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Trust & Will Review – Online Estate Planning

At a Glance
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4.5 / 5
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Trust & Will

  • Plans: Guardian, for the nomination of a guardian to care for minor children only; Will, which includes everything needed to create a legally binding statement of your final wishes; and Trust, which includes everything required to bypass probate
  • Features: 30-day money-back guarantee; unlimited digital document access; unlimited document updates for the first year; updates after the first year for a fee; live customer support during business hours
  • Advantages: Attorney-designed and -vetted documentation; low cost relative to independent estate planning attorneys; 30-day money-back guarantee; free updates in the first year; rapid prep time; state-specific documentation
  • Disadvantages: Ongoing subscription required for changes after the first year; hands-off approach may put off some clients

No one knows what will happen after they die. What we can control, at least to some extent, is what happens to our worldly possessions after we’re gone.

That’s what estate planning is for. And it’s where technology-assisted estate planning service providers like Trust & Will come in.

Trust & Will reduces the time and energy needed to create a comprehensive estate plan, including documents like legally binding wills, trusts, and guardianship nominations. There’s no need to sit down with a besuited attorney in person or spend hours scanning and uploading signed legal documents — you can take care of just about everything on your own time from the comfort of your own home.

If you’re reluctant to get your affairs in order because of the prospect of finding and vetting a human estate planning attorney, it’s high time you gave Trust & Will a closer look.

Plans & Pricing

Trust & Will has three distinct plans: Guardian, Will, and Trust.

Guardian has one specific purpose: nominating a successor legal guardian for minor children in the event of the death of both parents or the current legal guardian.

Will and Trust are more comprehensive. Will includes your last will and testament, living will, authorization for access to private medical information, and power of attorney.

Trust includes all the legal documentation needed to bypass the probate process (which doesn’t include the last will and testament).

You can customize each plan’s state law-specific documents to your specifications and complete, download, and sign each document online. Though Trust & Will is predominantly an online service, the Will and Trust plans include complimentary paper document shipping for anything you must sign and have notarized in person.

Guardian

Guardian is for parents who aren’t ready to create full wills. It includes a nomination of guardian document that specifies who’ll take custody of your children if you (and their other legal parent or guardian, if applicable) die before they reach the age of majority.

Guardian is about half the price of the full Will plan — $39, payable with a credit card. Getting documentation for your spouse adds a small fee.

Will

Will is for individuals and couples ready to put their final wishes in writing. The plan includes four documents:

  • Last Will and Testament. The last will and testament provides for the disposal of your assets, including special bequests to charities or individuals; care for your dependents and pets (if any); and final arrangements, such as your funeral and burial.
  • HIPAA Authorization. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of your health care information. The HIPAA authorization document authorizes specific individuals, such as your spouse or adult children, to receive legally protected health information for specific purposes, such as making end-of-life care decisions.
  • Living Will. In the case you’re not competent to make your own decisions, a living will lays out your health care preferences regarding things like resuscitation and life-prolonging interventions.
  • Power of Attorney. A power of attorney designates a trusted agent, such as a spouse or sibling, to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf when you’re not competent or available to do so.

Will costs $89 for individuals. Adding documents for your spouse raises the price to $159. Unlike Guardian, Will comes with complimentary document review by Trust & Will staff.

Trust

Trust is for individuals and couples ready to create a comprehensive estate plan that allows the bulk of their assets to bypass probate and more quickly pass to the appropriate family members or heirs.

It includes all documentation needed to set up and maintain a revocable living trust customized to your needs and bound by the laws of your state of residence. It’s appropriate for complex situations where a simple will might not be adequate.

In addition to HIPAA authorization, living will, and power of attorney documents, Trust features three documents not included in the Will or Guardian plans:

  • Revocable Living Trust. A revocable living trust document makes legally binding provisions for the management of your assets during your life and their disposal after your death.
  • Schedule of Assets. A schedule of assets is a comprehensive list of all assets held in your trust, such as real property and financial accounts. It provides the trustee with a full current accounting of trust property and ensures no one has to waste time trying to locate assets you’ve already sold or otherwise disposed of.
  • Pour-Over Will. Like your last will and testament and consistent with the provisions of your living trust, this document outlines your wishes regarding the disposal of your assets, care for dependents and pets, and final arrangements.

Trust costs $359 for individuals and imposes a 25% upcharge to add spousal documentation. Though steep, it’s significantly cheaper than hiring an independent attorney to do the same work and provide the same legal advice. And the savings of time, stress, and money inherent in bypassing probate are incalculable.

Like Will, Trust comes with a complimentary document review by Trust & Will staff.

Key Features

All Trust & Will plans come with five key features, including a 30-day money-back guarantee and one year of unlimited updates for no additional charge.

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

If you’re not satisfied with your Trust & Will documentation or any other aspect of your experience with the service, you can request a full refund within 30 days — no questions asked.

Digital Document Access

All Trust & Will customers have on-demand digital access to their completed documents in perpetuity. There’s no additional fee for access at any time.

