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View Diary: You Think You Have a Will & a Well Ordered Estate (19 comments)

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  •  Revocable trusts (19+ / 0-)

    This is not for you, JD, but for others who will come into the diary.

    I would recommend everybody meet with a family planning lawyer to see if you should change your will into a revocable trust.

    Depending on your particular state laws, that could save you thousands of dollars and a year or more in time settling the estate.

    That's what we did last year.

    We are not rich, by any means. This is not something that is only for 1-percenters. Our lawyer said people with assets of as little as $20,000 can benefit from a trust as opposed to a will.

    Here is why: In California, he said, it can cost up to $20,000 (!) or more to settle a will. The lawyer gets a large fee. The probate court gets a large fee. A percentage of the estate is paid as other fees, etc.

    And then, it can take a will more than a year to make its way through the probate court system. The probate court is designed to verify that your belongings truly belong to you, and that you have the legal right to give them to another person.

    With a trust, however, assets flow smoothly and with little resistance over to the remaining trustee or trustees. Ownership is acknowledged with the trust, so there is no drawn-out period of verification as there is with a will.

    I was concerned about this because, as the sole wage earner in my family, I wanted my wife to immediately and easily have access and all rights to my property if I were to die.

    Yes, we have joint agreements in finances, and I have specifically named her or the trust, as appropriate, as beneficiary in my various life insurance policies, IRA, 401(k), etc.

    Cost of a trust is higher than cost of a will. Our lawyer did it for $900, and that is a rock-bottom price, as we found out by looking around.

    We needed to gather a bit of paperwork, and also had to create a new bank account in the trust's name. I also had to create new accounts on some mutual funds in the trust's name and have my current accounts closed out and changed into the new name. So, there were quite a few things to do, but our lawyer gave very good and specific guidelines as to what was needed.

    So, I can stand to be corrected for any misstatements here, and I'm no lawyer. Do check with one in your own state because your experience could vary widely from ours.

    But really, a trust is the way to go.

    Please proceed, governor

    by Senor Unoball on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 01:43:38 PM PST

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