In this detailed Trust and Will review, I’ll share my personal experience with the company, with the objective of helping you decide if it’s the right service for your needs.
Note: Trust & Will allowed me to test their software at no cost. All opinions are my own; no promotion was guaranteed in exchange for writing this review.
- Answer a few questions and you’re on your way to creating an estate plan.
- Most plans can be created in 30 minutes or less.
- Cheaper than hiring an estate planner.
- You get all of the required documents necessary to create an estate plan when you choose a trust-based or will-based plan. You don’t have to choose each individual document, which can be confusing for a layperson.
- Costs more than Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust ($99-$209 )
Trust & Will Review: Key Facts
- Trust & Will lets you quickly and inexpensively create an estate plan online. The process typically takes less than 30 minutes.
- The documents you receive at the end of the process can be immediately printed and signed (having them shipped costs $30). The rules for having the documents be legally in force vary by state, but in general you’ll also need to have a witness sign them, or have them notarized.
- You can make free updates for your first year to all your legal documents. After that, you have to pay an annual fee to edit them. The fee ranges from $18 per year for will documents to $39 per year for trust documents.
- Unlimited attorney support, available in certain states, can be purchased for an additional $200 on top of your plan.
Trust & Will Cost
How Trust & Will Works
While it’s true that the process does take 30 minutes from start to finish, there are a few things that you’ll want to accomplish beforehand:
- Approach the person (or people) you want to name as the guardian(s) of your minor children.
- Make a list of the tangible assets you want to go to specific individuals, such as jewelry, works of art and family heirlooms. Then, make a list of your financial assets, including any businesses you own, their value, their location and how to access them (account numbers, passwords, user names, etc.), along with who you want to leave those assets to. Personally, I have this in a password-protected spreadsheet that’s updated on a quarterly basis.
- The final thing to consider before sitting down to create your estate plan is what kind of final arrangements you want. Do you want to be cremated and a certain song to play at your ceremony? Do you want to set up a scholarship fund, in lieu of flowers or gifts for your family? Some people don’t care about their final arrangements, but many view it as one last chance to leave an impression on their friends and family. If that’s you, then you need to spell it out in as much detail as possible.
Once you have this information, you can sit down and start.
You can create an account with Trust & Will by email or signing in with your Google or Facebook account.
Answer general questions about your assets and family, then choose the product you want to utilize.
In order to create your legal documents, you’ll need to provide more detailed information. The information will vary according to which document you’re creating and can include the following:
- General information about your family members, including pets.
- Basic information detailing assets for a trust.
- Name guardians for your minor children and pets.
- Name a trustee for your trust.
- Name an executor for your will-based estate.
- Name beneficiaries and specific bequests.
- Decisions related to health care and end-of-life.
- Funeral-related decisions.
While answering these questions, plenty of prompts will help if you’re stuck on something, and you can live chat with a customer service representative. Once you’ve provided the necessary information, Trust & Will will start building your estate documents with customized templates created by attorneys according to the laws and requirements of your state of primary residence.
Once you complete the process, your documents are ready to be printed and signed.
In some states, you have to get your documents notarized, while in others you just need a witness — ideally, someone you trust that’s not listed in your will.
Once you’ve completed the signature or notarization process, the documents are legally in force. These documents should be kept in a secure location, such as a safety deposit box, and the trustee or executor should be given a copy.
Updating Your Trust, Will, or Legal Guardianship Documents
When you experience major life changes — like a marriage, a divorce or the birth of children — your plan needs to be updated. The same is true of many minor life changes, like switching investment providers.
Any time these changes occur, you can log into your Trust & Will account and make updates for free for up to one year after creating your original plan.
After that first year, you can pay $39/year for your trust and $19/year for your will to make an unlimited number of updates.
The Pros and Cons of Trust & Will
In my career as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I met a lot of clients who didn’t have an estate plan. Like most people, they were intimidated by what they thought was a complicated and costly process. For years, estate planning was complicated and costly. But like lots of other things, the internet has democratized the process.
Still, there are a few downsides to Trust & Will. Let’s see which way the scale tips.
- The simplicity. Answer a few questions and you’re on your way to creating an estate plan.
- The speed. Most plans can be created in 30 minutes or less.
- The convenience. You can create an estate plan from your computer without meeting with a lawyer.
- The price. Almost anyone can afford to create an estate plan with Trust & Will, which is far cheaper than hiring an estate attorney.
- The service isn’t a la carte, as are some similar services. That means you get all the required documents necessary to create an estate plan when choosing a trust-based or will-based plan. You don’t have to choose each individual document, which can be confusing for a layperson.
- Trust & Will isn’t a law firm. The company itself isn’t a law firm, and therefore, cannot provide you legal advice or guidance.
- Not suitable for complex situations. If your estate is complex, Trust & Will doesn’t offer the level of customization you may need.
- Shipping. It costs $30 to have physical copies of the documents mailed to you, if you need them.
- Recurring fee. There’s an optional annual fee if you have the need to continuously update your Trust & Will documents.
My Experience with Trust & Will
As you may have already, I had a good experience with Trust & Will.
If you gather the necessary information, the entire set-up process can be completed in about 30 minutes, in my case. The cost was hundreds of dollars less than if I had consulted with an estate planning attorney.
Most importantly, updating my estate plan lifted a burden off my shoulders and gave me peace of mind.
My wife and I had discussed updating our plan many times, but we hadn’t taken action for years. A lot has changed since then: our family has grown, we’ve added different investments, and this website has increased in value.
Just as life insurance is a key aspect of ensuring a stable future for your family, a trust or will helps provide certainty about what will happen in a worst-case scenario.
If you’re the type of person who (like me) has put off dealing with your estate planning for far too long, then you won’t be disappointed by the seamless process that Trust & Will provides. It offers an array of easy-to-use online services that will have you set up with online will or trust documents in a fraction of the time (and for a fraction of the cost) associated with traditional legal services providers.
If you decide to try it, use the code VIPFORLIFE to get $10 off.