estate attorney made several obvious mistakes in creating a trust and I had to pay for the legal time to correct the said mistakes. The trust was also written in convoluted language that made it very difficult for an educated person to understand. If I had not corrected the mistakes would the trust have been "much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc".

I do agree that people often do not follow up and fund their trusts.
Bobby206
Posts: 478
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Bobby206 »

palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:47 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:14 pm
palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:51 pm
Bobby206 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:48 pm Will Maker might work great and you might save money over hiring a professional. We'll find out after you die how good you did nd if you saved money or cost them a TON!? Good luck!
P.S. In California living trusts should be strongly considered.
I guess we will find out how your attorney did after you die. Right?

There is no evidence that I have seen that Will Maker documents are not valid and recognized. After all 10s of thousands of documents are created by Will Maker. You would think we would have had many lawsuits if the documents were faulty. Have we have one lawsuit? And yet people will say things like good luck and we'll find out if you cost your relatives a TON after you die.

Very disrespectful.
Call it "disrespectful" if you want but I speak with some actual knowledge on the subject. There is nothing inherently wrong with Will Maker, Legal Zoom, Orman, etc... documents. There might be some technical points where a highly experienced estate attorney might argue those companies oversimplify or other technical issues that two people differ on. It's not the documents generally though. The problem is a lot of people do not follow their instructions for executing of wills and funding of trusts among other problems. I am giving you a factual statement from the real world. Not saying it applies to you but I am saying it happens A LOT. A lawyer can certainly make a mistake on the drafting but they usually execute the documents right and, at least the good ones, help fund the trust. Additionally, I can say that lawyer drafted wills, assuming a well respected one, is much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc... after death in my very significant experience. Again, I am giving you factual statements from about 30 years in the business.
My experience is that a well regarded estate attorney made several obvious mistakes in creating a trust and I had to pay for the legal time to correct the said mistakes. The trust was also written in convoluted language that made it very difficult for an educated person to understand. If I had not corrected the mistakes would the trust have been "much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc".

I do agree that people often do not follow up and fund their trusts.
There is no doubt that even the best estate attorneys make mistakes. Yes, if there had been a mistake in your case it's often very easy to fix by a declaration, signed by the drafting attorney (yes they have to be alive), explaining it was a "scriveners error." Can't do that with a Will Maker will.
Topic Author
gurusw
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by gurusw »

Thanks Freetime for your input.
marcwd wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:38 pm I think the word is “re-instantiation.”
Thanks for correcting me.
phxjcc
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by phxjcc »

gurusw wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:23 am
phxjcc wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:17 am As to the OP's question...my response is:

The 90/10 rule applies here.
90% are going to be boiler plate, fill in the names of the decedants, heirs, properties, assets and who gets what and the estate is disposed of by whom.
Real world, that is all your lawyer's legal secretary is going to do, then print it out and put it into a pretty binder for you to feel that you got your $1550, $2000, $3000 or more worth. You get: the Trust, the Certification of Trust, the Will, the MPOA, the DPOA, the MEDICAL DIRECTIVE, the statements of assets in and out of the trust, copies of the recorded deeds, etc. very impressive package--but it's BOILERPLATE.

If it is a very simple straight line inheritance, e.g., widowed mother to her only natural child, who gets everything, then you can do the entire thing yourself. Easy-peasy.

If your names are HUTTON & POST, you need help.
Ditto, easy call. Hire a team of lawyers.

The nasty 10% is where lawyers can help.
Step Kids?
Ex's?
Business Partners?
Minor Children caretaker issues?
Crazy Aunt Blanche that needs an allowance to pay for her Assisted Living?
(But for DOG sakes don't give her a lump sum!)
Multi-use Real Property?
365 GT/B worth $500K that your Prius driving/ICE hating relatives don't "get"--that you want to leave to your best friend Kevin because he told you to buy it in 1980 for $15,000 and you and he spent a decade restoring, every nut and bolt yourselves. Yeah, that's going to be a problem! (Almost a true story)
Thanks phxjcc. So are you advocating Will making software for simple straight-forward cases?
Yes
phxjcc
Posts: 519
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by phxjcc »

palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:37 am
phxjcc wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:17 am
Big Dog wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 pm
gurusw wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:30 pm
I've yet to read one good reason why we should spend $2k on an attorney.
If you are holding the property title in joint ownership, then after the death of spouse, the house will be yours, but the cost basis for the property tax purposes will be as of the day of death of the spouse.

