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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 118252
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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My father and mother had simple wills drawn up many years

Customer Question

My father and mother had simple wills drawn up many years leaving their estates to each other. Oddly I can't find anywhere in the will listing their children as alternate beneficiaries. I have 3 sibling, age ranges from 61 to 44. In December my father died so everything was fine, as my mother inherited everything without too much difficulty. Now it is time for her to get an updated will, and I have researched and am recommending a trust. My siblings and mother are in agreement with the idea, as I explained that it would avoid probate taxes which a simple would not.
My mother "estate" is a modest home in Pensylvania (paid off), a car (worth maybe $5,000.00), and 2 IRA's totaling approx. $25,000. One of us children will be chosen to be the trustee, with another as an alternate.
I have been through the trust process in California and have contacts here for that, but as I understand it this would need done by a lawyer licensed for Pennsylvania. Since this seems like such a simple trust (not many assets) I was wondering if the cost is less than the friends who have gotten them done here in California. Here the cost was about $1500. It seems a little higher than we would like. I have also seen that the website Legalzoom can do trusts, though I know my mother would probably feel better dealing with a person face to face.
Do you think the trust idea is a good to save some tax expense?
Can you give my any idea of what cost ranges I might expect?
Is there a difference in the size of the estate?
Thank you for any and all advice regarding this matter.
Jon Cooper
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Actually, you need to not only have a lawyer in PA draft the trust, you need to make sure it is an irrevocable trust to protect all of the assets from any creditors, including medicaid in case she needs long term care. The trust would save probate expenses and would protect the assets from things like medicaid recover and creditors. It really will not save much in taxes unless you use a generation skipping trust, meaning it goes to the grandchildren and not the children. However, that should not stop you from doing the trust as it is the best protection tool they have. Protection of the home alone is worth doing the trust.
The cost of having a trust done is about $2000-$4000, depending on how complex the trust is and the size of the estate.