A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer your assets into a trust during your lifetime. The trust is managed by a trustee, who is responsible for distributing the assets to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.
A living trust can help you avoid probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. It also provides more privacy than a will, which becomes a matter of public record after your death. Additionally, a living trust can be used to protect assets from creditors and provide for minor or disabled beneficiaries.
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf in financial or legal matters. This can be helpful if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself.
We have an easy and convenient 4-step process designed to have your trust and other estate planning documents designed, built and signed in 6-8 weeks:
1. The first step is to watch an informative 60 minute video ("Estate Planning Basics") where you will learn all about your options and our flat fees. You will fill out a secure online questionnaire ("Family Profile") before we meet for your Estate Plan Design Meeting so we can make the most of our time together.
3. Next is your Estate Plan Design Meeting, which both spouses must attend. You will let us know which level of planning you have decided on, we will review and sign the engagement letter, and take payment in full. We will roll up our sleeves and design and build your trust and other estate planning documents, working off of the information you provide in your Family Profile. After this session, I'll send you your Estate Plan Summary - for you to review and confirm all of your choices.
3. Then I will build your documents and send a copy for your review about two weeks later along with a personalized video (your "Funding Resource & Draft Review"). We'll then make any changes or updates you need and when everything is good to go, you will Sign Your Documents in the comfort of your own home.
4. Once you've executed your documents with the proper legal formalities, in front of two witnesses and a notary, we will scan and share your documents with you both via pdf's on your secure online portal and in a gorgeous binder of your originals. We will send you another personalized video and written resources to review your funding instructions and make sure you are set up to keep your estate plan updated throughout your life (your "Funding & Support Check-In").
Estate planning is an area of law that is state-specific. That means you must work with an attorney that is licensed in the state in which you live.
Our attorneys are licensed in Texas and California. If you live in one of those states we can serve you for estate planning. If you do not, message us and we'd be happy to refer you to an attorney licensed in your state.
If you are a business owner, we can work with you regardless of where you live. We help businesses in all 50 states.
Probate is the court-supervised process of administering your estate upon your death. If you die without a will, your estate must go through probate before all your money can be distributed to your heirs. And if you die WITH a will…your estate still has to go through probate! The only way to avoid probate is with a revocable living trust.
What’s so bad about probate? Even a simple probate can take years to complete and eats up as much as 5-7% of the estate assets in the meantime. It’s also a public proceeding that makes your will available to anybody who wants to look at it.
Although a will is subject to the probate process, a living trust is designed to bypass it completely.
Unfortunately, even a simple will is still subject to the expense and delays of probate. It’s not the complexity of the document itself that cause the time and expense, it’s the probate process itself. For this reason, most of my clients choose to create a living trust instead of a will, which is designed for simplicity and to avoid the probate process completely.
However, as part of an overall, comprehensive estate plan, a special “pour-over” will is used to appoint guardians for any minor children alive at your death and handle any property that has not been transferred into your revocable living trust.
No. This is the biggest myth out there. Estate planning is in no way related to how much money you have, whether you are a married, or whether or not you are a parent.
Estate planning in putting legal documents in place that ensure your assets will go to the people you want, the way you want, when you are gone. It’s about making this as easy as possible on your loved ones during an otherwise difficult time. And we all care about that, no matter how much (or little) money we have.
It’s also about appointing people to manage your property and make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated, something that matters to all of us regardless of wealth status.
No problem! A living trust can be changed or revoked entirely as long as the creator is alive and has mental capacity to do so. Any guardians for minor children can also be changed through an amendment (called a “codicil”) to your pour-over will and new guardian nominations.
All other estate planning documents (power of attorney, health care proxy, etc.) are typically recreated as it is more cost-effective.
The main point is that your documents can (and should will be) updated as your life, your assets, and the law all change. We recommend that your documents be reviewed at least every three years - or when you experience a major life change.
If you have existing estate planning documents go ahead and book a Strategy Session and we will have you upload your existing documents as part of your online intake homework. No problem!
You can. It depends on what your goals are.
Keep in mind that Legal Zoom and law firms are two different things. They provide two different services. This is why the cost is different.
Legal Zoom offers form documents you fill out and execute yourself. They are not a law firm and do not give legal advice.
An attorney, on the other hand, counsels you and gives you legal advice based on your specific circumstances. They will customize your documents, ensure they are signed with the proper formalities, and fit your family's unique circumstances and goals, and pick up the phone when you call with questions. If these things are important to you, you should work with an attorney. If they are not, and price is your biggest concern, Legal Zoom may be a better option.