Author Topic: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?  (Read 2613 times)

jeromedawg

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Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« on: January 31, 2017, 09:24:14 AM »
Hey all,

One of my buddies told me he signed up for legal services through his employer primarily because he is planning to do his will and trust using them... is this a good idea? I've been trying to figure out who to go with to write these up for me but it just seems really expensive (for a lot of people, the justification is that it's worth it because you're only doing it once, at least the initial write-up). I'm just being 'cheap' here and trying to see if there are cheaper ways of going about it (versus spending $1000+ from various sources that have quoted me that... was even quoted $700 on the 'cheaper' side but I've heard of people getting theirs done for even less).

Have any of you paid for and used legal services through your employers to do your will and trust? This seems like a pretty cost-efficient and cost-effective way to go about it without spending a boatload of money. Per pay period cost is $7.60 for me and my family, so just under $200 for the year for legal services which include many other things besides writing up your will/trust. We are expecting our second end of Feb and I believe since that is considered a "life event" we will be eligible to make changes to our enrollment, so I should be able to sign up for the services at that point in time.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 09:29:03 AM by jplee3 »

PepperPeter

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2017, 09:40:27 AM »
I wouldn't.  I'm a trusts and estates paralegal (10+ years) and in my experience these services are fulfilled by a general practitioner who doesn't have any expertise in this area and generally stuff gets screwed up.  Trust me, you either pay for a competent lawyer up front or your heirs pay for it on the back end when your probate/trust administration is a nightmare.  This is not an area to be cheap.

jeromedawg

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2017, 09:50:58 AM »
I wouldn't.  I'm a trusts and estates paralegal (10+ years) and in my experience these services are fulfilled by a general practitioner who doesn't have any expertise in this area and generally stuff gets screwed up.  Trust me, you either pay for a competent lawyer up front or your heirs pay for it on the back end when your probate/trust administration is a nightmare.  This is not an area to be cheap.

I was doing more research and they have network attorneys that they guarantee to be within 30 miles. And appear to have an attorney finder type tool - I need to check it out but assuming they list whatever 'network' attorneys are available and their specialties (one being trusts and estates), do you think it would be OK then? Or is this the type of thing you want to ask around for references for? If you confirm that a lawyer specializes in wills/trusts/etc, wouldn't they generally be qualified? Should I be interviewing them or something?


So what's crazy about all this is that I just used the network attorney finder on the legal services site (ARAG) and our friend (we know her  personally and were also referred to her by other friends who have used her, as she's an estate planning attorney) who quoted us a pretty high amount of $1200~ when we asked her directly what her rates are, is listed as one of the network attorneys! Perhaps I should ask her about all this... it would sure save a lot of $$$.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 10:00:36 AM by jplee3 »

PepperPeter

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2017, 10:07:26 AM »
It really depends how complex your assets are and how much tax planning you need.  A good rule of thumb is to find an AV rated attorney (it's a peer review system) who specializes in T&E.  In your state they may have board certified attorneys as well.  The only people I would recommend go to the trouble of interviewing multiple attorneys are those with substantial wealth who need more advanced tax planning, dynasty trusts, etc.  Cost varies geographically, but this is a very complex area of law and finding someone who charges you "nothing" either means they don't have the in depth knowledge this field requires or they don't care if something goes wrong.  Sorry for the soapbox, but I've been lurking here for years and it drives me crazy when I see people (not you, just generally) devaluing the work that goes into an estate plan.  The number of legal zoom probate nightmares I've had to clean up over the years is no joke.

PepperPeter

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2017, 10:11:58 AM »
I wouldn't.  I'm a trusts and estates paralegal (10+ years) and in my experience these services are fulfilled by a general practitioner who doesn't have any expertise in this area and generally stuff gets screwed up.  Trust me, you either pay for a competent lawyer up front or your heirs pay for it on the back end when your probate/trust administration is a nightmare.  This is not an area to be cheap.

I was doing more research and they have network attorneys that they guarantee to be within 30 miles. And appear to have an attorney finder type tool - I need to check it out but assuming they list whatever 'network' attorneys are available and their specialties (one being trusts and estates), do you think it would be OK then? Or is this the type of thing you want to ask around for references for? If you confirm that a lawyer specializes in wills/trusts/etc, wouldn't they generally be qualified? Should I be interviewing them or something?


So what's crazy about all this is that I just used the network attorney finder on the legal services site (ARAG) and our friend (we know her  personally and were also referred to her by other friends who have used her, as she's an estate planning attorney) who quoted us a pretty high amount of $1200~ when we asked her directly what her rates are, is listed as one of the network attorneys! Perhaps I should ask her about all this... it would sure save a lot of $$$.

Ask directly what her hourly billing rate is or whether you'll be charged a flat fee.  $1,200 for a complete estate plan that includes wills, trusts, and advanced directives is actually very inexpensive, but I also don't know what area of the country you're in.

Masstache

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2017, 10:12:25 AM »

Have any of you paid for and used legal services through your employers to do your will and trust? This seems like a pretty cost-efficient and cost-effective way to go about it without spending a boatload of money. Per pay period cost is $7.60 for me and my family, so just under $200 for the year for legal services which include many other things besides writing up your will/trust.

