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The process and importance of creating a living trust is probably not at the forefront of most people's minds. There seem to be weightier matters to worry about day-to-day, so the thought of death and allocating assets is not something most of us want to spend time figuring out. However, creating a living trust will save time and money in the probate process, allowing your loved ones to take care of your end-of-life affairs without having to wait on a judge.
People of all income levels set up trusts to manage their finances in the event they become disabled or pass away. It allows you to choose who will distribute your property if you're unable to and dictates who will receive assets once you pass away. In the meantime, you remain in complete control of your property. Living trusts help prevent bank issues, avoid probate, and protect your privacy while ensuring everything is legally binding.
Sunday, September 19th
Rocket Lawyer is an online platform with direct access to lawyers for creating a wide variety of legal documents like contractor agreements, quitclaim deeds, eviction notices, living wills, living trusts, and more. Their services cater to audiences who have created legal documents in the past as well as those who are learning the process for the first time. This is our number one recommended site for creating a living trust.
Three Easy Steps
The process of creating a living trust through Rocket Lawyer can be understood by these three easy steps:
Sounds easy enough, right? If you get confused or feel unsure at any of the steps, Rocket Lawyer provides an online chat or you can email or call customer service for help. For an additional fee of $49.99 per question, you can ask a lawyer any legal questions you have as you go.
7-day Free Trial
A trial period is offered that gives customers the ability to use Rocket Lawyer for 7 days without paying. Once the trial is over, the cost per document is $39.99. For each question you ask a lawyer, the fee is $49.99, and for a 30-minute consultation on any legal matter, you will pay $59.99. However, if you will be using Rocket Lawyer's services a lot, it might be in your best interest to pay the monthly $39.99 subscription to become a premium member and have access to free document creation, legal counsel, and consultations with lawyers.
For the average person who isn't familiar with the legal sphere, Rocket Lawyer gives unlimited access to a legal dictionary where you can find hundreds of terms. They also provide help articles about different legal processes and documents you can create on their platform free of charge. They go over what the documents are used for, why they are important, and provide links on how to create them.
Best Option Out There
A downloadable app is available to get access to instant online signatures, ask lawyers questions, and gain anytime access to your legal documents from Rocket Lawyer. Not only do customers have great things to say about the app, but the overall business in general. Rocket Lawyer has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and thousands of reports from customers saying that the service is easy to use, professional, and way less expensive than in-person legal counseling and document creation. For this reason, they have earned our highest ranking among services offering online living trust creation.
LegalZoom was born in 1999 as a way to make legal help more widely available to all Americans, not just those who are wealthy. They are backed by attorneys who review all documents created through their service and can answer customer questions. They provide sample documents to view so you know what you can expect before paying for anything. We appreciate that LegalZoom highlights the price of their services right on the front page and is transparent in every way.
Easy Creation Process
To create your living trust, you'll answer a series of questions about who you want to settle your affairs, what you want to leave to charities or your loved ones, and who you choose as a guardian for your children. Next, your answers will be plugged into the living trust document and you can either print it right away, or have a lawyer review it with you over the phone. Lastly, you'll finalize your living trust by transferring ownership of your assets and changing titles to the name of your trust. Once everything is signed, your assets are "owned" by the living trust, but you still maintain complete control of all your property.
Three Package Options
The cost for a living trust starts at $279. This is a do-it-yourself option that's easy to personalize. If you want legal advice along the way, you can pay $299 and get two weeks worth of assistance after your purchase. This plan auto-renews at $14.99/month unless cancelled. The third package is the estate plan bundle that costs $329. It includes a living trust, financial power of attorney, and living well along with one year of legal help. It also auto-renews for $119.88 annually unless cancelled. Thanks to LegalZoom's100% satisfaction guarantee, if you are unsatisfied with your experience for any reason, you have 60 days to contact them and have a refund processed.
Starting at $31.25/month, you can get 30-minute attorney consultations on new legal matters, have legal documents reviewed (up to 10 pages), get an annual business evaluation, receive unlimited downloads from the legal form library, and get access to LegalZoom discounts. In addition to having attorneys on hand, a knowledge center is available with hundreds of articles that explain legal procedures, offer tips, and provide legal definitions.
