July 21, 2021
Estate Planning is viewed by many as a frustrating, expensive, and tedious process. While it can be a confusing process, it is very much a necessary one. Advances in technology have broadened options available to those looking to safeguard their futures and protect their legacies. Many self-services like LegalZoom.com offer incredibly cheap and automated options for creating important documents like living trusts. However, as with all things in life, you get what you pay for.
Tyler Law offers a unique online estate planning solution for those looking for a quick, low hassle way to create a will or trust online with the experience and reassurance that comes with an expert attorney.
A Living trust is necessary for many reasons:
First and foremost a living trust promotes family harmony in times that are often marked with bitter disputes and broken relationships. By creating a well-crafted plan for your assets, it enables your loved ones to avoid the excruciating and painstaking process of probate after your death. Probate is a difficult legal process in which your estate is sliced, diced, and handled by a probate court. After the court validates your will, an executor is responsible for paying any debts owed by your estate and distributing your assets to your heirs.
Depending on the size of your estate and whether relatives or associates dispute the validity of your will (another thing people often haphazardly create on LegalZoom), probate can become a nightmarish process from nasty disputes to incredibly costly legal bills. Transferring assets to a living trust avoids this nightmare and exempts the assets named in it from probate.
Living trusts are also incredibly important if you wish to leave any of your assets to minor children. Without a trust, any assets given to minor children in your will are managed by a court appointed adult until they reach the age of majority. At this age, the assets automatically transfer to them without any conditions attached.
However, if you leave assets to a minor in a living trust, you may attach specific conditions as to how and when they can receive their inheritance. As an example, you can include a provision that says they have to graduate high school, college, or reach a certain age (above 18) before they can access their trust fund.
LegalZoom is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to set up a living trust. As with all things in life, fast and cheap come with tradeoffs. With anything involving your estate, always remember the adage “you get what you pay for.”
LegalZoom documents are created using a binary question-and-answer format that enables you to quickly answer and set up a form document tailored to your specific answers. While this may be convenient, small mistakes like misunderstanding questions or the nuances behind them, may create a document that accomplishes the opposite of what you intended. While wills and trusts may seem like simple documents, each of these devices have incredibly complex interactions with each other that require more nuance than a set of simple questions in a form online.
It is important to remember that while hiring an attorney may be slightly more expensive, we have seen countless clients end up paying just as much or even more money to fix the problems created by self-service programs like LegalZoom. There is something to be said for doing something correctly the first time.
On top of the high likelihood of mistakes being made and the lack of nuanced detail, LegalZoom only offers basic living trusts. For those with larger estates who desire more customization and control, LegalZoom will always leave you wanting more. For example, there are three distinct options available when creating a trust.
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