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Just how "vulnerable" are our assets?

Bogleheads • View forum - Personal Finance (Not Investing) - www.bogleheads.org
My wife and I are updating our wills, and the lawyer, after some vacillation, recommended establishing a trust to protect the assets that a surviving spouse, and (our grown) children (and grandchildren) might eventually inherit. I mention vacillation because the lawyer said several times that because our assets are mostly in the form of 401(k)s, the TSP, Roths, and such tax-deferred retirement vehicles, they therefore would be very difficult for some potential litigant to get their hands on. He seemed to be saying that a trust would be best, but that even without a trust, our assets are already fairly well-protected. If we go with the lawyer's recommendation the whole package (wills, trusts, POA, living will, etc.) will cost almost $3,000. Considering that when we had our wills done 13 years ago it cost us about one tenth of that amount, this seems rather dear. Maybe it's not, I don't know. Now, if a trust really is the best thing, then we're ready to spend the money. But how do you decide that sort of thing? Is it mostly a matter of how big the inheritance might be? Or what? And what about the fact that our assets basically consist of our house, two cars, my USG pension (my wife gets half if I go first) and a decent-sized pile of money in tax-deferred retirement accounts? Happy to hear any thoughts as we mull this over.
Date: Feb 11, 2013   


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