To boost your confidence about using LegalZoom, they have over 1,000 reviews online and have served over 4 million customers. People say they have reliable and affordable experiences, work with great reps, and felt that the service was professional from beginning to end. The Better Business Bureau gives them an "A+" rating. Although they are a bit more expensive than our first choice, LegalZoom is a fantastic option for creating your living trust.
US Legal Forms was founded in 1997 by attorneys. They have over 85,000 state-specific legal forms that customers can choose from when taking care of their legal proceedings. The Better Business Bureau has given them an "A+" rating and they've received many awards over the years for their expertise in the legal forms industry.
Category-specific Living Trusts
Before creating a living trust with US Legal Forms, you must select the state you live in and the type of trust you need. Examples are a living trust with a husband and wife with minor and/or adult children, a living trust for husband and wife with no children, a living trust for a single, divorced, or widow/widower with no children, and so forth. Once you've identified the category that you fall under, select the document type and view the preview of the document. Once you're ready, you can purchase the living trust template.
To use the templates from US Legal Forms, you have to pay a subscription fee. There are two plans: basic and premium. Basic is $8/month and gives full access to over 85,000 legal forms with banking-level data security. The premium plan is $15/month and comes with everything in the basic plan plus an online PDF filler and editable form filler, the ability to sign and send documents online, and completion services for a last will, power of attorney, and living will. You can deactivate your account and cancel your subscriptions at any time.
100% Happiness Guarantee
If you're unhappy with anything to do with your experience with US Legal Forms or the product itself, you can receive a full refund through their 100% money-back guarantee. All you have to do is contact customer service to get it taken care of. The best way to reach them is by phone.
One of the first things we noticed about US Legal Forms is that their website is uninviting. There are no graphics, but only long lists of information that would quickly put most anyone to sleep. This is definitely a no-nonsense, zero-frills company. This might make it harder for some people to understand the living trust creation process and follow it through to the end.
Despite their website being a bit of an eyesore, people have reasonably good things to say about working with US Legal Forms. People say that communication with customer service is great, the software is self-explanatory, and documentation holds up in court. This is an inexpensive, straightforward, practical site for creating a living trust, so it's not the most exciting option, but it is still a good one.
LawDepot was established in 2001 and initially only provided promissory notes. They've grown to offer over 150 document templates that can be used in all 50 states. LawDepot describes themselves as "the leading publisher of do-it-yourself legal documents, forms, and contracts." They have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, TIME, The Washington Post, Women's Health, Los Angeles Times, and Mint.
Answer A Series Of Questions
Before creating a living trust, you are able to see a draft version of the document before being prompted with a series of questions that are used to fill it out. You'll go through a series of questions and respond with the relevant information needed in your document. The questions follow this outline:
A free account is required to create and save the documents you make through LawDepot. A trial period is available free of charge for 7 days. Upfront you'll be asked to provide credit card information in order to begin the trial because once the week is up, you are billed $33/month until you cancel. If you prefer to pay yearly, rather than on a monthly basis, the pro package costs $95.88/year. If you only need to create a couple of documents, you could pay for them individually, which ranges from $7.50 to $39. Unfortunately, we found that the individual document costs are not clearly labeled upfront and you may have to create the entire living trust or any other document you're making before finding out what you'll be charged.
Free Resources To Take Advantage Of
If you need assistance throughout the process of creating your living trust online, customer service is available via email, online chat, or by calling the help center. A blog containing over 78 pages of help articles is free to browse through. We wish the series of blog posts were searchable because it would take a while for you to narrow down the articles relevant to your interest. A free law library is also available that outlines the workings of different legal procedures and why you might need to create a document for them. Unlike the blog, the law library is both searchable and organized by topic.
LawDepot is not accredited and no longer rated by the Better Business Bureau. Luckily there are over 3,000 customer reviews online that have excellent things to say about the service. Customer satisfaction is definitely not an issue, but the reasons this site did not earn a higher rating is because the pricing is not straightforward and they do not provide details about their team behind-the-scenes who make sure everything is up to legal standards. You may have a more transparent experience using one of the higher-ranked legal document creation services for your living trust.
Nolo has been providing legal document assistance to customers since 1971. They have sold over 10 million do-it-yourself products and have close to 10,000 local attorneys in their network. They have one of the internet's largest libraries of legal information available for free. Their mission is to help consumers and small businesses find answers to everyday legal and business questions.
