Trust & Will Review 2021: Honest Review by an AttorneyEstate Planning
- Trust & Will
- Basics: Trust & Will can set up an estate plan for you in far less time and for far less money than you would spend by going to an attorney.
- Pros: Inexpensive and quick.
- Cons: Trust & Will is not for complex estates and lacks the customizability you would get with a dedicated attorney.
• $39/guardian designation
• $30 to ship documents
- REFUND POLICY
Trust & Will provides a full refund within 30 days of your purchase if you are dissatisfied with your completed documents, “no strings attached.”
- TIME REQUIRED
• 20 minutes to draft trust
• 10 minutes to draft will
• less than an hour to complete the entire process, plus time to review the completed documents.
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With Lawyers.com reporting average hourly rates of between $250 – $310 and the average simple estate plan starting at $800 to $1,800 and running as high as $3,500 or more, a more affordable option is necessary to fill this marketplace gap between who needs estate planning documents and who can afford the traditional lawyer-interactive approach.
As a licensed attorney who has prepared hundreds of estate planning documents, I have come across a few template options and have largely been disappointed by forms that are not state-specific or overly-generalized documents that fail to provide thorough provisions to protect consumers’ interests.
Trust & Will, however, is a bit different and is generally a good product — though it admittedly has some downsides that I walk you through in this review.
In this Trust & Will review, I tried out Trust & Will, an innovative and simple platform that generates estate planning documents based on the information you input.
In this Trust & Will review, I will give a general overview of the Trust & Will products and the pros and cons of using it so that you can see if it’s right for you.
Trust & Will Overview
Here are the basic details that you need to know about Trust & Will.
What Is Trust & Will?
Trust & Will is an online service that provides legal forms and information. The site states that all of its forms have been built by “an experienced legal team.” You can use the site to make a will, make a trust, nominate a guardian for your minor children, prepare medical documents and obtain a few other estate planning documents.
How Trust & Will Works
You answer a series of questions and input information much like you would with a tax planning software program. Then, your estate planning documents are generated.
Trust & Will vs. an Attorney
Trust & Will populates legal documents without personal interaction with a lawyer. It provides a basic template to prepare the same type of will or trust to all of its customers except information is changed for your name, family status and a few details. The remainder of the forms include boilerplate language that is included in standard estate planning documents.
The Trust & Will site clearly disclaims, “We are not a law firm and are not a substitute for a lawyer’s advice about complex estate planning.” An attorney is better equipped to address your specific and individual needs than a standardized form. However, lawyers are often expensive, and it may not be worth it to pay large fees if your plan is fairly straightforward.
What You Get with Trust & Will
Trust & Will can generate several key estate planning documents for you, including a will, trust, guardianship nomination and more.
You can prepare a basic will for an individual for $69 with Trust & Will. If you’re married, you can make a separate will for your spouse for $60.
Trust & Will creates a trust for you for $399. You can make a trust for your spouse in addition to your own for $100 more. After you create your trust, a pour-over-will automatically generates and is included with your trust purchase. A pour-over-will directs that any property you own at the time of your death be transferred to your trust.
Trust & Will gives people the option of creating a legal document to appoint a guardian for your minor children if they are not ready to create a complete will or trust for $39 and $10 more to generate their spouse’s document.
After you create a trust or will, you have the option of purchasing the following documents for another $35:
- Living will – A living will allows you to state the type of life-sustaining medical treatment you receive if terminally ill or permanently unconscious. You can also designate a person to make medical decisions on your behalf.
- HIPAA authorization – A HIPAA authorization allows you to release your private medical information to the person you designate.
- Power of attorney – A power of attorney gives someone else the power to manage your finances.
The trust and will also generate questions about your final arrangements, but this may not be the best approach since your will may not be consulted until well after your death.
Trust & Will allows you to make unlimited changes to your estate plan for one year. Additionally, if you have an existing trust at the time that you create one with Trust & Will, you can make changes to it.
Who Trust & Will Is Good For
Trust & Will is a good solution for the following types of people:
People Who Want to Save Money
Trust & Will is ideal for people who want to create an estate plan and protect their family but who don’t want to pay an attorney thousands of dollars.
It is good for parents of minor children who want to nominate a guardian for their child.
People Who Have Pets
Trust & Will asks whether the customer has pets and wants to nominate a guardian for their care.
People with Basic Estate Planning Needs
Trust & Will can generate simple and legally-binding documents that contain standard provisions and the most common options that people elect.
Who Trust & Will Isn’t Good For
Trust & Will is not good for everyone. People who should avoid using Trust & Will for their estate planning needs include:
People with Special Needs
Trust & Will provides basic estate planning documents, so if you have special needs, this may not be the product for you. There is no space in the trust or will for you to identify if you have a child with special needs and who should take care of your child. Additionally, the language in the trust is broad in nature, but you may have more specific ideas of how trust principal and income should be used. Additionally, the language in the trust and will would not meet the standards necessary to establish a special needs trust that would prevent a loved one who receives public benefits from not being adversely affected.
People who Want to Leave Detailed Instructions
There is not much room in the trust or will document for any specific instructions. Some people may have very detailed instructions on how they want property managed. For example, they may want to limit distributions to a beneficiary if he or she is on drugs or has a gambling problem. They may want their real property to continue to be used by different family members throughout their lifetimes. Trust & Will does not provide sections to include this type of information and detail.
