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Old 06-15-2017, 08:10 PM   #21
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In 1999 we paid too much (>2k) to a well known attorney for a single will, no real estate plan. We later interviewed an FA from Creative Planning who provided us some better organization on estate planning, but elected not to go with them due to cost of AUM. Their estate plan costs seemed reasonable. Their advisory services were OK, just did not want to pay 80 bp. It took us two years to finally complete our plan.

This year we completed documents including our revocable LT, pour over wills, QTIP trusts with Clayton provisions to capture portablility of state estate tax exemption and Fed if necessary, irrevocable IRA trusts and all 3 health care/ directives, powers of attorney, and final disposition instructions.

I had tried to get an attorney to do this, but none I interviewed completely understood how to deal with PS corp and Sub S language required to conform to state law to allow a non-licensed trustee to act (go figure). I did a lot of reading. I found out that most lawyers use software with built in questionnaires tailored to specific state laws. I am really considering purchasing the one I tried and would recommend it highly, but it is not appropriate on this forum to promote. I told one of my lawyer friends, it was over his head as a patent law expert. He told me his former firm provided estate planning for life for free so he would not subscribe personally. I got the drift that it was just software anyway.

Other than hand holding, attorneys basically get the questions filled out and turn it over to a legal assistant to generate the doc package. I was quoted fees based on estate value, and they were fairly high for marginally little work. 3k to 5K plus adders for calls and letters. A QTIP or other tax advantage strategy would be more $$$.

The software generates the billing, the letters of instruction for funding the trusts, explanations of terms, and all the deeds ready to file with the county for re-titling real estate, and letters for each account to change owners to the RLT. I now know too much about what really goes on with estate plans that attorneys claim they create themselves. There are 3 major software packages used by such firms, I was lucky to find one that had all my questions covered, and generated word docs. It costs no more than hiring an attorney, but gives you the power to customize as needed or create for others to review with their own attorney.

BTW Nolosoft Will Maker and Trust maker are way too simplified for anyone to get a proper trust or estate plan. They have no provision for community property language, nor recognize any tax strategies. The software I used not only quoted state RCW language, but also stated clearly the intent of such usage.

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Old 06-15-2017, 08:19 PM   #22
Recycles dryer sheets
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Originally Posted by Lake161 View Post
I got my trust, will, health care directive, and POA done while I was still working, using a legal plan from Hyatt that my company offered. The plan cost me $3.50 a month, and I could drop it the following year once I had my documents. My only additional cost was postage and the notary fee. In my HCOL area, the package runs about $2900.
Our DD works for Hyatt, I will have to ask her about this for her benefit. Our notary was done by my DE (dear ex) for free, but we took some earlier docs to our credit union which does not charge either.

Most lawyers charge $250 to $300 per deed to file the Quit Claim Deeds transferring title to the RLT, and more if you want letters for each investment or bank account. Yet another plus for having a proper software package in your own control. You can always choose to have your docs reviewed on an hourly basis by a local attorney for less than $300 typically.

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Old 06-15-2017, 10:50 PM   #23
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DW worked many yrs for a law firm in the past. The gals do the majority of the work on forms such as these. One of the lawyers would look it over at the end. Actually simple to understand now but laws can change. A cpl of the partners were honest and charged an honest amount. A cpl if they knew the client were wealthy would soak them! And a few in the middle of those. Ours was free and just keeps getting simpler as we keep unloading things. Very easy to modify as things change. I'd not pay an attorney to set it up unless we were very wealthy.
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:57 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Hyper View Post
DW worked many yrs for a law firm in the past. The gals do the majority of the work on forms such as these.
I suspected this. I have to admit, though, that our attorney did a good job of thoroughly walking through possible pitfalls. Trust was in my name, with DB as trustee if I outlived DH. Did DB and DH get along? DS had the right to become a co-trustee (he's smart and responsible, but has no interest in managing money, and DB is a CPA). Did DS and DB get along? Would they take care of DH? He had a few colorful stories about times things had gone wrong (names removed, of course). It made me appreciate my extended family- I knew they'd take care of DH if needed, and I didn't have anyone lurking in the wings salivating at the thought of getting my money.

Also- the $3K I mentioned earlier included all paperwork, including the deed transferring the house to the trust. I did the brokerage account transfers myself.
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:47 AM   #25
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$250 5 years ago. POAs, no estate taxes, 2 heirs.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:37 PM   #26
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Usually, the more complicated you make things the more expensive it "should" be - and more money can make things more complicated too. If you want to leave everything to one charity when you die, it's not complicated. Once you start adding more than that (second marriages, multiple blended family children, businesses, irresponsible children, irresponsible spouses, estate taxes, pool boys) and if you care what happens to the money you spend 50 years earning/collecting, things can get pretty complicated.

Based on the dozens (or more) of very poorly written documents I have read, you should find a qualified estate planning attorney (I just got off the phone today with a real estate attorney that drafted someone's trust - not good) to draft your documents. If you don't have a "complicated" situation, it should be simple and the price should reflect that.

What does surprise me though, is how many people with $5,000,000 are reluctant to spend a few thousand dollars and the time and effort to ensure their hard-earned money goes where they want it to go. Some people don't care - so that's fine. But when you can make (or lose) $50,000 in a day when the market is up or down, $5,000 for a decent plan sounds cheap.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:41 PM   #27
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I'm not sure ours is really complicated. But I like a lawyer with the whole firm backing. If he is dead, there are other lawyers to take care of the problem. Not going with a small place or single lawyer office.
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Old 06-16-2017, 03:47 PM   #28
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we paid a few grand to have our wills/poas done, worth it imo
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:18 PM   #29
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I think we paid $1800 in 2008. It was all the paperwork associated with end of life... but didn't delve into current financial investments/tax planning... just end of life issues.

We got:
- Irrevocable a/b trust.
- POA's and Healthcare directives.
- Poor-over wills.
- assets like out house were retitled as part of this. Plus detailed instructions on how to handle beneficiaries on bank accounts and IRAs. (We didn't want large lump sums going directly to our minor age children and had the tax implications explained about rolling IRAs into a trust.)

Additionally, we got great advise on our concerns: At the time my inlaws were living in our granny flat and we needed language so that they could be transitioned before the house is sold. We also, as mentioned above, did not want our kids getting a large chunk of cash at 18 to squander and our lawyer offered suggestions on how to set it up so that the money could be 'used' by them - then distributed at milestones.

Our estate is fairly simple. House, investments... all going to our 2 kids once we're both dead.

Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
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