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  • Estate planning/trust/will

    I looked to make sure this is not been previously discussed. How much do attorneys charge for a simple estate (one marriage, two kids, one rental property) I was quoted as $3700. Seems steep. Going to consider legal zoom. Anyone had any issues with this?

  • #2
    That's about right.  AB Trust with the standard scenarios for step-parents, exploding turkey family reunion and health proxies and surrogates.  That should include all the coordination of title transfer; bank accounts renaming, and beneficiary double checking correct along with follow on service to check on the trust.

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    • #3
      we paid less than that but we have no rental property.

      we've done three.  lowest 1000, highest 2500

       

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      • #4
        Seems high, but I'm not sure what all is being created.  Plus, I happen to live in one of the more affordable parts of the country and the local legal rates reflect that.  I would think the attorneys on the forum will be able to give better insight.

        I would stay away from LegalZoom.  Legal documents are one of those things many people don't realize were or were not done right until they need it.

        Make sure you read the documents before you pay the bill too.  I had a prospective client years ago who showed me his "special needs trust" his family attorney drafted and I had to explain to him it had someone else's name in it.

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        • #5
          I strongly urge you not to go the Legal Zoom route. You need to find an attorney who specializes in estate planning that will take the time to get to know you and your unique situation. This kind of proactive approach is what you want.

          To give you one simple example, take the issue of naming guardians and trustees for you kids. Most attorneys will simply ask who you want to name as guardian and automatically make them trustee, too. A great attorney will take the time to explain that the guardian is the person who raises you kids, but the trustee is the person who handles they money you left them. This can be critical because the person who would do a great job raising your kids may not be great at handling money. Often, those responsibilities should be separated. Do yourself a favor and find a knowledgeable and proactive eatateplanning specialist.

          An estate planning attorney who simply fills in the blanks of a boiler plate template should be avoided.

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          • #6
            I was going to post the same question. Legalzoom vs live attorney for trust

            What goes under a trust name? Meaning once the trust is form, do you switch the house title, car title, bank account,... to said trust.

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            • #7
              Real Attorney who knows/does Estate Planning documentation as a significant part of overall business.  Ours is a revocable trust. We paid about $1,110 for the documentation (trusts/wills/financial POA, healthcare POA), plus like $150 to change the title our home.  I recall that our trust was required to have 'real assets' in the trust.  We started with the re-titling of our home and our joint checking account, then redocumented other assets over time (i.e. retirement accounts, a rental property).

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              • #8


                What goes under a trust name? Meaning once the trust is form, do you switch the house title, car title, bank account,… to said trust.
                Click to expand...


                This is definitely a question for your attorney, as there are many pros and cons to living trust ownership of certain assets. For instance, if you live in a community property state, your attorney may suggest that any jointly-owned assets, especially real estate, be retitled as community property before they are put in your living trust. This can reduce capital gains tax if the asset is sold after one spouse dies.

                Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Hire a good estate planning attorney.

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                • #9




                  I looked to make sure this is not been previously discussed. How much do attorneys charge for a simple estate (one marriage, two kids, one rental property) I was quoted as $3700. Seems steep. Going to consider legal zoom. Anyone had any issues with this?
                  Click to expand...


                  It partly depends on the area of the US you live in. Legal Zoom has its place for a simple plan, low net worth situations, or need-something-in-a-hurry until you can wait to do it properly. If you go the LZ route, plan on getting a "real" E&T attorney to redraft later on.

                  Before deciding, I'd shop around a bit first. Ask your CPA for a reference and also ask if s/he is in some way compensated for that reference (i.e. a referral arrangement), which wouldn't make me comfortable. Also, if you work with a fee-only financial planner, the planner should be able to come up with a couple of good referrals, whether or not the planner is local to you.

                  As to the trust, there are different kinds of trusts that can be set up either in conjunction with or separate from your LWT. I think you are referring to a living trust and, depending upon where you live, you may not need one. A living trust will raise the cost.
                  Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                  • #10


                    I was quoted as $3700
                    Click to expand...