Unlimited Updates in the First Year

All Trust & Will plans come with free unlimited updates during the first year following document creation. There’s no charge for revising Trust & Will documents during this period, no matter how significant the changes are.

Updates After the First Year

After the first year, further documentation updates require payment of an annual fee. For Guardian and Will customers, the annual fee is relatively low — equal to about two lattes. For Trust customers, the annual fee is 10 times greater, which makes sense given the relative complexity of revocable living trusts and asset schedules.

But much like a Netflix or Hulu subscription, you need only pay the annual fee when you plan to use the service. For people whose needs or assets change frequently, that means keeping a full-time subscription. Those whose needs change infrequently or only with a major life change can subscribe only during the years they need to make changes.

Expert Support

Trust & Will’s support team is available Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm Pacific. Trust customers enjoy priority access, skipping ahead of queued Guardian and Will customers when they call.

Advantages

Trust & Will has a lot going for it. Its legal documentation is state-specific and attorney-vetted, inspiring confidence in an otherwise hands-off process. It’s significantly less expensive than working with a full-service estate planning attorney. And it’s fast, with no office visit required.

  1. Attorney-Designed and -Vetted Documentation. Practicing attorneys design and vet all Trust & Will document templates. Trust & Will staff also reviews the finished versions of documents under the Will plan and Trust plan. You won’t meet these professionals face-to-face — which, if Trust & Will’s hands-off approach resonates with you, is probably a good thing.
  2. Lower Upfront Costs Than an Independent Estate Planning Attorney. Trust & Will’s estate planning services cost significantly less than working with an independent estate planning attorney. It’s no secret why: Independent attorneys have higher overhead, marketing, and labor costs, with none of the economies of scale enjoyed by a digital shop like Trust & Will.
  3. Unlimited Updates for One Year. You can update your estate planning documents as often as you’d like for the first year. There’s no need to pay by the hour to rectify drafting mistakes or add a previously overlooked beneficiary.
  4. Fast Prep Time. Preparing estate documents with Trust & Will takes far less time than with a human pro operating on law firm time. My attorney-led estate planning ordeal took at least three hours in the law office. That’s 180 minutes, not including transit time — a far cry from the 15-minute breeze Trust & Will promises customers who have no extenuating circumstances. That 15-minute estimate doesn’t include notarization, which requires a quick in-person appointment with a notary public.
  5. State-Specific Documents for All Plans. Trust & Will’s estate planning documents adhere to the letter of the law in customers’ home states. That’s especially important for estate planners in community property states like California and Texas, where different rules govern the disposal of marital assets.
  6. Money-Back Guarantee on All Plans. All Trust & Will plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. In the unlikely event you’re not satisfied with your experience or find (in consultation with a third-party legal expert) that your documentation has serious deficiencies, you’re eligible for a full refund up to one month after purchase.
  7. Trust & Will Is a Pledge 1% Participant. Trust & Will is a Pledge 1% participant. It’s committed to charitably contributing some combination of product, equity, profit, or time adding up to 1% of cumulative resources in those four categories. It’s a big selling point for those who prefer to work with mission-driven companies.

Disadvantages

Trust & Will isn’t perfect. After the first year, you need an ongoing subscription for any updates — an expensive proposition over time. And the hands-off model isn’t ideal for all customers.

  1. Ongoing Subscription Required for Updates After One Year. Trust & Will doesn’t offer free document updates after the one-year mark. If you’d like to update your documents after that point — and life changes will almost certainly necessitate it — you must pay a subscription fee in any year you make changes to your estate planning documents. Over a lifetime, that can significantly raise your total Trust & Will investment.
  2. Hands-Off Model Puts Off Some Customers. Trust & Will allows you to start and finish the estate planning process without ever sitting down across the table from an attorney. Indeed, that’s the whole point. If you’re OK with not interacting with humans much during the process, you won’t be put off by this. If you prefer more hand-holding, a human trusts and estates attorney is likely to be a better fit.

Final Word

Many people who really should invest in a legally binding framework for the execution of their wishes before and after their deaths don’t. That leaves their loved ones and heirs in a bind, leading to all sorts of painful situations — such as deciding when to cease life-supporting measures for a loved one without a living will — and possibly leaving guardianship and asset distribution decisions to a judge with no connection to the family.

Despite the downsides, it’s easy to understand why so many people put off estate planning. Trust & Will certainly gets it — and is willing to stake its existence on the proposition that the asset-holding, family-loving public will embrace a solution that simplifies the endeavor.

Verdict
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4.5 / 5
Rating

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Trust & Will

Trust & Will is a reasonably priced, easy-to-use estate planning tool for families without the time or budget to work with a human attorney. Its three plans cover a range of common estate planning maneuvers, from nominating guardians to care for minor children after their parents’ deaths to creating trusts that allow the deceased’s assets to bypass probate. If the hands-off approach isn’t a deal breaker for you, Trust & Will makes it easy to commit your final wishes to writing.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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