Just thinking about your own death is hard enough, but plunking down cold hard cash about it is almost too much to think about. Today I’m going to give you specific steps to get your will & living trust created, no matter your budget!
Big thanks to our sponsor Family Routines — if things like wills/trust get you crazy inside, simplifying family life will help you a ton!
NOTE: In this episode, a couple of times I say “living will” but I mean living trust. A living will is about making healthcare decisions, a living trust sets up a trust for your family. Sorry about that.
Mentioned in this Episode:
- Giving Docs provided our will for free.
- The paralegal we used
- Trust & Will or Legal Zoom are good online options to create your trust there.
- Be sure to grab my checklist here:
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other household tips podcasts:
Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys, welcome back to the pulling culrs podcast today on episode 15. We’re talking about wills, trusts, boring stuff, please don’t fall asleep. It’s actually something that I’m really passionate about because I think hardly anyone has one and they’re so important. And I also believe that the world makes it so difficult. I would read emails or posts from companies who wanted me to create one and my eyes would glaze over and it just seems so hard. So today I’m going to give you some ideas about how to create a living trust. I’m going to give you tell you the difference between a living trust and a will and when you need one or the other. And I’m also going to tell you that if you don’t have enough money to create a living trust because it is some money that you’re gonna have to fork over some things you can do to get started on it without forking over the cash so let’s untangle it.
Welcome to the pulling curls podcast where we untangle everything from pregnancy parenting home routines, even some family travel because habits knows our lives are tangled. I’m your host, Hilary Erickson.
So at the time of recording, I am 43. And I just was feeling those years tickk away and I saw horrible things happen to people around me. And I started to get really worried about what would happen if something happened to me. And I just said mulled it over for a long time and I kind of asked on Facebook, Hey, does anybody have a will. And it was like crickets, like a lot of people really wanted a will. But most people didn’t have them. A lot of people had a will. So let’s, let’s talk a little bit about a will and what a will is good for. And then also, we’re going to talk today about a living trust and what a living trust is good for.
So we had a will, I should say we had a well, we got a free one through I think it’s giving docs where you can assign who’s supposed to get the money after you die and a guardian for your children and Wills are pretty easy. There’s a lot of places to make a will online. And so I would 100% recommend that anyone who has children has a will that sets up who the guardian of your child should be should you pass away But a will isn’t enough. And I didn’t really know that I’d heard all these people who had a trust and it sounded so fancy like you would only need a trust if you had a million dollars to give to your kids. But it turns out everybody who owns a home pretty much needs a living trust. So if you are young and you have a baby and you rent and you have just 401k is you’re probably good with a will. But once you buy a house, you start a business, anything like that a living trust is going to be your best bet because it helps you avoid probate, which I don’t even understand I’m not going to get into that All I know is that a living trust helps avoid that and the money and the things within the trust can just go to the members of the trust if the main members aka, myself and my husband were to die. Also, if I die, I get access to all those things, although pretty much all of that is in both of our names and I would want 100% recommend that bank accounts all that kind of stuff should be in both people’s names. Even if you have your own bank account. Your husband should be on it. Just if heaven forbid you were to die then he can have access to
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Hilary Erickson 3:36
I was looking around and it was just so disheartening, I was you know, calling law offices and I was looking at 1.5 thousand to about $3,000. And I thinking that after I looked at what we were going to need done it would have been close to $3,000 to have a living well set up and that was a good amount of our savings at that point in time. I mean, the crappy thing is is you start to make money but then you have to Spend $3,000 just to protect that kind of money, which I think is crap, but that’s a podcast for another day. So I just felt like 3000 was maybe a little much for us at that point in time but again, I really wanted to make sure that we were taking care of so then I started looking online I looked at Legal Zoom there’s another one called will and trust that just does wills and trusts which I if I had to do it online, I think I would probably go with them I’m going to put the link in the show notes, but also with them like they’ll be like oh look, you can start a living trust for $400 but then if you have a business it’s going to be I don’t even know if they do the business but if you have a home then it’s like another $400 I couldn’t believe the add on fees. So that’s something to watch for as you go if you were to do it online, which I think is viable. Honestly, it was just really overwhelming for me at that time and so we went with another option, but I do think that the online option is definitely viable, especially if you don’t have a lot of complicated stuff. If you just have a home 401K’s, you know some basic assets the living well should be plenty but we When I asked online suddenly I had a friend who my friend Betsy, hello, Betsy mentioned that she had used a paralegal the paralegals about an hour away, but I called her. And it was like $800, which seemed a lot more doable. Now, when we added all the other things on, it ended up being close to 1000, because she also helped us move our LLC into our trust. And so it ended up being about $1,000. But she did a lot of work, we could have actually put the LLC into the trust on our own, but we just asked her to do it for us, and it was another one to $200 to have her do that. But I wasn’t really aware that a paralegal could draw-up documents like this.
