Living Trust or Will or both?

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acegolfer
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Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by acegolfer »

age 50, married with 2 teen aged kids. We own 1 primary residence outright and all the rest are financial assets.

We each wrote a will and have siblings signed it (didn't use a lawyer, tho). I read about living trust, which could cost about $2k. Was wondering whether it's needed/worth it in our case. Let me know if you need more information.

edit: everybody replied that I should hire a estate lawyer for the will. How much does it cost for 2 parents?
Last edited by acegolfer on Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by JoeRetire »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:10 am age 50, married with 2 teen aged kids. We own 1 primary residence outright and all the rest are financial assets.

We each wrote a will and have siblings signed it (didn't use a lawyer, tho). I read about living trust, which could cost about $2k. Was wondering whether it's needed/worth it in our case. Let me know if you need more information.
IMHO, everyone needs a real will written by a lawyer.
Not everyone needs a living trust. You may not.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by galawdawg »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:10 am age 50, married with 2 teen aged kids. We own 1 primary residence outright and all the rest are financial assets.

We each wrote a will and have siblings signed it (didn't use a lawyer, tho). I read about living trust, which could cost about $2k. Was wondering whether it's needed/worth it in our case. Let me know if you need more information.
May I recommend that you consult with an experienced and recommended estate planning attorney? While a DIY will may be sufficient for those who have few assets and who have no spouse or children (adult or minors), others are wise to consult with a qualified attorney on these matters. It is a good investment in your family's future in the event of a premature demise.

By the way, if your siblings witnessed your current DIY wills, I certainly hope that they are not also named as beneficiaries or have any other financial interest in your estate...
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

Owning a property outright is an indication that at age 50 you should look further into a living trust.

Our home is included in our living trust.
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acegolfer
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by acegolfer »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:45 am By the way, if your siblings witnessed your current DIY wills, I certainly hope that they are not also named as beneficiaries or have any other financial interest in your estate...
Only spouse, kids are beneficiary. But my sister will be the guardian of my kids until age 18 (if both parents die). Does it matter?
NYCaviator
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by NYCaviator »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:18 am
galawdawg wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:45 am By the way, if your siblings witnessed your current DIY wills, I certainly hope that they are not also named as beneficiaries or have any other financial interest in your estate...
Only spouse, kids are beneficiary. But my sister will be the guardian of my kids until age 18 (if both parents die). Does it matter?
Pay to have a lawyer do it. Period. Estate planning is one thing you don't want to be cheap with. One small mistake could lead to lots and lots of problems.
HomeStretch
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by HomeStretch »

Are you considering a joint revocable living trust? Are you in a community property state?

Does your DIY will include a testamentary trust(s) for your minor children’s inheritance?

+1 to consulting with a trust and estate attorney in your state.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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acegolfer
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by acegolfer »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:21 am
Pay to have a lawyer do it. Period. Estate planning is one thing you don't want to be cheap with. One small mistake could lead to lots and lots of problems.
FYI, I didn't write the will from scratch. Googled a template and filled out the information. Read top to bottom and it looks solid.
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acegolfer
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by acegolfer »

HomeStretch wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:23 am Are you considering a joint revocable living trust? Are you in a community property state?
Don't know what each means. I live in FL. Should we get join recoverable living trust? what are the pros/cons?
HomeStretch
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by HomeStretch »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:25 am
HomeStretch wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:23 am Are you considering a joint revocable living trust? Are you in a community property state?
Don't know what each means. I live in FL. Should we get join recoverable living trust? what are the pros/cons?
An internet search says FL is not a community property state. An estate attorney may not recommend you use a joint RLT in a non-community property state. You can search the forum for a recent thread about this topic with responses from bsteiner and Lee_WSP. The alternative is separate RLTs for you and spouse. If you have jointly held assets with right of survivorship (such as house, bank/brokerage accounts), in order to title them in the name of your RLTs, you likely need to change the asset titles/account registrations and possibly transfer joint bank/brokerage accounts into individual accounts.

