One-Off or Rare Expenses

A recent family funeral brought the importance of having a will, power of attorney, etc. for me (none currently).  I was at a loss as to how to budget this though.  The amount will be nontrivial enough to want to put it into a proper category.  However, it will just be sitting there as "Legal Fees" with nothing else budgeted (hopefully) for decades. 

Is the recommendation to create a one-off category and then hide it in subsequent months?  Any other solutions for these very rare expenses?



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  • Yes. Create a one-off category.

    Whether you choose to hide it is up to you. I only hide empty categories.

    Like 2
    • nolesrule Thanks.  What's your definition of empty?  If I place even one transaction in there, is that now non-empty forever?  If yes, then what's the point of even saving the category as hidden?  If no, then is it empty the following month when there are no additional expenses?

      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Saish Dawg Empty just means the category has a zero balance. In which case you don't need it taking up space on the budget screen. If it has transactions that you need to see in reports, then don't hide it until you no longer need the category in reports.

    • nolesrule Got it.  That makes sense.  I am not as worried about reporting those one-off expenses, so I think I will fund the category then record the expense and then hide the category.

      Like 1
  • I created a category called "Legal Fees" and put it in there. There's always going to be something every so often that would fit that category.

    Like 1
    • bevocat My hope is not every so often!  :^)

  • My work has a legal benefit thru Hyatt Legal. Might see if you can buy a plan directly from them. Thru work, its 14$ a month and I can have wills, trusts, other legal docs, created. They will not represent you in court under the plan. 

    • Ben K. Cool, thanks for the advice.

  • I use a category called  professional services for legal or accounting services.  For me these are less frequent than annual, more on the five-year recurrence, but definitely not trivial in cost. It's also an important planning category that I like to keep in place for awareness (like my taxes category).  I leave the category in my Life Happens group (e-fund subs) with a few hundred in it. 

    Like 1
    • HappyDance I like that.  More general.  Might get used more often then.  Thanks.

      Like 3
  • I have a general category called Banana Stand that is a catch-all for those one off expenses and I use the memo field to remind me what it was for. Last month it was used for a  legal fee and this month I have money in there to cover baggage costs for an unexpected trip I have to take next week. I hate having to have a bunch of hidden categories.

    Like 1
    • Magenta Commander That's an interesting thought.  My concern, and I'm not sure there's an answer here, is that it feels more like expense tracking than budgeting.  Granted, it's hard by definition to budget or plan for something one-off or rare. 

  • I posted some other thoughts on what to prepare for loved ones at

    • Ben K. Very sage advice.

      Like 1
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