Now, when you sign up with a paralegal, she makes it very clear that she’s not a lawyer and she can’t give legal advice, but she does still help you as you walk through the thing. So it was really nice to have some hand holding but that hand holding wasn’t super expensive, like a lawyer would be so what is a living trust, it basically puts all of our assets into one pot after we were to die. So everything our kids and their guardians Whatever could draw out of that pot in order to keep their lives going, and so you know, they’re not going to have to go to all of these different places. It’s just automatically in the trust and that is awesome. And they’re not going to have to go to court which I guess is the thing after you die again, don’t know much about that. But it sounds horrible.
So what is the caveat of the Living Trust now the lady who drew up our living will did an excellent job, but I honestly have to tell you that the worst part about having a living trust is that you have to put all of the things into the trust, which means you have to contact every 401k which I am a serial job 401k creator so that was a big fat pain, although I took this up time to actually condense all my 401k is so I had been meaning to do that. You know, after you leave a job, they can start to charge fees or whatever. So I moved them all all of my 401k is into one spot. So that was pretty awesome. But you have to call all your banks you have to go to 401k is any retirement you have to do all of these things and it was kind of painful. So that’s just something to be aware of even once you have the legal document drawn up and the trust is created, then you have to go back and talk to all these people and get the things placed into the trust. Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have like access to my bank account, the trust is actually like, you know, you put on your items, your beneficiary, so the trust is actually my beneficiary on all of my accounts. So instead of having to name each child, and then also my mom who used to be the guardian of my kids, now, I just named the trust and then the Living Will says how that money will be dispersed, although I will say that she helped file the paperwork for our home, which seems a little bit more complicated than I would want to do. And also our LLC, which again, is more complicated than I want to do. So those kind of things were nice and like I said before, they often charge extra for those things if you use zoom or will and trust.
Now the other good thing about a living trust is they often include a living will which is different than a living trust and HIPAA papers. And so a living will is where you make decisions, if you will We’re like ever in a vegetative state for your spouse to turn off life support or stuff like that. So it’s really nice to talk through that get it out of the way. That’s part of our wills. So it’s in with all those documents anyway, we can give it to any medical provider that we have. And that just shows what our wishes are. If we were in a place where we couldn’t make choices for ourselves. Side note, my husband is my living will carry out-er I was considering having a friend, a nurse friend do it because I was afraid he wouldn’t pull the plug but he totally said he would pull the plug, which I don’t know if that’s good news or bad news. Anyway, totally important. Everyone needs it living well, you can drop you can drop a living will, without a lawyer, you can definitely do that on Legal Zoom or something like that. We even have papers to do it in the hospital, I believe just have to have it like signed by a notary. So that’s pretty awesome. The other thing that was really important, which I hadn’t really thought of is these HIPAA papers.
Now, HIPAA is the thing that health privacy, something or other. So I can only talk to the mom really about her medical condition. Now if other people in the room you know, I just asked the mom is it okay if everyone’s in here while I talked to you about what’s going on with your care, and usually They’re fine with that. But if for some reason my son was like in a vegetative state, I wouldn’t feel well I would be able to learn a little bit about him because I am his mom. But if he was just like hurt, then I wouldn’t be able to learn about it because I’m no longer his guardian. He’s 19 and so something I realized that would be really smart is to have him fill out HIPAA papers for me that I can get his health information if he you know, ever needed me to help make medical decisions, which is officially my job at the house. That’s what I do is I help make medical decisions.
