A/B trust do-it-yourself?

Discussion in 'Financial Planning' started by joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Hi folks,
    My wife and I own our home in California and have good retirement
    accounts.
    I think we would benefit from an A/B trust. Can I establish an A/B
    trust and put
    our assets into it by myself, or is this something an intelligent non-
    lawyer always
    pays a lawyer to do?
    thanks!
    Joe
     
    joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom, Mar 28, 2011
    #1
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  2. joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom

    Dave Dodson Guest

    On Mar 28, 2:04 pm, joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom
    <> wrote:
    > I think we would benefit from an A/B trust. Can I establish an A/B
    > trust and put our assets into it by myself, or is this something an
    > intelligent non-lawyer always pays a lawyer to do?


    Nolo Press has some do-it-yourself information about this at nolo.com,
    and also some books, I think.

    Whether do-it-yourself is a good idea or not is not easy to answer.
    Problems probably won't be discovered until you are dead and can't fix
    them.

    As I understand it, the current federal estate tax laws do not start
    taxing inheritances until $5 million, and any unused portion of the
    estate of the first to die is transferred to the surviving spounse, so
    maybe it is moot until 2013. Who knows what Congress will do with
    those limits in two years.

    Ask at misc.legal.moderated for another opinion.

    Dave
     
    Dave Dodson, Mar 28, 2011
    #2
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  3. "joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi folks,
    > My wife and I own our home in California and have good retirement
    > accounts.
    > I think we would benefit from an A/B trust. Can I establish an A/B
    > trust and put
    > our assets into it by myself, or is this something an intelligent non-
    > lawyer always
    > pays a lawyer to do?
    > thanks!
    > Joe



    It isn't that most folks aren't smart enough to do this on their own.
    Rather, its more that this is one of those areas where its best to use a
    professional, if for no other reason than because WHEN a question will arise
    about what something means it will happen AFTER you're dead. Its very hard
    to get dead folks to answer questions.

    I'd recommend that you get some info on A/B trusts, maybe buy a DIY kit from
    someone like NOLO Press and go over the paperwork. Maybe even draft up your
    own version so you'll understand what kind of information is needed. Then
    go visit a trust lawyer to get the real version done. This way you won't
    spend 3 hours thinking about answers to questions, you'll be better
    prepared.

    Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA
     
    Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA, Mar 29, 2011
    #3
  4. joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom

    Pico Rico Guest

    "Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA" <> wrote in message
    news:imt3cq$der$...
    >
    > "joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Hi folks,
    >> My wife and I own our home in California and have good retirement
    >> accounts.
    >> I think we would benefit from an A/B trust. Can I establish an A/B
    >> trust and put
    >> our assets into it by myself, or is this something an intelligent non-
    >> lawyer always
    >> pays a lawyer to do?
    >> thanks!
    >> Joe

    >
    >
    > It isn't that most folks aren't smart enough to do this on their own.
    > Rather, its more that this is one of those areas where its best to use a
    > professional, if for no other reason than because WHEN a question will
    > arise about what something means it will happen AFTER you're dead. Its
    > very hard to get dead folks to answer questions.



    I'd say that the most important reason to hire a pro is that he might bring
    up issues you hadn't thought of. Of course, for a simple A/B trust, the
    "pros" are not all that professional. The real pros work on much more
    interesting estate plans.
     
    Pico Rico, Mar 29, 2011
    #4
  5. joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom

    Don Guest

    On Mar 29, 11:03 am, "Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA"
    <> wrote:

    > It isn't that most folks aren't smart enough to do this on their own.
    > Rather, its more that this is one of those areas where its best to use a
    > professional, if for no other reason than because WHEN a question will arise
    > about what something means it will happen AFTER you're dead.  Its very hard
    > to get dead folks to answer questions.



    That is certainly wise when the problem faced is complex and contains
    pitfalls of which only a professional is aware. In issues that arise
    in medicine, law, tax accounting, engineering, etc. it is generally a
    sensible and safe way to proceed. A difficulty that arises in
    investment, finance, and various other kinds of services, however, is
    that there are a lot of people pretending to be "professionals," who
    in reality should be thought of as salesmen, or sometimes worse,
    scamsters.

    I believe those pretenders are numerous enough in the financial realm
    such that the job of finding a true "professional" to help with
    investments carries considerable risk. I would suggest the main focus
    should be on insuring a FIDUCIARY relationship. What you want is a
    knowledgeable professional who is subject to severe sanctions if he or
    she acts in any way that conflicts with your own best interests and is
    motivated by fear of what can actually happen by doing otherwise.
     
