Welp friends, we finally checked off the last major part of managing our finances!
We got a will and trust!!
And it only took me 10 years to do DESPITE BEING A MONEY BLOGGER! ;)
(Just keep that in mind the next time you’re feeling bad about procrastinating yourself, lol…)
I’d love to say it was super easy to do and we breezed through it, but it was actually a b*tch – not gonna lie. Not only to first *find* someone we liked and was affordable enough to help us with it, but also just to go through the million and one questions you have to think about – and make decisions on – before even STARTING the trust.
Things like, who will take care of our kids if we both die? Who should *manage* our trust for us that we can count on? When should we disperse the funds to our kids, and at what %’s and ages? What do we want to happen to us if we’re on life support and can’t make any decisions? What about our bodies once we’re gone?
Now some of those questions don’t relate if you’re just going with the will and not doing some of the other paperwork that’s related (power of attorney, advanced medical directive, etc), but since we finally committed to sitting down and doing this thing, we figured why not knock it all out at the same time and be done with it once and for all?
Took us about 4 months from the time we first met with our lawyer to having everything signed and in our hands, but now we’re done and it feels SO GOOD!! Wish we would have done it sooner, of course, but hey, not all of us are perfect… At least we got it now!!
Here’s everything we now have filed away:
(Copies in our safe, copies with our executor, and copies at our lawyer’s place)
- Will – for me
- Will – for Mrs.
- Power of Attorney – me
- Power of Attorney – Mrs.
- Advanced Medical Directive – me
- Advanced Medical Directive – Mrs.
- Family Trust (Revocable Living Trust)
Total costs: Just under $2,500
Which may look expensive, but compared to the other estimates we got when shopping around ($4,000-$10,000!) it was a steal at first sight. Which they are able to offer because they’re a small firm working out of their homes without much overhead! And the fact they were LOCAL and wouldn’t charge me by the minute for all my questions was the fat cherry on top. Because I had a lot of questions :)
But it’s all wrapped up now, and we move onto the 2nd part of the process – which is actually PUTTING THINGS INTO THE TRUST! So they’re safe and avoid probate!
Here’s a good article on what to watch for and *not* put in them (at least revocable trusts like ours), as well as some other articles that explain the ins and outs of wills and trusts more:
- Assets That Don’t Belong in a Revocable Trust
- Will vs. Living Trust: What’s Best for You?
- Should You Set up a Revocable Living Trust?
TL;DR on the trust benefits which sold us:
- Helps you avoid probate on your assets
- Let’s you plan for the possibility of your own incapacity
- Helps you control what happens to your property once you’re gone
- Helps prevent your financial affairs from becoming a matter of public record
All of which, of course, is good to talk over with your accountant if you have one, not only to make sure it aligns up well with your particular situation, but also to cross reference the advice your estate lawyer might have as I found their opinions can vary greatly depending on the angle they’re looking at.
(For example: our lawyer said to get an EIN for our trust once it’s set up to start being reported on, whereas our accountant said NOT to and to use my social security # instead. Then when we die, the *executor* of the trust establishes the tax id and it becomes an official entity at that point – thereby avoiding major tax hits along the way!)
Here’s what’ll be in our trust as soon as I finish creating all the new accounts for it… (they require new ones under the trust’s name/details vs our personal ones):
- Our house (deed needs to be changed)
- Two bank accounts (one checking, one savings – where we’ll hold a bulk of our savings)
- A non-retirement brokerage account (starting up a new one again for legacy $$$!)
The rest of our assets like our IRAs and other retirement accounts – and even our life insurance policies – won’t be tied to it for tax reasons… They’ll all flow into us and then we can move over any of the $$$ into our trust as needed (or when we die). Though it is good to go over all the *beneficiaries* you have set up everywhere to make sure they’re still accurate! I found a number of places I needed to update as I went down each of them one by one… Which was also not a fun process to do, haha…
But we’re all good now, baby!! And I have to say – it feels great! Between that and our minivan this year, I’m really feeling like an adult over here! Lol…
Now to just see if I can out-live our wills ;)
Hope some of this helps y’all if you’ve been wanting to get this process going as well… Again, it’s not the easiest, but if you allow yourself a few months to do it like we did it does make it a tiny bit less painful… See if you can beat me and wrap it up within 10 years of needing this stuff! ;)
Questions/comments/concerns, drop ’em below and will do my best to answer…
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!