Thanks for the question. You don't have to have an attorney prepare your will and revocable trust, but it is a very, very good idea. For example, your online forms likely simply split the property 50/50. Under Pennsylvania law, your 10-year-old will receive his inheritance when he is 18, if you die in the short-term. How many 18-year-olds do you know who can manage their money wisely? Ideally, a sub-trust is created for each of your children until they reach an age where they can manage their money (such as 30 or 35).
If you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney, he or she will walk through this issue, as well as many others. Your documents will be properly prepared and executed. The cost will also be relatively reasonable given your desire to simply do a 50/50 split. Good luck to you.
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I would also suggest meeting with an attorney to discuss your matter. While trusts and wills created online are often fully legal and effective documents, an online program will not necessarily be able to adequately tailor the documents to your specific needs. An online program will generally give you a standard, form document with your information plugged in. However, an online program will not be able to make suggestions about whether there is a better way to handle your assets.
The costs to hire the attorney in the short term may outweigh the costs later should something happen and the documents don't meet your long-term needs.
These materials were not intended to facilitate the creation of an attorney-client relationship, and should not be construed as legal advice. These materials are provided for informational purposes only.
In my opinion, people that peddle online Wills and Trusts are as disreputable as attorneys who provide poor work and charge too much. Estate planning is more than "filling in the blanks". Your situation is not as simple as you think. You have two children - one who is a minor and one, although an adult, is still quite young. In addition, you have life insurance which does not automatically pass through a Will or Trust. Also, you have done quite well as you have a house which is paid in full. Your efforts should be honored by working with an attorney who can insure that your estate is distributed in a prudent manner to your children and can guide you in selecting proper fiduciaries for your estate planning documents. On the one hand, people should not overpay for legal services. On the other hand, I have seen too many problems that result from online programs. Treat yourself the way you deserve.
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