Author Topic: Estate planning; you are all alone...  (Read 4568 times)

Holyoak

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Estate planning; you are all alone...
« on: January 31, 2015, 10:58:37 AM »
Not exactly my situation, but close.  I have a brother and sister very far from me, and A 20 y/o daughter far away at school.  I move so much, that I really never have many new friends, and all my good ones are very far away.  I don't want to burden any of them with my passing, so lets assume I am totally alone, know no one, have no one to do any of this for me; where do you start, as I could drop dead tomorrow.

When I was married, I had a will, power of attorney, and everything seemed taken care of.  Now I have no will, and most of my assets are easily transferable (VG IRA and taxable accounts, some checking/savings accounts, stock portfolio. 401k) and all have my daughter listed as the main beneficiary for 100%...  Should be pretty easy for her with a death cert to simply have them transferred over?  I do have vehicles, and I rent, so my stuff in the rental home would need to be dealt with...  How do you do what I am asking?  Who do you hire?  I would really like to keep attorney use zero, or as close to zero considering my experience with them.  Is there another way?

I kinda figured I could have the Salvation Army or some such take the cars as a willed donation, and if I bought a home, would a reverse mortgage be OK, so there is no PITA home to deal with after I'm gone???  How would my stuff get taken out/by who and dealt with?  This situation has really been eating at me, and I hate to think I will burden anyone if I don't prepare.  I want to as much as possible leave my daughter with cash/investments, not stuff, which I have little of. Thanks for the help.

Capsu78

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2015, 11:12:16 AM »
One free "resource" would be to stop at a local funeral home and ask for some pre need information- sort of reverse engineer your situation- No need to buy anything up front, but asking the director if he has any thoughts on what/how  to organize and you might be surprised that since they are around the process all the time they might offer you some "localized" thoughts.  Having your end of life pre organized is the first valuable gift you can give you daughter.  Commit to giving that funeral home your business and you have an "interested advocate" to talk with. 

Bob W

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2015, 01:35:14 PM »
Check amazon for some good titles on this.  You need to be ejumicated.

Villanelle

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2015, 01:45:42 PM »
Are you certain your daughter wouldn't *want* to go through your things?  It might be worth asking her.  I'd be devastated if my parents had their place emptied out before I could go in and retrieve a few silly, nearly valueless things. 


former player

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2015, 02:53:48 PM »
Dealing with the possessions of the recently dead is not that difficult: a lot of people are dying every day and their things get dealt with pretty much on a routine basis, and you've already done pretty much what you can by listing your daughter as the beneficiary on accounts that can be transferred.  Make a simple will for the rest, so that your daughter will have no trouble showing title for things like the cars.

Have you got a system set up so that you don't become one of those people who die in their apartment and stay undiscovered for months/years?  I think there is an internet service which will get in touch with your next of kin if you don't check in on an agreed timescale.  As long as someone will find your body within a reasonable space of time, and you have left something fairly obvious to explain who you are and who your next of kin is, you will have done as much as you can.  I hope you can then stop worrying about your death and turn your thoughts to living a good life in the meantime.

BlueHouse

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2016, 11:18:31 AM »
Dealing with the possessions of the recently dead is not that difficult: a lot of people are dying every day and their things get dealt with pretty much on a routine basis, and you've already done pretty much what you can by listing your daughter as the beneficiary on accounts that can be transferred.  Make a simple will for the rest, so that your daughter will have no trouble showing title for things like the cars.

Have you got a system set up so that you don't become one of those people who die in their apartment and stay undiscovered for months/years?  I think there is an internet service which will get in touch with your next of kin if you don't check in on an agreed timescale.  As long as someone will find your body within a reasonable space of time, and you have left something fairly obvious to explain who you are and who your next of kin is, you will have done as much as you can.  I hope you can then stop worrying about your death and turn your thoughts to living a good life in the meantime.

Does anyone know if this service exists or how to find one?  I'm in a similar situation and my biggest fear is that animals will start eating me before anyone finds me.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2016, 11:48:27 AM »
Dealing with the possessions of the recently dead is not that difficult: a lot of people are dying every day and their things get dealt with pretty much on a routine basis, and you've already done pretty much what you can by listing your daughter as the beneficiary on accounts that can be transferred.  Make a simple will for the rest, so that your daughter will have no trouble showing title for things like the cars.

Have you got a system set up so that you don't become one of those people who die in their apartment and stay undiscovered for months/years?  I think there is an internet service which will get in touch with your next of kin if you don't check in on an agreed timescale.  As long as someone will find your body within a reasonable space of time, and you have left something fairly obvious to explain who you are and who your next of kin is, you will have done as much as you can.  I hope you can then stop worrying about your death and turn your thoughts to living a good life in the meantime.

Does anyone know if this service exists or how to find one?  I'm in a similar situation and my biggest fear is that animals will start eating me before anyone finds me.

