Author Topic: Estate Planning - Anything missing?  (Read 2243 times)

eyePod

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Estate Planning - Anything missing?
« on: December 14, 2015, 08:37:33 AM »
So my work provides a legal service that I overlooked for years. The thing is, it's $21 per month and I can cancel it next year. So we plan on going through and getting all of our ducks in a row.

Married, two kids.

Here's our list of documents we want to generate. Wondering if we need something else. Assume two for some of them (my wife and I) for ones that aren't estate specific.

Will
Living Will
Power of Attorney

I'm not sure if we'll set up a trust too.

I've found this resource (http://www.legalzoom.com/personal/estate-planning/compare.html) and guess we need everything, but I'm not 100% sure. Anything that's not really necessary?

Can't believe we can get all of this for under $250. So fantastic. I'll be calling early January!

Sylly

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Re: Estate Planning - Anything missing?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2015, 09:38:11 AM »
We just did this, though we procrastinated enough that it took us a whole year of paying the legal service instead of getting it done in the first month or two. ::facepunch self::

The list on that link seems to cover everything we had.

If you go to a lawyer who's well versed in estate planning (like we did), he should know what all the standard stuff you'd want and need, and may be able to suggest what else, if any, is appropriate for your situation.

Spork

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Re: Estate Planning - Anything missing?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2015, 09:42:26 AM »
I'm zero help, but it's on my todo list.  Posting to follow.

mxt0133

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Re: Estate Planning - Anything missing?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 10:58:58 AM »
Things of the tip of my head:

Health care directive
Side letter
Alternates for power of attorney, health care directives, ect.
Review who the beneficiaries are and make them as tax efficient as possible, try and avoid probate for your assets

How old are you children?  If you they are close to being independent then a trust is not as important, however if they have a decade or so to go then maybe you should reconsider. 

Remember it depends on who you leave your money to, if you leave it to the guardians and even if they would never misuse the funds it will be theirs and if they are sued or come into financial hardship then the funds intended to be used for your children are at risk.

MrsPete

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Re: Estate Planning - Anything missing?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2015, 08:09:39 AM »
We did all this last year through our credit union, and it was about the same price.  We did wills, power of attorney and medical power of attorney (which is a health care directive).  We opted not to put money into a trust.  Our wills are written in such a way that we don't have to re-do them ... ever.  We probably will add a -- is codicil the right word? -- when we have grandchildren because we would name them specifically and give them a portion of our estate, but the documents even specify who gets our money if we AND our children should all die together. 

Here's how it worked for us: 

- We met with a credit union employee who "walked us through" quite a few questions concerning our estate -- some questions we hadn't yet considered, and some we couldn't answer.  This gave us a chance to go home and talk through our options.
- A month later we met with the attorney, who wrote up the official documents and then filed them on our behalf.  He gave us advice on various details -- some of which we accepted, some of which we didn't, but he discussed the pros and cons of each choice with us. 

What we didn't get by using the credit union /the low price was speed.  When I made the appointment to speak to the first man, we had to wait something like 3 weeks, and then it was several months before the attorney made it to our county.  We didn't actually think this was a bad thing:  As I said, the first interview brought up a number of questions, which we could not answer ... and we were glad to have time in which to reflect and discuss.  But someone else in different circumstances might want to hurry the process along, and we couldn't do that for the budget price. 

After writing these documents, we then put together a notebook to our adult children, which tells them how to access our will and "walks them through" what we'd want them to do:  Funeral wishes, etc.  We included copies of our birth certificates, our last two tax returns, maps of our properties, a list of the bills we pay, a list of our investments and account #s -- and probably other things too; we put real effort into this -- so they'll be able to finish out our final estate with minimal trouble.  We decided we'll update these documents every year when we do our tax returns.  At some point we'll add sons-in-law and grandchildren to our letter. 

Depending upon your children's ages, you might need more.  If your children are young, you absolutely should spell out who would care for them if you were both to die.  This is probably more important than anything else.


eyePod

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Re: Estate Planning - Anything missing?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2015, 04:33:12 AM »
This info is awesome. We have to pay the legal services for the whole year, but can cancel it around normal healthcare renewal time.
Our kids are young and we've told everyone our wishes (good luck aunt! Hah!) But want to get it all in writing.

aj_yooper

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Re: Estate Planning - Anything missing?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2015, 05:18:24 AM »
We bought some property out of state so we opted to do a living trust, which avoids probate in Florida, a costly lawyer state.  In addition, we have  pour over wills, health care directives, and health care powers of attorney.  We opted only for a will, beneficiaries, transfer on death, etc. until we had the extra property.

If it is the same price to you, I would also do the trust, just in case things change in your finances.