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Request for Advice regarding Trust/Will
Old 01-27-2018, 12:52 PM   #1
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Request for Advice regarding Trust/Will

Good morning party Firers!

I haven't been on in a while but I'm in need of some advice. For some background, here's my financial situation and personal situation:

Financial:
Net Worth: ca. 6.8m
Main house: 580k (no mortgage)
Second/Investment/Future retirement house: 1.2m (870k mortgage)
Liquid assets invested in diversified portfolio: ca 6m
:This is across 3 brokerage accounts, 2 retirement accounts, a CD ladder, 2 savings accounts and a checking account

Personal:
Me (42), DW (37)
2 Children (5.5 and 3.5)
Working part time, Firing next year. Will then sell primary house and move to retirement house.

Ok. Currently we have a very basic will in place, but it's not cutting it. I really don't like using professionals except for specific purposes (manage my own investments, etc.). It's not because I'm cheap or untrusting... I just like knowing stuff and doing it myself.

OTOH having now gone through much of the process myself, I'm a bit nervous because if something goes wrong I, by definition, won't be around to clean it up.

Here's basically how DW and I want things to go down.
1) If I die first, she is already the auto-inheritor of everything. She's not into dealing with a lot of investment complexities, so we will consolidate everything into sometime like a Vanguard managed payout fund and that's that. We have a good CPA so taxes aren't a problem.

2) If she dies, same situation.

3) If we BOTH die. We know who we want to be guardian of our kids and they are on board. We want that person to get a certain amount of money per month plus the right (but not obligation) to live in the house until the kids are 18. At that point we provide the kids with money to go to college. We also want to pay 50% of all the nephew and nieces (8) up to a certain amount. Once that is done we want to give our kids, all current and future nieces and nephews (and grandkids) a lump sum at the age of 30ish and donate the rest to charities we decide. We have an executor and backup executor that we trust. I think we need to setup a trust and transfer all assets into the trust.

I THINK this is kind of straight forward but when I worked through it I got a bit nervous. What say you good people? Should I pull the trigger and get an expert or solider on myself?

Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2018, 12:58 PM   #2
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You should hire an attorney to write up your trust.
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Old 01-27-2018, 01:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
You should hire an attorney to write up your trust.
+100

Too many discrete actions each with unique conditions.

To make the process go smoother, write down all of your desires, proofread it, have your wife read it twice over a few days and make corrections - all before your first meeting with the attorney.
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Old 01-27-2018, 01:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by petershk View Post
... I really don't like using professionals except for specific purposes (manage my own investments, etc.). It's not because I'm cheap or untrusting... I just like knowing stuff and doing it myself.

....
I'll suggest you look at the NOLO books on the subject. That may lead you to not want to DIY, but it will help you understand if you chose a pro.

Quote:
... 3) If we BOTH die. We know who we want to be guardian of our kids and they are on board. We want that person to get a certain amount of money per month plus the right (but not obligation) to live in the house until the kids are 18. At that point we provide the kids with money to go to college. We also want to pay 50% of all the nephew and nieces (8) up to a certain amount. Once that is done we want to give our kids, all current and future nieces and nephews (and grandkids) a lump sum at the age of 30ish and donate the rest to charities we decide. We have an executor and backup executor that we trust. I think we need to setup a trust and transfer all assets into the trust.

I THINK this is kind of straight forward but when I worked through it I got a bit nervous. ...
The parts I put in bold sound like maybe a bit 'twisty' for the NOLO forms (though I'll still suggest you go through them for the education). That might also make you want to simplify your approach. Hmmm, maybe one straightforward trust funded with X% for a simpler part, and another to deal with all the complexities? That way, not all the money would get tied up if there were some issues?

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Old 01-27-2018, 02:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
You should hire an attorney to write up your trust.
^^^

What he said. Lawyer up.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:15 PM   #6
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A friend of mine is a general lawyer in a low-key practice and says he has seen dozens of estate documents that didn't do what the person wanted because they tried to do it themselves or on the cheap, causing much grief to the family.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:24 PM   #7
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With minor children I would opt for a lawyer and it would be money well spent. Your situation may seem simple on the surface but there are many more variables than you are thinking of. Example, you take the dirt nap first, wife marries coke head tennis pro who drains accounts and the kids go shoeless is just one scenario, off the top of my head.
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by petershk View Post
I THINK this is kind of straight forward but when I worked through it I got a bit nervous. What say you good people? Should I pull the trigger and get an expert or solider on myself?
Your item #3 is beyond the capability of Nolo's WillMaker product, and you definitely don't want to be trying to create a trust without any kind of help. So, I suggest looking around for a lawyer. As always, it pays to shop around.

