Gentreo is an online estate planning tool that lets people create wills and other estate planning documents without the help of an attorney. Gentreo’s $100 fee plus $50 recurring subscription costs are much less than an attorney will charge. Yet you can prepare, in addition to a last will and testament, documents establishing a revocable living trust, power of attorney, healthcare proxy and additional documents to provide for and protect pets. If you have additional questions about estate planning, a financial advisor can help.
Gentreo is a do-it-yourself estate planning tool that allows people to prepare legally valid documents used in estate planning without hiring an attorney. For much less money than a licensed attorney would charge, anyone can provide for distributing their assets, taking care of beneficiaries and otherwise accommodating their wishes. The work can be completed in minutes without leaving one’s home.
To use the software, you respond to a series of questions presented in an interview format. Names, amounts and other information are typed in and transferred to templates. The resulting documents are personalized as well as tailored to local laws in each state.
Users can download and print out completed documents. The software provides instructions on how to get them signed, notarized and filed to make them official. Documents are also stored in the cloud in a digital vault so they are secure and can be easily shared with others.
Gentreo is sold as a subscription. The first year costs $100. After that, it charges an annual subscription fee of $50.
Gentreo users can employ all the basic estate planning documents and a few extras. Here’s a list of the documents Gentreo can help you prepare:
- Will: With the Gentreo template you can nominate an executor of your estate, make specific gifts of property and cash to your beneficiaries as well as name guardians for minor children,
- Revocable living trust: This document can transfer assets to beneficiaries while bypassing the lengthy and costly process of probate.
- Financial power of attorney: Use this to name someone who can make financial decisions for you if you are not able.
- Healthcare proxy: With this document, called in some states a medical power of attorney, you name a person to make medical decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated.
- Living will: A living will let you set forth the types of medical treatments and care to be employed if you become terminally ill.
- Pet trust: A trust can also be used to provide for a pet after you are gone.
- Pet power of attorney: This names someone to make decisions for your pet after you are gone.
Gentreo’s built-in documents are adequate for most estate plans and are similar to those included in other do-it-yourself estate planning tools. It’s not necessary to use this or any other tool. Some of these documents, such as the last will and testament, can be prepared without any cost or equipment other than a pen and paper. People also use free, no-cost downloadable fill-in-the-blank templates to prepare their estate planning documents.
Many estates won’t need all these documents. Gentreo doesn’t sell them individually, however. But one benefit to its approach is that the company tracks changes in state laws and requirements and keeps its forms updated.
Gentreo’s user interface is simple, clean and easy to use. The question-and-answer format is clearly presented and uncomplicated. While it can be used on a small screen, there is no smartphone app. A user can likely create a will in less than half an hour and other documents are similarly quick to prepare. The company provides clear instructions as well as a resource center with details about the estate planning process.
As a standardized tool, Gentreo’s limited number of options means it isn’t as flexible as working with an attorney would be. However, it can accommodate most estate planning situations likely to arise. For instance, users can name guardians as well as backups to those guardians in case the first choice is not available.
For users who need the assistance of a human, Gentreo provides a limited amount of chat support with a coach as part of its subscription. Users can also reach support by phone or email. And if someone wants to consult with a licensed lawyer, the company will refer them to partner attorneys who will charge discounted fees.
Online storage provides protection against loss while making it easy to share documents with others. Planners can also access the uploaded documents to update or modify them at any time. Users can also download and print out documents as soon as they are complete, so they can prepare them for signing and keep copies at home.
Gentreo’s cost is similar to other estate planning consumer tools. You can get a full refund if you ask within seven days of purchase. After that, the annual subscription fee will be charged a year later unless you cancel. Canceling deletes documents in the digital vault.
The Bottom Line
Gentreo is a good option for people who are planning estates that are no more complicated than most. It’s less suitable for people with unusual needs or who have estates large enough to trigger the estate tax. Extra features include an online vault for storing and sharing documents and special support for pet-related estate planning tasks.
Tips for Estate Planning
- Planning your estate can go much more smoothly and quickly with the help of a financial advisor. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- The federal estate tax is only levied on estates larger than $12.92 million, which adjusts upward annually to reflect inflation. The tax only applies to the part of the estate that exceeds this floor. The rate depends on the dollar amount being taxed and ranges from 18% up to 40%.
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