Ok, so we met with the lawyer last night to discuss our wills.  It was pretty interesting.  It took about an hour, he explained all the different documents we need, and we talked about what we have and what we want.  We had already discussed who would get the kids and who we wanted to be in charge of the money and whatnot so he just went ahead and took that info right then. Now we just have to go back in a few weeks and sign the papers.  He is going to have witnesses and a notary there so everything will be done at that point.  Yay!  He charged us $1,200 which also includes helping us fund the trust.

When we had talked on the phone he had said he didn’t think we needed a trust.  Which I was fine with for two reasons, one is that just wills alone is cheaper, two I really didn’t think that our estate is large enough to require a trust.  When you hear “trust fund” you think millions.

But we ended up getting a trust.  It was the only way to leave my daughter anything if my husband and I were to both die.  With just a will my daughter would get 25% of our estate and if she was a minor that would mean my ex would have control of it.  So basically I would be giving my ex 25% of my estate and I’m just not down with that. There wouldn’t be anything left for her by the time she turned 18.

And with life insurance our estate is about 1.2 million.  (wow)  So we are talking about some actual money that could make a difference in a person’s life.  And hopefully our estate will only grow as time goes on.

Here’s how we divvied it up if we both die:

My son is going to my husband’s brother and my daughter is going to her dad.   Originally, we had thought to give control of the trust to my husband’s brother but at the last second decided to give it to my mom.  Two reasons, one it’s a huge job and we’ve already given a huge job to him, two it creates a check and balance of spending the kid’s money.  Two people have to agree that it’s money worth spending.  The caretaker of the kids (be it my ex or my brother in law) would ask my mom when they need money for the kids.  She could decide to give it to them or not.  If my mom is dead then my husband’s brother would get control of the trust.  The check and balance would be gone.  But I do trust him, so it’s not the end of the world.

The kids get their share of the money when they turn 25.  We split it 25% to my daughter and 75% to my son. I know that sounds unfair but here’s my thinking (and I’ve thought about it a lot).  If you look at our estate as half mine and half my husband’s then I split my half evenly between my two kids and my husband gives all his to his son.  That is a 25/75 split.  And you have to remember that my daughter still has a parent, my son doesn’t.

It’s not perfect.  If only one of us dies the other person gets everything.  Which is fine, but then that person has full control over everything and can change the distrubution how ever they want.  But, I trust my husband to the end of the earth and I know he wouldn’t disinherit my daughter or give my son to someone I don’t trust, and I wouldn’t make any changes that I know he would disagree with, so it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

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