FWIW, here are the documents generated by WillMaker:
1. Will
2. Self-Proving Affidavit for Will
3. Durable POA for Finances
4. Revocable Living Trust
5. Certification of Trust
6. Declaration of Health Care Surrogate
7. Living Will
8. Final Arrangements
9. Info For Survivors
After using WillMaker, I can understand why many people want to use a lawyer for estate planning. It was a lot of work! For example, I had to find and schedule a notary & witnesses for document signing, and find a lawyer to draft a deed to move my house into my living trust. If you contract with an estate planning lawyer, this stuff is usually part of the package. If you contract with a lawyer, you might need to make only two trips to her office: one to answer a bunch of questions, and one to sign a bunch of documents.

Good luck!
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Old 01-27-2018, 02:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by frayne View Post
With minor children I would opt for a lawyer and it would be money well spent. Your situation may seem simple on the surface but there are many more variables than you are thinking of. Example, you take the dirt nap first, wife marries coke head tennis pro who drains accounts and the kids go shoeless is just one scenario, off the top of my head.
Or, as in my case, DW died first and DS, at 26, is still on the education dole. I doubt if that would have happened if DW were still alive, but it was sort of a promise that the kids' higher education would be paid for...
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Old 01-27-2018, 03:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
A friend of mine is a general lawyer in a low-key practice and says he has seen dozens of estate documents that didn't do what the person wanted because they tried to do it themselves or on the cheap, causing much grief to the family.
I'm certain we could find examples of DIY'ers in every field that screwed up. By this logic, no one would ever DIY anything. I'm guessing >90% here are DIY investors, I guess we should all hang it up and visit Eddie J?

Could your friend be a bit biased as a lawyer? Did your friend ever determine how many DIY'ers that educated themselves about the process that didn't have any problems?

As I said earlier, DIY may not be appropriate in this case, but the OP can certainly educate themselves and make that determination, and that education can only help.

And I've also seen trusts done by professionals that didn't do what the person wanted. So now what?

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Old 01-27-2018, 05:04 PM   #11
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your financial plan is too important to be screwed up. hire a competent lawyer to execute your plans. write down you key objectives and have the lawyer paper it. once thats done go back through your list again to make sure what you think the lawyer drafted up they have drafted up. As a word of warning - while most Trust documents are generic there are important parts that need to be done just the correct way for it to exactly replicate what you want carried out.
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I'm certain we could find examples of DIY'ers in every field that screwed up. By this logic, no one would ever DIY anything. I'm guessing >90% here are DIY investors, I guess we should all hang it up and visit Eddie J?

Could your friend be a bit biased as a lawyer? Did your friend ever determine how many DIY'ers that educated themselves about the process that didn't have any problems?

As I said earlier, DIY may not be appropriate in this case, but the OP can certainly educate themselves and make that determination, and that education can only help.

And I've also seen trusts done by professionals that didn't do what the person wanted. So now what?

-ERD50
I went through the whole process with Willmaker. It was an education and quite a pain to jump through the hoops. The Willmaker packet was much more general purpose for all states with all the tweeks necessary for my state (I hoped).

I now have all the paperwork completed by a lawyer and I feel much more at ease. The result is focused documents for my state with all normal documents included. DD, the layer, and I sat down and went through everything so DD knows my wishes. Most of my wealth will pass through POD/TOD so not a lot financially, but living will, etc. done for this state are important to me. I did have a pretty good idea of what needed to be in the documents from the Willmaker experience.
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Old 01-27-2018, 06:21 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by candrew View Post
^^^

What he said. Lawyer up.
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Old 01-27-2018, 07:36 PM   #14
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You need an estate planning attorney. Also, there are enough variables there where you'll probably need assistance in thinking about potential events and issues. Such as - if one of the children does not go to college - no $? Any financial support for the kids after school? How much support during college for the kids? Do they get a car? Where do the kids go during summer vacation? Has their home has been sold? Heaven forbid one of the kids becomes disabled? Do the guardians have any responsibility for house expenses? Suppose they want to remodel the kitchen? Who pays the cable bill? Do you adjust the payments at age 30 to account for inflation? Do you trap income in the trust and pay a 35% income tax rate on income over $12,500?

You can leave the answer to a lot of these questions up to the trustee, but it's kinder to provide the trustee with more guidance on some of these questions. The attorney should be able to help you identify some of these issues and provide some assistance. I think you can see this can get a bit complicated for a DIY.
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:31 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by RobbieB View Post
You should hire an attorney to write up your trust.
Yes. A trusts and estates specialist. There are many more possible scenarios than you have listed, including kids growing up, getting hit with a big legal judgement or getting married,then divorced. Setting a fixed amount for the guardian is also a bad idea because there is no flexibility for changing circumstances. A good attorney can help you fix all this.
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