Several Trust-related Documents Included
Nolos' Living Trust software costs $79.99. The forms included in the software are individual living trust, shared living trust, certification of trust, restatement of trust, revocation of trust, and letter to successor trustee. With Nolo's Living Trust, you can create:
The nice thing about owning Nolo's software is that you can make unlimited changes to your living trust. Your situation may change over the years and adjustments will need to be made. Rather than having to go online and make an entirely new living trust, you can simply use your Nolo software to make any edits you desire.
There are some system requirements for running Nolo's Living Trust software. If you choose to buy the product, it will only run on a computer of 1 GHz or higher, and an operating system of Windows 8/8.1/10 or macOS 10.12 or higher. The software will take up 6.21 MB of free space and you will need an internet connection to receive updates and access to NoloCloud.
Free Online Tools
Something unique about Nolo is the amount of free resources that customers can access on their website. One of our favorites was the calculator tool where you can choose a financing topic and use their calculator to plug in numbers and get financial help. For example, you can find estimates on everything from how much you can afford to borrow to how much you need to fund your retirement. There are over 45 different topics that would prove useful to you no matter your stage of life. Another helpful resource for users is the "Find a Lawyer" page. Here you can choose a legal topic and the state you live in to view a list of lawyers that deal in cases of that nature. To go along with this, Nolo has a page that gives tips on hiring the right lawyer for you.
Good, Not Great
Nolo has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). On some other sites, customers have given poor reviews, but they primarily reference Nolo's Lawyer Directory, intended to connect you with attorneys who will compete for your business. There aren't many people who have left feedback about Nolo's software products, but this might be because software in general is slightly outdated and there are so many higher-rated legal document creation companies that allow you to create a living trust straight from their website within minutes. Although Nolo isn't a bad option for creating a living trust, it is one of the most expensive, so we recommend trying a higher-rated service first.
FindLegalForms, Inc was founded in 2001. Two California attorneys who had been running a successful law practice decided to launch the website in order to provide low-cost legal forms for clients. They provide over 20,000 legal documents for individuals as well as businesses who need affordable access to documents that meet state regulations. Their website isn't the prettiest we've seen, but it does the job.
Which Option To Choose?
The layout of FindLegalForms' website might seem confusing initially. There are so many options for living trusts that it's hard to know exactly where to begin. They have a "Most Popular" tab with a long list of options as well as categories for living trust amendments, living trusts for single persons or individual spouse, living trust revocations, living trusts for married couples, revocable living trust kits for married couples, and revocable living trust kits for single persons or an individual spouse. So which one do you choose? You'll want to carefully read each description until you find the living trust that fits your circumstances.
More For Less
There is also the option of purchasing a combo kit from FindLegalForms, which they say is the best value. This means that you get three forms: the living trust, the living trust amendment, and the living trust revocation. If you purchase these documents individually, the cost is $19.95, but if you buy the combo kit with all three, you'll only pay $39.95.
You can view a sample form of all the available documents from FindLegalForms. To purchase the living trust document or combo kit of your choice, you simply select the state you live in and add it to your cart. The file types include Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, WordPerfect, and Rich Text Format. They are compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. All the documents come with eSignature, which means you don't have to print anything out, but rather you can sign your legal documents straight from your computer.
Needs Not Met? Get Your Money Back.
All of the documents available for purchase from FindLegalForms come with a 100% money-back guarantee. If you purchase a product that does not match your expectations or meet your needs, they will issue you a refund - no questions asked. To qualify, you'll need to contact customer service within 60 days to work out your refund.
Pay Attention To Detail
Some of our higher-rated legal document creation sites have a lot of customer feedback about how smooth their process was with the company. There isn't as much information from customers about FindLegalForms, but the Better Business Bureau does give them an "A+" rating. One thing to watch out for if you use this service is the sneaky subscription service that some people have complained about. If you don't decline secure online storage and editing in a pop-out window when checking out, you will be auto-subscribed to a monthly program. Unfortunately, the page outlining what comes with the subscription is broken, so we would recommend just opting out of it altogether.
Not Our Favorite
FindLegalForms has all the documentation available that you'd need for creating a living trust. They don't have the most appealing website and it would be nice if they had a more detailed process to explain to customers which forms they need, but overall it is simple enough. This isn't our favorite site for creating a living trust, but you don't have much to lose by using their services either.