    Don, Mar 29, 2011
    #5
  6. joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom

    Bill Guest

    In the case of financial professionals I agree but the A/B trust is a
    legal issue. If the OP finds an attorney who is certified by his state
    bar association as an estate and trust specialist he should be
    confident in getting someone competent.

    --
    .Bill.
     
    Bill, Mar 30, 2011
    #6
  7. joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom

    Don Guest

    On Mar 29, 4:34 pm, "Bill" <> wrote:

    > In the case of financial professionals I agree but the A/B trust is a
    > legal issue. If the OP finds an attorney who is certified by his state
    > bar association as an estate and trust specialist he should be
    > confident in getting someone competent.


    Agreed! But the advice to "see a professional," although commonly made
    in financial newsgroups and certainly wise in specific circumstances,
    can be misinterpreted by novices to imply that anybody advertising to
    provide advice is a professional.
     
    Don, Mar 30, 2011
    #7
  8. joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom

    ps56k Guest

    "joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi folks,
    > My wife and I own our home in California and have good retirement
    > accounts.
    > I think we would benefit from an A/B trust. Can I establish an A/B
    > trust and put
    > our assets into it by myself, or is this something an intelligent non-
    > lawyer always
    > pays a lawyer to do?
    > thanks!
    > Joe
    >


    having gone thru all this with my wife's parents and their real estate
    holdings,
    one MAJOR thing has come to light....

    In my observation - there are really 3 steps involved with any Trust
    arrangement,
    and one HUGE mis-understanding.... at least by myself.

    1 - setup the Trust agreement - which is merely a paper doc filed with a
    local state.
    2 - re-assign, convey, or transfer assets to the Trust as the "owner"
    3 - this is the kicker - keep a really good file of what is actually in the
    Trust

    I had thought that the Trust was like some kind of account,
    and you would then be able to see all the items listed out in the "Trust"
    account.
    This is not true.... you have to do it all on your own.

    My wife's parents had setup the Trust, but NEVER actually transferred
    anything.
    When they died - we all thought the Trust was set.... it was just a useless
    piece of paper.
    It's taken several years to get all the properties transferred into the
    Trust - only in name -

    SO - correct me if I'm wrong - but the biggest part of the Trust,
    is actually having someone keep track of exactly what is in the Trust -
     
    ps56k, Apr 9, 2011
    #8
  9. joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom

    Pico Rico Guest

    "ps56k" <> wrote in message
    news:inpllj$44e$...
    >
    > "joeDOTweinsteinATgmailDOTcom" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >> Hi folks,
    >> My wife and I own our home in California and have good retirement
    >> accounts.
    >> I think we would benefit from an A/B trust. Can I establish an A/B
    >> trust and put
    >> our assets into it by myself, or is this something an intelligent non-
    >> lawyer always
    >> pays a lawyer to do?
    >> thanks!
    >> Joe
    >>

    >
    > having gone thru all this with my wife's parents and their real estate
    > holdings,
    > one MAJOR thing has come to light....
    >
    > In my observation - there are really 3 steps involved with any Trust
    > arrangement,
    > and one HUGE mis-understanding.... at least by myself.
    >
    > 1 - setup the Trust agreement - which is merely a paper doc filed with a
    > local state.
    > 2 - re-assign, convey, or transfer assets to the Trust as the "owner"
    > 3 - this is the kicker - keep a really good file of what is actually in
    > the Trust
    >
    > I had thought that the Trust was like some kind of account,
    > and you would then be able to see all the items listed out in the "Trust"
    > account.
    > This is not true.... you have to do it all on your own.
    >
    > My wife's parents had setup the Trust, but NEVER actually transferred
    > anything.
    > When they died - we all thought the Trust was set.... it was just a
    > useless piece of paper.
    > It's taken several years to get all the properties transferred into the
    > Trust - only in name -
    >
    > SO - correct me if I'm wrong - but the biggest part of the Trust,
    > is actually having someone keep track of exactly what is in the Trust -


    yes, that is the biggest part of any trust, any business, any household,
    etc. Few things in life are "set it and forget it".

    And, I am unaware that the trust instrument (document) has to be "filed with
    a local state". Or anywhere else.


    ======================================= MODERATOR'S COMMENT:
    Please trim the post to which you respond. "Trim" means that except for some brief material to provide context for your remarks, the previous post is deleted. Thank you.
     
    Pico Rico, Apr 9, 2011
    #9
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