People Who Are Vulnerable to Abuse
Trust & Will may not be the best solution for people who are vulnerable to abuse, such as the elderly or those with cognitive problems. It is easy to foresee someone preparing these documents for someone else and then having that person sign them with no knowledge as to what they are signing. Additionally, the power of attorney document is listed under “healthcare documents,” but this document can give someone else the right to sell your home, withdraw all of the money from your bank account and take out debt in your name, so printing it and signing it without a thorough review could be very dangerous.
People with a Lot of Assets
The Schedule of Assets that is formed with the trust is pretty basic. It does not include a lot of identifying information, so it may be difficult to determine what property is supposed to be in the trust. Additionally, one of the biggest estate planning mistakes is not funding the trust. The customer may have to prepare deeds and titles to transfer property into the trust, but they may forget (or not know) to do this.
How to Create Your Plan with Trust & Will
Trust & Will provides a simple interface and question and answer format to create your plan.
Select the Product
On the home page, click on products and then select “Trusts,” “Wills,” or “Guardians” for the document you want to create. Each product has its own page that describes what the document is and how the process works. If you’re not sure which product to choose, you can click on “Get Started” and then click on the situations that apply to you and the program will recommend which products you should use.
Answer the Questions
The trust product covers seven sections, mostly through a question and answer format.
Some of the questions you simply click on a box.
Others, you will input information.
Some pages will have an “I have a question” button where you can ask a customer service representative a question. You can also click on the left-hand side of the page to open the chat box to talk to a representative. Remember that the customer service rep is not a lawyer, but they may be able to help define things for you.
Review Your Answers
After a few questions, a summary box will appear that describes the recent information you input. Make sure everything is correct or go back and edit.
Make Some Decisions
You will need to make certain decisions along the way, such as who are your beneficiaries, your trustees and executors. Additionally, you will need to decide how to distribute your property. The program gives you an option to split the property equally between your beneficiaries, or you can assign different percentages to each beneficiary. You can also leave specific gifts to your beneficiaries.
With the trust, you have the option of providing all principal and income to your beneficiary once he or she reaches a certain age or you can make several separate distributions at different ages.
The language of the trust also provides for distributions to be made to provide for the health, education, maintenance and support of your beneficiaries.
Review Your Documents
You will then review your documents for accuracy. You can also read the provisions that are included in your will and trust. You can view the information on the screen or download a PDF version.
You can notify other people of your trust via email.
Ship Your Documents
Finalize the process by having the documents shipped to you. Click on the “Ship My Docs” button and enter payment information.
Trust & Will Consumer Reviews
Better Business Bureau
Trust & Will has a BBB rating of A+.
Users are impressed by the simple and straightforward approach of Trust & Will. Non-lawyer users were satisfied with the overall process and how it was “easy to use.” Some users reported some confusion in the finalization process, such as steps to finalize their trust, where their information is stored, when documents would be shipped to them, or how to have their document notarized.
You can chat with support and get information on how to use the software or a definition of a term. You can also schedule a callback time with an agent. Customer support is very accessible and friendly. Customers have reported that service is “fantastic” and the assistance was “knowledgeable.”
Trust & Will Pros and Cons
The best and worst things about Trust & Will are:
Trust & Will Pros
- Affordable. The cost to use this product is much cheaper than having an estate planning lawyer prepare your documents.
- Fast. You can complete your will and trust in 10 and 20 minutes, respectively. You will receive your printed documents in a few days that are shipped to you.
- Simple. The interface is very customer-friendly and the process is smooth.
- Ability to update often. You can make unlimited changes for up to a year.
- Designation for digital assets. You can name a digital executor to manage your digital assets.
- Instant access to customer support. You can ask questions along the way and get answers promptly as you are preparing your documents.
Trust & Will Cons
- Not for complex estates. Trust & Will creates basic estate planning documents that are not intended for complex estates.
- Limited ability to leave instructions. You cannot leave detailed instructions on how your property should be managed or when distributions should be made. There also isn’t an option to customize your documents to your liking, such as offering a premium option or consult with a local lawyer.
- Limited information on assets. Your loved ones may find it difficult to identify and find your assets with the limited information included about them with these documents.
- Limited instructions. You may not get all of the information that you need about how to safely store your documents, to whom to provide your documents or what types of powers are delegated in the document unless you access.
Trust & Will Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I change my documents at a later date?
Yes. With a purchase of a will or trust, you can make unlimited changes for a year. You can also add an option to update your will after the year by paying $100/year.
- How secure is Trust & Will?
Very secure. It uses bank-level security to protect and encrypt all information that is transferred and stored on the site.
- Are the documents state-specific?
Yes. Trust & Will hired lawyers to draft documents that would be compliant in each state. You must select the state where you reside to complete your trust or will.
Alternatives to Trust & Will
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Valerie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas School of Law where she also participated in Moot Court and the Arkansas Law Review. She practices law in Arkansas, focusing primarily on estate planning and elder law. She has prepared countless estate planning documents and has participated in a number of guardianship cases since she was admitted to the bar. She is a regular contributor to Nolo.