                    I don't have one, but my gut says seems steep. That's a nice used car. Sheesh. I'm all for proper planning though.

                     


                    I strongly urge you not to go the Legal Zoom route.
                    Click to expand...




                    I would stay away from LegalZoom.
                    Click to expand...




                    Legal Zoom has its place for a simple plan, low net worth situations, or need-something-in-a-hurry until you can wait to do it properly. If you go the LZ route, plan on getting a “real” E&T attorney to redraft later on.
                    Click to expand...


                    Clearly not huge fans of legal zoom'ing. So, here is my question: There is a (growing) cadre of folks who all seem to learn and manage their finances without experts or financial planners. Would you say the same could be true for this type of legal advice? Could a similar percentage of the population manage their legal needs (at least in estate planning, etc) Why/Why not?

                    Is there just less opportunity to learn? Fewer decision points and larger risks (losses) if not done well?

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                    • #11
                      Ours charged $5000 for comprehensive work, including title searches, title changes, simple will for small stuff, irrevocable family and marital trusts, property and health care powers of attorney, HIPAA releases.

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                      • #12
                        My guess is that the same folks that have/are learning to manage their own finances without experts could do the same for their estate planning needs, but the expected return vs. time investment just isn't there.  It might take the same amount of time to learn to competently manage one's finances as to master the (sometimes) byzantine world of estate planning, but the expected return is quite a bit different!  Learning to manage your finances could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your career, but spending all that time learning estate planning will probably only save you $2,000 - $10,000.

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                        • #13
                          There's a lot of Ts and Is to cross and dot.  Creating the proper vessel is crucial for it to work.  Also as mentioned above, you have to fill that trust appropriately, otherwise it's a bit worthless to have.

                          Using LegalZoom is fine, it's like using RoboAdvisors.  You get basic generic stuff that MAY work for you.  The more complex the situation, the higher the need for attention to the details.  You don't need a FA for 3 fund investment strategy on your single taxable account.   If you want to maximize a portfolio across multiple areas, develop a plan and retirement roadmap, then a FA is recommended.   Same for a Estate planning Lawyer.

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                          • #14




                            The problem is knowing you have a good attorney. You will find tons of colleagues with questionable trusts they were charged good money for.
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                            www.avvo.com is pretty good self reporting site for lawyers with outside reviews.  Useful FWIW to find local lawyers that specialize in a particular area of law. You get to decide if the percentage of work/'specialization' being sought suits you/your families purposes.

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                            • #15







                              I was quoted as $3700
                              Click to expand…


                              I don’t have one, but my gut says seems steep. That’s a nice used car. Sheesh. I’m all for proper planning though.

                               




                              I strongly urge you not to go the Legal Zoom route.
                              Click to expand…






                              I would stay away from LegalZoom.
                              Click to expand…






                              Legal Zoom has its place for a simple plan, low net worth situations, or need-something-in-a-hurry until you can wait to do it properly. If you go the LZ route, plan on getting a “real” E&T attorney to redraft later on.
                              Click to expand…


                              Clearly not huge fans of legal zoom’ing. So, here is my question: There is a (growing) cadre of folks who all seem to learn and manage their finances without experts or financial planners. Would you say the same could be true for this type of legal advice? Could a similar percentage of the population manage their legal needs (at least in estate planning, etc) Why/Why not?

                              Is there just less opportunity to learn? Fewer decision points and larger risks (losses) if not done well?
                              Click to expand...


                              I would just say that, same as with people who DIY for financial planning, how do you know you're doing a good job? What is your measure or benchmark? Just because you have a budget and a portfolio that is making good returns (whose isn't, the last few years?), how do you know what you don't know? The same with E&T planning. You can go the Legal Zoom route and may be fine, but you won't know there is a problem until it's too late or you're at the point of needing a complex solution to a problem that has morphed way beyond simple.

                              otoh, if you hire a not-so-(bright or ethical) financial planner or E&T attorney, you would probably have done just as well on your own. That's the real issue.
                              Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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