If the property title is held in the name of the trust, then after the death of spouse, the house will be yours, but the cost basis or the property tax purposes will be unchanged.

e.g. 400K house appreciates to 1 million when the spouse passes away.
In case 1, you start paying taxes on 1 million property.
In case 2, you continue paying taxes on 400K property.
Still not necessary. CA is a community property state. Hold the title in Community property and the title passes to spouse with no tax implications. Prop 13 basis is maintained, and bcos its community property, the cost basis (for capital gains) is stepped-up. Also works for transferring property to kids.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/ne ... 163822.php
I believe this is correct.

As to the OP's question...my response is:

The 90/10 rule applies here.
90% are going to be boiler plate, fill in the names of the decedants, heirs, properties, assets and who gets what and the estate is disposed of by whom.
Real world, that is all your lawyer's legal secretary is going to do, then print it out and put it into a pretty binder for you to feel that you got your $1550, $2000, $3000 or more worth. You get: the Trust, the Certification of Trust, the Will, the MPOA, the DPOA, the MEDICAL DIRECTIVE, the statements of assets in and out of the trust, copies of the recorded deeds, etc. very impressive package--but it's BOILERPLATE.

If it is a very simple straight line inheritance, e.g., widowed mother to her only natural child, who gets everything, then you can do the entire thing yourself. Easy-peasy.

If your names are HUTTON & POST, you need help.
Ditto, easy call. Hire a team of lawyers.

The nasty 10% is where lawyers can help.
Step Kids?
Ex's?
Business Partners?
Minor Children caretaker issues?
Crazy Aunt Blanche that needs an allowance to pay for her Assisted Living?
(But for DOG sakes don't give her a lump sum!)
Multi-use Real Property?
365 GT/B worth $500K that your Prius driving/ICE hating relatives don't "get"--that you want to leave to your best friend Kevin because he told you to buy it in 1980 for $15,000 and you and he spent a decade restoring, every nut and bolt yourselves. Yeah, that's going to be a problem! (Almost a true story)
I agree with your points. One question: where does an ex come into a will? You list Ex under where lawyers can help.
If there are any still existing Terms and conditions of a QDRO still to be satisfied.
palanzo
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by palanzo »

phxjcc wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:20 am
palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:37 am
phxjcc wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 12:17 am
Big Dog wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 pm
gurusw wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:30 pm

If you are holding the property title in joint ownership, then after the death of spouse, the house will be yours, but the cost basis for the property tax purposes will be as of the day of death of the spouse.

If the property title is held in the name of the trust, then after the death of spouse, the house will be yours, but the cost basis or the property tax purposes will be unchanged.

e.g. 400K house appreciates to 1 million when the spouse passes away.
In case 1, you start paying taxes on 1 million property.
In case 2, you continue paying taxes on 400K property.
Still not necessary. CA is a community property state. Hold the title in Community property and the title passes to spouse with no tax implications. Prop 13 basis is maintained, and bcos its community property, the cost basis (for capital gains) is stepped-up. Also works for transferring property to kids.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/ne ... 163822.php
I believe this is correct.

As to the OP's question...my response is:

The 90/10 rule applies here.
90% are going to be boiler plate, fill in the names of the decedants, heirs, properties, assets and who gets what and the estate is disposed of by whom.
Real world, that is all your lawyer's legal secretary is going to do, then print it out and put it into a pretty binder for you to feel that you got your $1550, $2000, $3000 or more worth. You get: the Trust, the Certification of Trust, the Will, the MPOA, the DPOA, the MEDICAL DIRECTIVE, the statements of assets in and out of the trust, copies of the recorded deeds, etc. very impressive package--but it's BOILERPLATE.

If it is a very simple straight line inheritance, e.g., widowed mother to her only natural child, who gets everything, then you can do the entire thing yourself. Easy-peasy.

If your names are HUTTON & POST, you need help.
Ditto, easy call. Hire a team of lawyers.