How do your DIY Wills handle assets to be inherited by your children as minors cannot inherit outright?

Do you have POD or TOD beneficiary designations on any assets that need to be considered as part of your planning?

Do you and spouse each have POAs for financial matters and healthcare reps/advance directives? Your state may have statutory forms online that you can use if you don’t have an attorney handle these.

Just some things to consider and discuss with a trust and estate attorney.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
NYCaviator
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by NYCaviator »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:24 am
NYCaviator wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:21 am
Pay to have a lawyer do it. Period. Estate planning is one thing you don't want to be cheap with. One small mistake could lead to lots and lots of problems.
FYI, I didn't write the will from scratch. Googled a template and filled out the information. Read top to bottom and it looks solid.
Unless you are a lawyer, how do you know what a "solid" will looks like? A friend that does estate litigation once told me that the bulk of his work comes from dealing with estates where people tried to go the DIY route and completely messed it up.

At the end of the day, it's your choice, but I'd rather pay $2,500 to have a real lawyer draft up a will based on my specific circumstances than put my faith in a template I found on google or a group of random strangers on the internet. There's just too much at stake and too much room for error.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by CAsage »

How difficult is probate in your state? You definitely need a will to formalize guardianship for your children. You may (or may not) need a trust, generally necessary if probate is long or expensive in your state. At a relatively young age, you are likely to not need it soon, and likely to revise it so you could hold off on the Trust. In California probate is Dante's Hell, I speak from experience. If you can clearly explain your needs on an index card, don't have any tricky need to protect money from spendthrifts or whatnot, a simple will is probably fine. My Will was done with software, but the "real" money is either in a Trust (CA, hell hath no pain like probate) or TOD or beneficiary. Another valid reason for leaving some money to probate is to ensure your last bills are paid - again, less important with responsible heirs. I know someone who had a 37 page trust which was the biggest nuclear FUBAR that you've ever seen, and it was prepared by a lawyer. As was his will, which no one could find. Good clear planning is far more important than whose pen you use. If you want to learn about your options, get a Nolo Press book on estate planning, then decide.
Edit to add: In some states, estate taxes may make a trust to protect heirs from future taxes or future ex-gold-digging spouses. YMMV.

https://www.amazon.com/Estate-Planning- ... oks&sr=1-1
Last edited by CAsage on Wed Sep 21, 2022 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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acegolfer
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by acegolfer »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:37 am Unless you are a lawyer, how do you know what a "solid" will looks like? A friend that does estate litigation once told me that the bulk of his work comes from dealing with estates where people tried to go the DIY route and completely messed it up.

At the end of the day, it's your choice, but I'd rather pay $2,500 to have a real lawyer draft up a will based on my specific circumstances than put my faith in a template I found on google or a group of random strangers on the internet. There's just too much at stake and too much room for error.
TY. We are now considering a lawyer and rewrite the will. $2,500 is a lot of money. Is that for each or 2?
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:45 am
NYCaviator wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:37 am Unless you are a lawyer, how do you know what a "solid" will looks like? A friend that does estate litigation once told me that the bulk of his work comes from dealing with estates where people tried to go the DIY route and completely messed it up.

At the end of the day, it's your choice, but I'd rather pay $2,500 to have a real lawyer draft up a will based on my specific circumstances than put my faith in a template I found on google or a group of random strangers on the internet. There's just too much at stake and too much room for error.
TY. We are now considering a lawyer and rewrite the will. $2,500 is a lot of money. Is that for each or 2?
Last year we had a living trust and wills done by the top estate planning attorney in your area (not Florida) and the cost was @ $4,500.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by NYCaviator »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:45 am
NYCaviator wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:37 am Unless you are a lawyer, how do you know what a "solid" will looks like? A friend that does estate litigation once told me that the bulk of his work comes from dealing with estates where people tried to go the DIY route and completely messed it up.

