My father who i care for from a distance. I go see him once a month. He is sound mind- spinal cord injury. He has stuff going on with his bladder. He went to the doctor but the dr. wants him to go for more tests. Before he will go he wants to have all his documents in order. He relies on me to do this. I've created basic forms from a life insurance program for POA and POA for Health and a will. They need to be signed by a notary. My question is - has anyone had experience using these forms besides what an attorney produces? I called an elder attorney and he wants $220/hr. I don't have that and my dad doesn't either. My dad wants to set up a trust for his grandchildren but he just has a couple life insurance polices and family guns ect. he doesn't own a house. I've heard people say unless you are on a bank account then it takes forever to get access to help. I help my dad pay bills and i know where the check book is. He thinks he will need to go to the hospital and that is bladder cancer. So i'm trying to get this done quick. Any advice i would appreciate. Thank you!

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My answer got away from me before I finished. The last paragraph should read "if you do go the DIY route, for the Will and POAs only....". Definitely don't even try to do a trust by yourself; you could create problems that can't be solved once your father is gone.

With guns and life insurance policies, I doubt there is a need for a trust for the grandchildren.

But who are the beneficiaries of the policies? He could name the grandchildren, but there would have to be someone to manage the funds until they're of age. And that type of custodial arrangement is in fact usually handled through a trust.

Unfortunately, that kind of long term planning is best done with an estate planning attorney who knows the best way to structure funds that won't be available for some years (presumably) until the children are of age.

If you can't find a pro bono attorney, I would spend some time reading about estate planning on the Nolo website. I've relied on them years ago and found their information to be accurate. I haven't spent much time there recently because we do have an estate planning law firm which publishes newsletters, so I get more specific and detailed information through that venue.
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Please be very VERY careful creating your own end of life documents, particularly the will. ONE word in the wrong place and they are invalid. Getting forms online is not a good way to do it, the laws vary by state and are constantly changing. Getting an estate planning lawyer will be the best money you could spend. Creating a trust, and moving/accessing money are not simple things.

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I hope your father doesn't have bladder cancer, but I'm glad to read that he wants to get his affairs in order just in case. He's a wise man!

As to self drafting of estate planning documents, I've always thought it's a really, really bad idea. There are so many issues that aren't addressed in boiler plate documents, especially from some life insurance program.

Do some online research, contact the local county or state bar association by phone or find their websites, and search for pro bono attorneys, especially estate planning clinics.

Sometimes local law schools facilitate assistance by law students to help low income people with their estate plans, and with preparation of documents. They could at least alert you to any specific areas of concern that might require a paid attorney.

Bar associations also generally have lists of pro bono attorneys. In addition, some local communities with senior centers offer nominal programs to consult an attorney for free. This would be ideal, to at least determine if there are issues that require more sophisticated estate planning.

I assume your father wants a trust to provide for the grandchildren either while they're young or until they're adults. That's understandable. However, a DIY trust is well beyond the scope of anyone who's not an attorney. I wouldn't even rely on a paralegal to prepare a trust - and I was one.

There are far too many complicating issues with trusts; this is not a DIY project.

However, if you do go the DIY route, the documents not only need to be witnessed by a notary, but they need to be witnessed by 2 people who aren't beneficiaries, so you can't be a witness.
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