Okay, now you might be sitting there thinking, well, this is all well and good, but I don’t have 1000 lying around to create a living will, now one option is to do it online. And I think that’s totally viable. I know with Legal Zoom and those they have a lawyer on call for you that you can talk to about filling out the paperwork and so it really is a great option. But if you’re not quite ready to do that, let me tell you a few things that you can do especially as we head into the new year. This could definitely be an awesome resolution for you. First off, you are going to want to make a will If you don’t already have one, I’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s called giving docs, they all offer free wills, you can email it to like the Guardian that you’ve picked for your kids so that they have a copy of it and all that kind of stuff. So you can easily make a will online, it shouldn’t cost a ton of money, and it will just mostly with your kids, it’ll detail who gets your kids. But if you’re ready to go beyond that, which I think you should, the other thing I would recommend is to make a document with the last four of all your accounts, the last four digits of like all of your account numbers, along with the phone numbers. Now this includes retirement checking account savings accounts, anywhere you have an account, write down those last four of the account number and the phone number for the institution where you have that account. That is a great start.
I know a lot of us are worried that somebody is going to find that but I think you can just do it on a paper and have it in a filing cabinet as long as your family knows where it is. But it’s important to have all that in one spot because I mean when I really thought about it, we had retirement From like, all over the place, and so it was difficult to even find those accounts and remember everything that we have, I was constantly like, Oh yeah, I do have that other one 401k over there. And again, I consolidated which is super important and will make it easier if I were to die for my family to, you know, do all these things. You also want to get, like your parcel number for the land that you own, and that kind of stuff. And you also want to have your life insurance policy number, again, with a phone number all in that document. Now this document is a great place to get started. And it’s also something that you’re going to need when you go to create the living trust. So that is a great place to start as you start to save towards creating the living trust. So drew and I did this we were actually headed on a plane and I was worried because I do have an uncle that died in a plane crash. And so I was nervous about us being on the same plane. We have actually never traveled on the same plane together without kids. And so we were able to get it done pretty quickly. But it does it was like a full time job that week trying to get it all ready and answering her emails and stuff like that and So I just think it’s so important.
I think it’s something that people just ignore. And it’s really easy to ignore. Because I don’t like to think about my kids being on this earth without me. But what I really wouldn’t like is my kids being on this earth without me and not being able to access the money and the funds that I’ve saved, should anything happen. So I just felt really good and really safe once it was all done that they would be taken care of, if something should happen to us. So that is a nice fear to kind of have out of the way. And I think it’s a great goal for 2020 What a great year is 2020 is the year of the living trust. Let’s do it. guys.
Thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed it. It’s kind of different. It’s kind of a it’s hard to talk about and think about I you know, creating a will is not a fun thing, but it’s important and it’s an adult thing to put your big girl panties on and just do. If you’d like to know more about a will I actually have an awesome blog post that really details a lot of different things. I didn’t go over all of it in this but I’m going to put that link in the show notes and I think you guys will really enjoy that post along. I’ll also put links to some of the online companies that I recommend. In that post, there’s a link to the girl that we actually ended up having do it for us here in Phoenix. Even if you’re not here in Phoenix that might give you an idea of what to search in your area. Big thanks to our sponsor family routines, because no better routine than figuring out what’s going to happen if you die, right.
If you’re looking to get your home in order and really make changes, especially as we go into 2020. You can find out more about family routines in the show notes. And you can also find it on any of the pages on my site under the menu of courses. If you liked today’s episode, I would love it if you would share, subscribe, and review this episode actually is pretty near and dear to my heart. And I would really love lots of people to listen to it and really take action on this because I just don’t think a lot of people have a will even or living trust. And if something were to happen to you, it’s really going to make things difficult for your kids and whoever you’ve chosen to take care of your kids. So please consider sharing this one on social media. I would really appreciate it. I would hope to have you with us next time we drop an episode every Monday and until then I hope you have a tangle free day
Transcribed by https://otter.ai