The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: FarmerPete on April 07, 2015, 09:49:41 AM

Title: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: FarmerPete on April 07, 2015, 09:49:41 AM
I've got open enrollment for an optional legal plan at work.  Cost for 1 year is $305.  Typically, I've always just waived it, but recently I've been thinking that I want to get a will written up and probably a trust as well.  I'm 33, married, 1 kid and a second kid on the way.  We've got a net worth of ~250k between everything.  I want a will written up.  My state has a free statutory will that you can fill in the blanks.  I just don't know if that will be enough.  I really want to set it up so that if I die, my wife would obviously get everything, but I want my life insurance (~$400k) to go into a trust and pay it out over x years.  If both of us die, I want everything to go into a trust for our kids.  I'm really not sure what the right trusts are or whatnot.

I've always figured i'd use a legal form website/software to crank out a will/trust.  Does anyone have much experience with either a website/software or a legal plan?  I guess I just want to make sure I set stuff up right.  I'd like to do it as cheap as possible, but I don't want the quality of what I do to suffer because I'm cheap.  Thoughts?

P.S.  I'd cancel the legal plan next year, as I don't think I'll get much use out of it beyond these items.
Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: alwayslearning on April 07, 2015, 10:21:36 AM
Do you have to stay with the plan for a year? I know many of the legal insurance plans are month to month.
Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: DoubleDown on April 07, 2015, 10:32:14 AM
Be sure to read the fine print of what the legal plan covers. I'd be a bit surprised if your plan covered things like preparing an estate plan, but it's been a long time since I was covered under an employer's plan. When I had such coverage, it covered only essentially representing you in criminal or civil proceedings and providing legal advice. It did not allow me to have every legal matter I might initiate covered under the policy, like preparing deeds to houses, business contracts, estate plans, personal legal documents like a power of attorney, etc.
Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: FarmerPete on April 07, 2015, 10:41:22 AM

100% paid-in-full:

Wills and Estate Planning
∙ Codicil (amendment to a Will)
∙ Complex Will
∙ Durable/Financial Power of Attorney
∙ Health Care Power of Attorney
∙ Irrevocable Trust
∙ Living Will
∙ Revocable Trust
∙ Standard Will

Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: fdubz on April 07, 2015, 10:47:16 AM
I participated in a plan in VA this year.  My suggestion would be to get a quote on how much it would cost to do what you want to.  For us, the $210/year was cheaper than paying for the will, POA, Medical Directives, etc. outright.  We are locked in for a year, but I have already terminated the coverage once the year is up.  We didn't pay a dime and the lawyer was great.  One note: for most plans, only certain lawyers participate.  It worked out fine for us, but I'm sure it varies by area.
Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: Drifterrider on April 07, 2015, 01:23:15 PM
You should be able to establish a trust that is funded at death by you and/or spouse from insurance, retirements accounts, etc.  You keep control unless you die (then it is paid to the trust).
Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: FarmerPete on April 08, 2015, 09:38:07 AM
I guess the question is though, Can I do this by myself (using form documents from the web/software for a small fee), or should I spend the $300 to get a lawyer to help?
Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: Fuzz on April 08, 2015, 09:49:14 AM
Spend the $300 and get a lawyer to help. Relative to your assets and concerns, $300 is cheap for the peace of mind that it's done right. You don't want to stick your heirs with a legal mess. Also, the lawyer will help you think through issues you may not know you have.

The concern is that not all lawyers are equally good, and the ones that have the contracts with the legal plan companies tend to be the less ambitious lawyers. Even so, your needs are simple enough that any lawyer should be able to help you out.

If you hunt around, my guess is that you could find a private lawyer to do your docs between $750 and $1500. Call around. Don't go with the first one you talk to.

Disclosure: I'm an attorney, so feel free to discount my view that you should spend money on lawyers, but this one seems like a no-brainer to me.
Title: Re: Legal Plan Worth It For Me?
Post by: nedwin on April 08, 2015, 09:50:30 AM
Farmer - I think the legal plan would definitely be worth the expense for you.  Often the form wills, either statutory or from some other source, are not complete or ideal for your specific situation.  The other problem I often see is the form wills are not properly executed or followed by the person making the will.

For what you are wanting to do with your estate plan, you would pay significantly more than $300 to a lawyer to have it drafted (a lawyer would probably charge closer to $1,000, maybe much more).  Paying for the plan and having your estate plan drafted by a competent attorney with proper experience will be money well spent.  A lawyer will help ensure that the documents match what you want, that they are properly executed and give you proper instruction on how to ensure the plan stands given changes in the future.