At the end of the day, it's your choice, but I'd rather pay $2,500 to have a real lawyer draft up a will based on my specific circumstances than put my faith in a template I found on google or a group of random strangers on the internet. There's just too much at stake and too much room for error.
TY. We are now considering a lawyer and rewrite the will. $2,500 is a lot of money. Is that for each or 2?
That was what we were quoted for both from a reputable estate planning firm in NYC. I'd wager that it would be cheaper in many other areas. Definitely look for a firm that does estate planning, and not a one-person shop that does every area of law imaginable. If you are in living trust territory, it'll be more. When we did our estate planning, a lot of what you want can be accomplished through joint ownership of accounts, or payable on death designations, etc. But that's something you want to talk through with the lawyer so you make sure everything is going where you want it.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by bsteiner »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:10 am age 50, married with 2 teen aged kids. We own 1 primary residence outright and all the rest are financial assets.

We each wrote a will and have siblings signed it (didn't use a lawyer, tho). I read about living trust, which could cost about $2k. Was wondering whether it's needed/worth it in our case. Let me know if you need more information.

edit: everybody replied that I should hire a estate lawyer for the will. How much does it cost for 2 parents?
CAsage wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:44 am How difficult is probate in your state? You definitely need a will to formalize guardianship for your children. You may (or may not) need a trust, generally necessary if probate is long or expensive in your state. At a relatively young age, you are likely to not need it soon, and likely to revise it so you could hold off on the Trust. In California probate is Dante's Hell, I speak from experience. ...
We probate Wills throughout Florida on a regular basis. Probating a Will and dealing with the courts is generally not particularly difficult in Florida.

However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
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acegolfer
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by acegolfer »

bsteiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:29 pm However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
TY. a related question. after drafting a will, suppose after 5 years, I need to update the executor because he moved out of state. I suppose I need to pay fee every time to update the will. how much is the fee to update the will, approx? Is it again another $2k?
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by breakaway »

I used https://www.legalplans.com (by MetLife) to get my will and POA and healthcare proxy sorted out. It costs $240/year. You print out the paperwork and take to a notary public to get signed, my bank did that for me, incl the witnesses.
They also have a list of attorneys that are in plan and you can go to one of those if you prefer, all included in the cost.
If you are still working and have Metlife as a benefit, this service may be included as part of that.
Last edited by breakaway on Fri Sep 23, 2022 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by jebmke »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:18 am
acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:10 am age 50, married with 2 teen aged kids. We own 1 primary residence outright and all the rest are financial assets.

We each wrote a will and have siblings signed it (didn't use a lawyer, tho). I read about living trust, which could cost about $2k. Was wondering whether it's needed/worth it in our case. Let me know if you need more information.
IMHO, everyone needs a real will written by a lawyer.
Not everyone needs a living trust. You may not.
I agree. A competent estate attorney will recommend what is right for the client give them the situation AND the state laws/processes.

You don’t get a do over if you get this wrong. Not something I would ever DIY.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by Lee_WSP »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:33 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:29 pm However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
TY. a related question. after drafting a will, suppose after 5 years, I need to update the executor because he moved out of state. I suppose I need to pay fee every time to update the will. how much is the fee to update the will, approx? Is it again another $2k?
A codicil only takes an hour to an hour and a half of time to draft and execute (most of the time being the meetings, gathering people, and executing it). So, it's only a fraction of the cost.