As their name suggests, FreeWill is a company that primarily focuses on helping people create wills. They say that 70% of adults in the US do not have a will, so they've built a simple tool for people to create important legal documents without the high costs. They've been featured by Forbes, The New York Times, Reuters, Yahoo, AARP, and others.
4 Types Of Documents
FreeWill is straightforward because there are only four types of legal documents you can create on their platform: a last will and testament, power of attorney, advance healthcare directive, or a living trust. Before creating your living trust, you'll be asked to provide the reason behind it (e.g. updating an existing estate plan, recently had a major life event, concerned about current events, recently made a major purchase, etc). You'll have the option of leaving a financial gift to a nonprofit. Next you'll begin to follow a series of prompts and fill in all relevant information necessary to complete your living trust.
Standard Living Trust Creation Process
The categories of information you'll provide for your living trust include basic information, nominees, residuary, property, custodians, funeral, provisions, and a final review. This is similar to other online living trust creation processes. If you have any questions on what some of the legal terms mean as you fill out your living trust, you can reference FreeWill's glossary as you go.
Free Living Trust Creation - Only In California
The real seller for using FreeWill is that their services are free. That means absolutely no cost to you! On the flip side, the kicker is that it's only available to California residents. This is extremely limiting and will make it so most people throughout the US cannot use their services. However, if you're interested in making a traditional will instead of a living trust through FreeWill, they cater to most of the United States.
Great Service, Not Available For Everyone
Unfortunately, FreeWill does not have a Better Business profile, so we can't go off of a rating there. Luckily there are over 1,300 customer reviews other places online, and most have nothing but good things to say about the service. People said the process was easy to follow, the experience was fast, and of course, people love that the service is free. Since you aren't paying for this service, you have nothing to lose by using it. However, the fact that it's only available to California residents is the main reason they've earned a low rating from us. Hopefully they'll continue to expand and be available to more people throughout the US in the future.
TOPS is based out of Lexington, Kentucky. They do not create and sell their own products, but rather is a middle-man store that connects customers with items from other companies to meet their needs. They sell binders, folders, notepads, notebooks, envelopes, index cards, folders, and more. Initially they stand out more as an office supply company. They represent seven core brands (Pendaflex, Oxford, Adams, Quality Park, Cardinal, AMPAD, and TOPS) to boost productivity and help you organize your life.
Many Different Products
Of the many categories of products sold at TOPS, one of them is estate planning forms. There are 129 results for this, so it may take a bit of searching to make sure you find exactly what you're looking for. If it's easier, you could just type "living trust'" in their search bar and narrow down the listings to 45 results.
What To Buy, What To Buy?
The results for living trusts are products that come from the companies Nolo and Adams. When it comes to deciding which of the forms to purchase, all we can say is "good luck." But seriously, be sure to carefully read the description of each item since some are designated for use only in certain states and others contain forms you might not be in need of.
Step-by-step Process Not Listed
The prices for the living trust products available from TOPS range from $9.95 to $58.87. The more expensive products come with all the forms you need for your living trust, while the less expensive documents are one form, one-use only and cannot be changed after download. The procedures required to fill in your information and download your living trust are not clearly listed on this site, so whether or not it's an easy process is a mystery.
Stick With A Higher-rated Site
Legal forms are definitely not TOPS' bread-and-butter, so this is more of a last ditch option. The fillable documents they provide are available through other higher-rated companies that make the process more straightforward, so it seems logical to go that route. TOPS does not have a Better Business Bureau rating and there isn't customer feedback on their legal forms, so we wouldn't recommend creating your living trust here.
Maybe you haven't gotten around to creating a living trust because you're not sure where to start. If this is the case for you, you've come to the right place. This process has gotten easier over time with the ease of online services to walk you through all the steps. You don't need to sit down with a lawyer and spend hundreds of dollars to work out your legal affairs. Online legal services give you access to remote lawyers who will ensure your living trust documents meet all necessary requirements at little cost to you.
Most online services will give you a step-by-step explanation of what information you need to provide on your legal documents and why. Some providers also have round-the-clock access to customer service agents who will make sure you are confident and comfortable with the process of creating your living trust.
When browsing through the selection of online living trust services, here are a few important things to be on the lookout for:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online legal services to help you create your living trust. We hope this information helps you gain peace of mind as you tackle this important task!
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