The nasty 10% is where lawyers can help.
Step Kids?
Ex's?
Business Partners?
Minor Children caretaker issues?
Crazy Aunt Blanche that needs an allowance to pay for her Assisted Living?
(But for DOG sakes don't give her a lump sum!)
Multi-use Real Property?
365 GT/B worth $500K that your Prius driving/ICE hating relatives don't "get"--that you want to leave to your best friend Kevin because he told you to buy it in 1980 for $15,000 and you and he spent a decade restoring, every nut and bolt yourselves. Yeah, that's going to be a problem! (Almost a true story)
I agree with your points. One question: where does an ex come into a will? You list Ex under where lawyers can help.
If there are any still existing Terms and conditions of a QDRO still to be satisfied.
Thank you.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:47 pm
My experience is that a well regarded estate attorney made several obvious mistakes in creating a trust and I had to pay for the legal time to correct the said mistakes. The trust was also written in convoluted language that made it very difficult for an educated person to understand. If I had not corrected the mistakes would the trust have been "much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc".

I do agree that people often do not follow up and fund their trusts.
Well, you can't use online legal doc generators to make a trust yet so.... I think your example is not relevant to whether or not it's worth it to pay an attorney to draft a simple will or not.

But to your point about mistakes, any human can make a mistake, but a lawyer is less likely to make one when drafting a will than someone using online software. I mean, they did spend 3 years in law school, pass the bar, pass the ethics exam, pass character & fitness, and usually spent a few years learning the trade under a more experienced attorney.

But sure, to the thread's point, you can save some dollars by doing it yourself. If one has a simple estate plan and no questions whatsoever, I can't see of a reason to pay more than what LegalZoom charges, but you may be able to find an attorney willing to draft a will for the same price.
palanzo
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by palanzo »

Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:47 pm
palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:47 pm
My experience is that a well regarded estate attorney made several obvious mistakes in creating a trust and I had to pay for the legal time to correct the said mistakes. The trust was also written in convoluted language that made it very difficult for an educated person to understand. If I had not corrected the mistakes would the trust have been "much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc".

I do agree that people often do not follow up and fund their trusts.
Well, you can't use online legal doc generators to make a trust yet so.... I think your example is not relevant to whether or not it's worth it to pay an attorney to draft a simple will or not.

But to your point about mistakes, any human can make a mistake, but a lawyer is less likely to make one when drafting a will than someone using online software. I mean, they did spend 3 years in law school, pass the bar, pass the ethics exam, pass character & fitness, and usually spent a few years learning the trade under a more experienced attorney.

But sure, to the thread's point, you can save some dollars by doing it yourself. If one has a simple estate plan and no questions whatsoever, I can't see of a reason to pay more than what LegalZoom charges, but you may be able to find an attorney willing to draft a will for the same price.
Of course you can. Will Maker generates a trust either online or the application. So my example is quite relevant.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

palanzo wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 3:25 pm
Of course you can. Will Maker generates a trust either online or the application. So my example is quite relevant.
News to me. Fair enough.
Lee_WSP
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Location: Arizona

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:47 pm My experience is that a well regarded estate attorney made several obvious mistakes in creating a trust and I had to pay for the legal time to correct the said mistakes. The trust was also written in convoluted language that made it very difficult for an educated person to understand. If I had not corrected the mistakes would the trust have been "much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc".
When you say obvious, you mean that the drafter did not accurately convey your wishes? And when you say that you had to pay to have it corrected, does that mean you did not catch the mistakes when reviewing the document? And then when you say convoluted language, I'm assuming this did not aid you in the comprehension of how the trust worked and thus you were not able to catch the mistake when you reviewed the document?

I'm trying to figure out how software would prevent the same issue from occurring. A miscommunication or misunderstanding can still happen with software.
palanzo
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by palanzo »

Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 6:53 pm
palanzo wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:47 pm My experience is that a well regarded estate attorney made several obvious mistakes in creating a trust and I had to pay for the legal time to correct the said mistakes. The trust was also written in convoluted language that made it very difficult for an educated person to understand. If I had not corrected the mistakes would the trust have been "much less likely to be attacked for fraud, lack of capacity, mistake, etc".
When you say obvious, you mean that the drafter did not accurately convey your wishes? And when you say that you had to pay to have it corrected, does that mean you did not catch the mistakes when reviewing the document? And then when you say convoluted language, I'm assuming this did not aid you in the comprehension of how the trust worked and thus you were not able to catch the mistake when you reviewed the document?