You should be naming backup executors so that this isn't an issue if your first line choice isn't in Florida.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by tibbitts »

breakaway wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 3:28 pm I used https://www.legalplans.com (by MetLife) to get my will and POA and healthcare proxy sorted out. It costs $240/year. You print out the paperwork and take to a notary public to get signed, my bank did that for me, incl the witnesses.
They also have a list of attorneys that are in plan and you can go to one of those if you prefer, all included in the cost.
If you are still working and have Metlife as a benefit, this service may be included as part of that.
Recently some banks have declined to provide witnesses any longer, which has been a problem for me, vs. in prior years when they did provide witnesses.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by JoeRetire »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:33 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:29 pm However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
TY. a related question. after drafting a will, suppose after 5 years, I need to update the executor because he moved out of state. I suppose I need to pay fee every time to update the will. how much is the fee to update the will, approx? Is it again another $2k?
If you paid $2k to have the will drawn, then updating the name of the executor should cost much less.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by scooter »

We have
1 will
2 revocable trust
3 power of attorney
4 health care proxy

All done by a professional that deals only in those type items
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FreddieFIRE
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by FreddieFIRE »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 6:45 am While a DIY will may be sufficient for those who have few assets and who have no spouse or children (adult or minors), others are wise to consult with a qualified attorney on these matters. It is a good investment in your family's future in the event of a premature demise.
Thank you. While I certainly agree that some folks should pay a lawyer for a will, many others really don't need to (especially those without minor children and with very simple assets with many/most/all transferring via POD/TOD beneficiary designations). I've never taken the DIY route, but I have been close to others who have and I saw no risk in what they put in place. It just takes somebody who can follow instructions.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by bsteiner »

JoeRetire wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:09 am
acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:33 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:29 pm However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
TY. a related question. after drafting a will, suppose after 5 years, I need to update the executor because he moved out of state. I suppose I need to pay fee every time to update the will. how much is the fee to update the will, approx? Is it again another $2k?
If you paid $2k to have the will drawn, then updating the name of the executor should cost much less.
A lawyer updating a Will prepared by another firm might be concerned that he/she might be responsible for the entire contents.

If a couple got Wills for $2,000 it would probably be less work to do entire new ones than to go through the existing ones to see what should be updated and then update those provisions.

I had to do that. An important client asked me to look at a Will that his significant other (a lawyer but not a trusts and estates lawyer) prepared for one of her clients. I looked at it and gave her my comments. But it took much more time than it would have taken to draft it.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by mnsportsgeek »

I can't think of any situation where a parent shouldn't have a trust. Most wills without trusts still have to go through probate which is not ideal when you have teenage children that will likely not want to wait for all your money to go through probate before they can access it.

There are cheaper ways to get by without a trust. There aren't better ways. Pay for a professional to set you up with a revocable living trust, will, healthcare power of attorney, and financial power of attorney. Then sleep peacefully knowing you did everything you could to take care of your children if tragedy occurs.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by tibbitts »

mnsportsgeek wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:24 pm I can't think of any situation where a parent shouldn't have a trust. Most wills without trusts still have to go through probate which is not ideal when you have teenage children that will likely not want to wait for all your money to go through probate before they can access it.
Teenage children might not want to wait, but if you have a trust the odds it will have it's own provisions for keeping their paws off the money for much longer than probate would involve. I think for me, with what my mom had set up I would have had to have been about age 40.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by quantAndHold »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:25 am
HomeStretch wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:23 am Are you considering a joint revocable living trust? Are you in a community property state?
Don't know what each means. I live in FL. Should we get join recoverable living trust? what are the pros/cons?
The fact that you don’t know the answers to those questions is an indication that you probably shouldn’t try to DIY this. The prices people are quoting are for the whole package of everything you need for your family.
acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:33 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:29 pm However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
TY. a related question. after drafting a will, suppose after 5 years, I need to update the executor because he moved out of state. I suppose I need to pay fee every time to update the will. how much is the fee to update the will, approx? Is it again another $2k?
We end up having to make updates to our trust about once a decade. The cost of an update will be based on how much you want to update. A simple update like that will be quite a bit cheaper. When we did pretty much a complete rewrite in 2020, it cost about 3/4 what it would have cost to start from scratch.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by JoeRetire »