I did exactly this a few years ago, and it was a great deal, a perfectly mustachian thing to take advantage of.   I was suspicious at first because the benefit cost was so tiny compared to the cost of the services I intended to avail myself of.   But there were more than a dozen "in-network" attorneys within 5 miles of my house, all of whom only do estate planning legal work like wills and trusts.  In the end, I paid a grand total of $144 out of my paycheck for the ARAG benefit, and my wife and I each got a will, a durable power of attorney, a healthcare proxy, a living trust, and an irrevocable trust (total list price for all the documents we got was over $10k).    I have no idea how ARAG makes money on this. 

Sailor Sam

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2017, 10:13:25 AM »
I'm entitled to have a JAG lawyer go over my assets, and draft my will for free. You bet your sweet granny Adams' I used it. ;)

JAG won't help with trusts, though. It's annoying, but I can't get too upset about a freebie not doing exactly what I want.

jeromedawg

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2017, 10:17:24 AM »
I wouldn't.  I'm a trusts and estates paralegal (10+ years) and in my experience these services are fulfilled by a general practitioner who doesn't have any expertise in this area and generally stuff gets screwed up.  Trust me, you either pay for a competent lawyer up front or your heirs pay for it on the back end when your probate/trust administration is a nightmare.  This is not an area to be cheap.

I was doing more research and they have network attorneys that they guarantee to be within 30 miles. And appear to have an attorney finder type tool - I need to check it out but assuming they list whatever 'network' attorneys are available and their specialties (one being trusts and estates), do you think it would be OK then? Or is this the type of thing you want to ask around for references for? If you confirm that a lawyer specializes in wills/trusts/etc, wouldn't they generally be qualified? Should I be interviewing them or something?


So what's crazy about all this is that I just used the network attorney finder on the legal services site (ARAG) and our friend (we know her  personally and were also referred to her by other friends who have used her, as she's an estate planning attorney) who quoted us a pretty high amount of $1200~ when we asked her directly what her rates are, is listed as one of the network attorneys! Perhaps I should ask her about all this... it would sure save a lot of $$$.

Ask directly what her hourly billing rate is or whether you'll be charged a flat fee.  $1,200 for a complete estate plan that includes wills, trusts, and advanced directives is actually very inexpensive, but I also don't know what area of the country you're in.


Just checked the last correspondence I had with her and she normally charges $1600 and it includes a living trust, will, health care directive, durable power of attorney and a deed to transfer your home. But she was discounting to $1200 at the time I asked her which was back in 2014. Not sure if things have drastically changed by then but that's probably a safe ballpark figure. I dunno, I think I'm going to send her another note and mention we found her listed as a network attorney for ARAG, and see if she would be able to help us out with the will/trust stuff before I sign up. If she says "yea no problem" (or something along those lines), I think I'll sign up per life event enrollment changes and proceed.

iris lily

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2017, 07:46:25 AM »
We are old, we have assets, we have no children. We finally completed  our first set of estate planning documents, and we now have a trust with a pour over will.  The bill was $3,200. I feel satisfied with the professionalism and thoroughness of our attorney and her staff. We didnt have anything unusual or tricky in our situation, but even then there is a LOT of details and contingencies to work through.

 There is still a lot of work for us to do in populating the trust with assets. Ugh, but we will get through it and come out the other side and be better for it! Haha.

We know this wasnt the least expensve attorney, but I just wanted it DONE and I wanted to work with an attorney who was
1) in the city
2) not in a big downtown practice

And we found a perfect fit. She has a pretty nice suite of offices and a sizeable staff whoch is reflected in that price. But  they cranked out the work and kept it moving.

Earlier we had started out with a family friend who was gearing up to add trust and will work to his law practice. He charged $2,000. But he was always busy and we couldnt get work completed from him, so we moved to another attorney.


« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 08:18:17 AM by iris lily »

Giro

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2017, 12:47:23 PM »
We used the free attorney on base as well - Air Force tho.  We got a trust established, so I'm not sure why JAG wouldn't do it.  bummer.

wills, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, trust for the kid - FREE.

hells yea

mxt0133

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2017, 01:05:54 PM »
We had ours done with an estate lawyer that I thought asked us enough questions and lay out scenarios that made me feel comfortable to move forward with.  I had the legal service as well through work and we did a few revisions to it over time.  Now that I don't have the service anymore well see how much she will charge us for any updates or revisions.

FrugalZony

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2017, 01:38:38 PM »
I had a legal plan through my company when I was still employed and I used it numerous times.
It was like $8 or so per paycheck deduction (so $16 a month).
Alone our will and advance directive paperwork done by a lawyer was worth around $2500
It also covered double checking my divorce papers and various other services I needed over the years.

I found it well worth the money to get the legal plan.

What's amazing is you can opt in to get it in a year when you know that you'll need it (will etc. or other plannable things) and then just drop it after,
which some of my colleagues did.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Will and Trust through legal services from employer?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2017, 01:42:07 PM »
This is an option with my company, the rate is 10$/paycheck. So actually more than my HDHP, but it seems to cover EVERYTHING, from taxes, to being a landland, to being sued, to sueing someone.
Just read the fine print, see if it is worth it to you