I'm trying to figure out how software would prevent the same issue from occurring. A miscommunication or misunderstanding can still happen with software.
I did catch the mistakes in reviewing the document. The attorney charged to discuss the issues and then further charged to fix her mistakes. With Will Maker, for example, it is straightforward to express your intentions.
Lee_WSP
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Location: Arizona

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

palanzo wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:38 pm The attorney charged to discuss the issues and then further charged to fix her mistakes. With Will Maker, for example, it is straightforward to express your intentions.
Hmm, well I don't agree with her actions to charge you to fix her mistake.

Have you tried the software? If so, how does it compare in your mind?
palanzo
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by palanzo »

Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:36 pm
palanzo wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 8:38 pm The attorney charged to discuss the issues and then further charged to fix her mistakes. With Will Maker, for example, it is straightforward to express your intentions.
Hmm, well I don't agree with her actions to charge you to fix her mistake.

Have you tried the software? If so, how does it compare in your mind?
Oh yes. I have used Will Maker extensively. I think it is excellent. Comprehensive.

I agree with Big Dog's posts above.
Topic Author
gurusw
Posts: 198
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by gurusw »

Nearly A Moose wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:44 pm
gurusw wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:41 pm Hi,

After some procrastination and after some research, I thought I finally found a good lawyer. He is someone my colleague has used, and the lawyer answered all questions in the initial call.

When I emailed them asking the next steps, the secretary replied "the next step is to pay our fees. you can pay by check or credit card".
I am taken a little aback by the response. Should they not put some kind of agreement/paperwork in place & send me an invoice?

What are the typical steps when a lawyer helps you with estate planning?
You should have a written engagement letter with the attorney. It should spell out, among other things, the scope of the representation and the fee structure. Perhaps the secretary assumed you had done that already? Regardless, it shouldn't be hard to ask for the engagement letter. If anything, that tells the attorney you're actually going to retain him or her after the initial, presumably free, consultation.
Hi, so I sent email to attorney asking if there will be an engagement letter. The secretary called me, and told me that there won't be any.

I didn't know what to say. I asked a few other questions, and that was it. Maybe I should have asked why there is no engagement letter!

Not only they do not have engagement letter, but also they won't leave an email trail saying there is no engagement letter. What the hell :)
Lee_WSP
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Location: Arizona

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

gurusw wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:37 pm
Nearly A Moose wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:44 pm
gurusw wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:41 pm Hi,

After some procrastination and after some research, I thought I finally found a good lawyer. He is someone my colleague has used, and the lawyer answered all questions in the initial call.

When I emailed them asking the next steps, the secretary replied "the next step is to pay our fees. you can pay by check or credit card".
I am taken a little aback by the response. Should they not put some kind of agreement/paperwork in place & send me an invoice?

What are the typical steps when a lawyer helps you with estate planning?
You should have a written engagement letter with the attorney. It should spell out, among other things, the scope of the representation and the fee structure. Perhaps the secretary assumed you had done that already? Regardless, it shouldn't be hard to ask for the engagement letter. If anything, that tells the attorney you're actually going to retain him or her after the initial, presumably free, consultation.
Hi, so I sent email to attorney asking if there will be an engagement letter. The secretary called me, and told me that there won't be any.

I didn't know what to say. I asked a few other questions, and that was it. Maybe I should have asked why there is no engagement letter!

Not only they do not have engagement letter, but also they won't leave an email trail saying there is no engagement letter. What the hell :)
It's required under the model rules which are adopted by most states. I think she's confused as to what you asked for.
Nearly A Moose
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Nearly A Moose »

Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:42 pm
gurusw wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:37 pm
Nearly A Moose wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 9:44 pm
gurusw wrote: Tue Sep 22, 2020 10:41 pm Hi,

After some procrastination and after some research, I thought I finally found a good lawyer. He is someone my colleague has used, and the lawyer answered all questions in the initial call.

When I emailed them asking the next steps, the secretary replied "the next step is to pay our fees. you can pay by check or credit card".
I am taken a little aback by the response. Should they not put some kind of agreement/paperwork in place & send me an invoice?