bsteiner wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:22 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:09 am
acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:33 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:29 pm However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
TY. a related question. after drafting a will, suppose after 5 years, I need to update the executor because he moved out of state. I suppose I need to pay fee every time to update the will. how much is the fee to update the will, approx? Is it again another $2k?
If you paid $2k to have the will drawn, then updating the name of the executor should cost much less.
A lawyer updating a Will prepared by another firm might be concerned that he/she might be responsible for the entire contents.
What does "responsible for the entire contents" mean?
I had to do that. An important client asked me to look at a Will that his significant other (a lawyer but not a trusts and estates lawyer) prepared for one of her clients. I looked at it and gave her my comments. But it took much more time than it would have taken to draft it.
I can imagine a vague request such as "look at it and give me your comments" could take some time.

But if the request was simply a concrete "please change this name to that name", I can't imagine it would take much.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by tibbitts »

JoeRetire wrote: Fri Sep 23, 2022 6:39 am But if the request was simply a concrete "please change this name to that name", I can't imagine it would take much.
I don't think most attorneys would agree to do that unless they had prepared the original document, simply because doing it would imply that they approved to some extent of the rest of the document and felt it would do what was intended. If the task was truly just changing a name and that was all you wanted then I don't see why anyone would use an attorney for that.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by breakaway »

tibbitts wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 4:40 pm
breakaway wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 3:28 pm I used https://www.legalplans.com (by MetLife) to get my will and POA and healthcare proxy sorted out. It costs $240/year. You print out the paperwork and take to a notary public to get signed, my bank did that for me, incl the witnesses.
They also have a list of attorneys that are in plan and you can go to one of those if you prefer, all included in the cost.
If you are still working and have Metlife as a benefit, this service may be included as part of that.
Recently some banks have declined to provide witnesses any longer, which has been a problem for me, vs. in prior years when they did provide witnesses.
Yeah, my local branch just did that recently. My local UPS store does notary for $10 per stamp.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by delamer »

If you and your wife die while your kids are still minors, what happens to your assets?
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by mnsportsgeek »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:17 pm
mnsportsgeek wrote: Thu Sep 22, 2022 8:24 pm I can't think of any situation where a parent shouldn't have a trust. Most wills without trusts still have to go through probate which is not ideal when you have teenage children that will likely not want to wait for all your money to go through probate before they can access it.
Teenage children might not want to wait, but if you have a trust the odds it will have it's own provisions for keeping their paws off the money for much longer than probate would involve. I think for me, with what my mom had set up I would have had to have been about age 40.
Yes the trust would prevent a 15 year old kid from inheriting millions of dollars. At least a good one would.

Though the more important point of the trust is not having funds needed for basic needs out in limbo in probate.
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Re: Living Trust or Will or both?

Post by celia »

acegolfer wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:33 pm
bsteiner wrote: Wed Sep 21, 2022 2:29 pm However, Florida requires that the personal representative (executor) be either a relative or a Florida resident. If the person you want is neither a relative or a Florida resident, a revocable trust is a workaround.
TY. a related question. after drafting a will, suppose after 5 years, I need to update the executor because he moved out of state. I suppose I need to pay fee every time to update the will. how much is the fee to update the will, approx? Is it again another $2k?
When creating a will or trust, you should specify a list of executors (for wills) or trustees (for trusts), each one to act alone, should the previous person die before you, be unable to act, or move to another state. If you had used an estate planning lawyer to create your will, s/he would have asked for a short list up front. (Specifying alternate executors up front would avoid a future amendment, unless all of them moved out of state.)

A good lawyer will also ask you about back-up options in case your assumptions now end up being different at the time you die. For example, if one of your heirs had many kids and died before you, would you want their spouse to inherit their assets to raise the kids, or would you want the remaining heirs to get more? If you left everything to your spouse, what if s/he remarries after you die and changes their will to make the new spouse be the primary beneficiary, then dies, leaving nothing for your kids? Etc.

You need a lawyer who asks you hard questions that you can’t answer on the spot.
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