What are the typical steps when a lawyer helps you with estate planning?
You should have a written engagement letter with the attorney. It should spell out, among other things, the scope of the representation and the fee structure. Perhaps the secretary assumed you had done that already? Regardless, it shouldn't be hard to ask for the engagement letter. If anything, that tells the attorney you're actually going to retain him or her after the initial, presumably free, consultation.
Hi, so I sent email to attorney asking if there will be an engagement letter. The secretary called me, and told me that there won't be any.

I didn't know what to say. I asked a few other questions, and that was it. Maybe I should have asked why there is no engagement letter!

Not only they do not have engagement letter, but also they won't leave an email trail saying there is no engagement letter. What the hell :)
It's required under the model rules which are adopted by most states. I think she's confused as to what you asked for.
I'm basically a corporate lawyer, so I work in a very different business model, but I would be hard pressed to take on a representation without an engagement letter. It's for the lawyer's protection in my ways. But there also doesn't necessarily need to be an engagement letter for an attorney-client relationship to exist. It sounds like you primarily want to know (1) the scope of the engagement and services provided, and (2) the cost and fee structure. Get those in writing regardless.
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.
Lee_WSP
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

Nearly A Moose wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:24 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:42 pm It's required under the model rules which are adopted by most states. I think she's confused as to what you asked for.
I'm basically a corporate lawyer, so I work in a very different business model, but I would be hard pressed to take on a representation without an engagement letter. It's for the lawyer's protection in my ways. But there also doesn't necessarily need to be an engagement letter for an attorney-client relationship to exist. It sounds like you primarily want to know (1) the scope of the engagement and services provided, and (2) the cost and fee structure. Get those in writing regardless.
Slight oopsie on my part. It's required under my state's rules, but preferred under the model rules.
JD2775
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by JD2775 »

Jumping on this thread rather than starting a new one....

Live in CA
Single
Renter, don't own any property
All investment accounts have beneficiaries listed
Only thing of real value I even have is my car

Any suggestions for someone in my shoes? Do I really need a will? I guess there is the health care directive stuff....
Lee_WSP
Posts: 3195
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

JD2775 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:39 pm Jumping on this thread rather than starting a new one....

Live in CA
Single
Renter, don't own any property
All investment accounts have beneficiaries listed
Only thing of real value I even have is my car

Any suggestions for someone in my shoes? Do I really need a will? I guess there is the health care directive stuff....
LegalZoom or a Will writing event (if they have those) should be sufficient. You will have an estate when you die, it's just a matter of how much is in there and if they need to claw back any POD accounts to pay off any debts.
JD2775
Posts: 608
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:47 pm

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by JD2775 »

Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:44 pm
JD2775 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:39 pm Jumping on this thread rather than starting a new one....

Live in CA
Single
Renter, don't own any property
All investment accounts have beneficiaries listed
Only thing of real value I even have is my car

Any suggestions for someone in my shoes? Do I really need a will? I guess there is the health care directive stuff....
LegalZoom or a Will writing event (if they have those) should be sufficient. You will have an estate when you die, it's just a matter of how much is in there and if they need to claw back any POD accounts to pay off any debts.

Thank you Lee
stan1
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by stan1 »

JD2775 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:39 pm Jumping on this thread rather than starting a new one....

Live in CA
Single
Renter, don't own any property
All investment accounts have beneficiaries listed
Only thing of real value I even have is my car

Any suggestions for someone in my shoes? Do I really need a will? I guess there is the health care directive stuff....
California does have small estate probate which might apply in your case but I'd still go ahead and do Legal Zoom or WIll Maker as it will make things a little easier on your heirs.
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gr7070
Posts: 1451
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:39 am

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by gr7070 »

JD2775 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:39 pm Jumping on this thread rather than starting a new one....

Live in CA
Single
Renter, don't own any property
All investment accounts have beneficiaries listed
Only thing of real value I even have is my car

Any suggestions for someone in my shoes? Do I really need a will? I guess there is the health care directive stuff....
Your talking a living will for the latter. It's worth having.

You don't need a will in your situation. However, it's a good idea to have one, and well worth the cost of what Willmaker runs.

Willmaker is incredibly easy and reasonably quick. I'd recommend it even in your situation.
JD2775
Posts: 608
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:47 pm

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by JD2775 »

Thanks for the feedback guys
User avatar
FIREchief
Posts: 5304
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by FIREchief »

gr7070 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:13 pm
JD2775 wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:39 pm Jumping on this thread rather than starting a new one....

Live in CA
Single
Renter, don't own any property
All investment accounts have beneficiaries listed
Only thing of real value I even have is my car

Any suggestions for someone in my shoes? Do I really need a will? I guess there is the health care directive stuff....
Your talking a living will for the latter. It's worth having.
Add a medical POA to that as well.
You don't need a will in your situation. However, it's a good idea to have one, and well worth the cost of what Willmaker runs.

Willmaker is incredibly easy and reasonably quick. I'd recommend it even in your situation.
+1. I would recommend Willmaker for anybody with a boilerplate situation who doesn't need a real attorney.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
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gurusw
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by gurusw »

Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:31 pm
Nearly A Moose wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:24 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:42 pm It's required under the model rules which are adopted by most states. I think she's confused as to what you asked for.
I'm basically a corporate lawyer, so I work in a very different business model, but I would be hard pressed to take on a representation without an engagement letter. It's for the lawyer's protection in my ways. But there also doesn't necessarily need to be an engagement letter for an attorney-client relationship to exist. It sounds like you primarily want to know (1) the scope of the engagement and services provided, and (2) the cost and fee structure. Get those in writing regardless.
Slight oopsie on my part. It's required under my state's rules, but preferred under the model rules.
Thanks for your inputs. When the specialists (lawyers, car dealers) are presented with a question, and they skirt it even though they understand the actual reasoning, it does not instill confidence in the clients/customers.
I do not know if it's really worth giving another call & ask for scope of engagement & costs in writing. But I guess now I have to decide whether to do that, or get a quote from another lawyer!
Lee_WSP
Posts: 3195
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:15 pm
Location: Arizona

Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by Lee_WSP »

gurusw wrote: Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:44 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:31 pm
Nearly A Moose wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:24 pm
Lee_WSP wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:42 pm It's required under the model rules which are adopted by most states. I think she's confused as to what you asked for.
I'm basically a corporate lawyer, so I work in a very different business model, but I would be hard pressed to take on a representation without an engagement letter. It's for the lawyer's protection in my ways. But there also doesn't necessarily need to be an engagement letter for an attorney-client relationship to exist. It sounds like you primarily want to know (1) the scope of the engagement and services provided, and (2) the cost and fee structure. Get those in writing regardless.
Slight oopsie on my part. It's required under my state's rules, but preferred under the model rules.
Thanks for your inputs. When the specialists (lawyers, car dealers) are presented with a question, and they skirt it even though they understand the actual reasoning, it does not instill confidence in the clients/customers.
I do not know if it's really worth giving another call & ask for scope of engagement & costs in writing. But I guess now I have to decide whether to do that, or get a quote from another lawyer!
They're not mutually exclusive tasks, you can and should do both. The secretary may not have a clue, or they may not do engagement letters, I don't know
PinotGris
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Re: Should I go for online Will making software?

Post by PinotGris »

gurusw wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 2:02 am Maybe this has been discussed before. But given we are in pandemic, I wanted to ask once again... Should I go for online Will making software?

I already have a living will made in MA 10 years back. Then I was married, my son was 3 years old, and I did not own a house. This was done with the help of the lawyer.
Now I am in CA, married (to same spouse), own a house, and son is 13.
So I've something in place, but the needs have changed.

I think CA does not require the Will to be notarized. But it needs to be signed by 2 witnesses.
So my current thought was to get the Will prepared online, and get is signed by by neighbors.

What are your thoughts?
Any recommendations for the online software?
We made our own will 6 years ago and I shared our experience here.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=153324&hilit=wills
I did a bit of reading about all aspects estate planning for to get educated. We have 2 adult children, no previous marriages, no other real estate other than the house we live in. We did not see a need for a trust. All our investments are with Vanguard except for one. Both are TOD. The house has to go through probate per MA law.
We thought we need to revisit it since our son got married last year. But did not see a reason to do but will consider if they have a child.
More than saving the legal cost, I feel going through it made us more confident in what we were doing.
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