Here's one option: https://www.caring.com/articles/senior-visiting-service-senior-calling-service

BlueHouse

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 11:58:02 AM »


Does anyone know if this service exists or how to find one?  I'm in a similar situation and my biggest fear is that animals will start eating me before anyone finds me.

Here's one option: https://www.caring.com/articles/senior-visiting-service-senior-calling-service

Thanks miss Piggy.  I'm finding some others through your link too.  Once I read through the free service though, I think it's really more for people who have NO ONE.  not just for those of us who don't want to inconvenience others. 

I keep thinking I should be able to make something like this with gmail, IFTTT, and some Boolean logic.  I want a few tries to get in touch, or I want something that I have to touch every day, and if I don't, then I get an email or a phone call before contacting anyone else.  I don't want to have to remember to turn it off when I go out of town.  It seems so simple, so I'm sure it must already exist. 

Villanelle

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 08:29:23 PM »
Are you certain your daughter wouldn't *want* to go through your things?  It might be worth asking her.  I'd be devastated if my parents had their place emptied out before I could go in and retrieve a few silly, nearly valueless things.

This.  So much this.  It's not about the valuables.  It's about my mom's cedar hope chest, and the robe she has slept with under her pillow since I was a small child, and probably some other small things I'd love to keep, or at least hold and think about for a while. 

Dee18

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2016, 11:59:36 AM »
It is great of you to not want to burden your daughter.  One way to help with that is to do a little local research.  Where I live, there are charities that will come and take a home's entire contents.  You could write some notes for your daughter to help her handle things.  But it is reasonable to expect her to handle them.  That's what parents and children do for each other when needed.  Not having to handle a house sale already lessens the burden.  Plus, it sounds like you will be giving your daughter an inheritance, so nice for her!

My position is somewhat similar to yours (college age daughter only immediate family).  I have not moved recently, but plan to in the next few years.  On a road trip last summer, we ended up talking about how to handle money/investments.  She pulled out her laptop and took notes as I talked.  I've told her to do what works for her when I'm gone...I don't want her to feel like she has to keep any family heirlooms if she doesn't want them. But we are planning to live in the same city when she settles down. 

I know life feels much less tethered without a child in the house, especially for me after 18 years of single parenting.  I'm having to force myself a bit to arrange time with others.  But I'm also enjoying the lazy freedom of not having to prep meals, etc, for others every day, and of going hiking on my schedule,etc.  I hope you are enjoying some of that freedom too! You've earned it.


Spiffy

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2016, 12:24:31 PM »

[/quote]

Does anyone know if this service exists or how to find one?  I'm in a similar situation and my biggest fear is that animals will start eating me before anyone finds me.
[/quote]

My great grandmother used to worry about one of my maiden aunts who lived by herself with several cats. She wanted my aunt to get rid of the cats so they wouldn't eat my aunts nose off if she died! That cracked me up when I was a kid. But she was totally serious.

dodojojo

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2016, 12:29:43 PM »
Does anyone know if this service exists or how to find one?  I'm in a similar situation and my biggest fear is that animals will start eating me before anyone finds me.

This intrigued me also...and I googled around. I signed up for Dead Man's Switch which is an email system and Kitestring, which is SMS.  DMS uses intervals from 30-60 days while Kitestring is aimed towards checking in while out and about and offers durations in minutes. I think I need something inbetween.  As mentioned already in thread, it would be great to have a system which checks in daily or every few days so notifications can be made and our pets do not suffer.  I wrote DMS to see if the premium service ($20 lifetime) will allow to change the intervals to daily or every other day.  Also testing to see if Kitestring will accept a large minutes duration.

As I live 3k miles from my family and I have disparate groups of friends, I would like a system that allows me to reach out to the different groups to ensure at least one person per group gets and spread the news.

EDIT: DMS responded with the following:
Hello,

you can specify any number of days that you like, if you are a premium member. Minimum granularity is one day.

Further Edit: I tested Kitestring a couple of times with my own number as the emergency contact.  It's pretty straightforward.  I've now set the next check in time at 2880 minutes--48 hours.  With this approach, one would have to proactively set check in times after completing each check in.  Kitestring's paid service has Perennial Mode.  I haven't been able to find details about PM but I wonder if it's an automated function.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2016, 06:27:02 PM by dodojojo »

BlueHouse

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2016, 12:41:10 PM »
Quote
Does anyone know if this service exists or how to find one?  I'm in a similar situation and my biggest fear is that animals will start eating me before anyone finds me.

My great grandmother used to worry about one of my maiden aunts who lived by herself with several cats. She wanted my aunt to get rid of the cats so they wouldn't eat my aunts nose off if she died! That cracked me up when I was a kid. But she was totally serious.
Yes!  I'm worried that I'll be lying at the bottom of my steps for 3 days without anyone knowing it and I'll be slowly nibbled and consumed by rats or cats.  Once I'm dead, I don't think I'll worry about it anymore.

Thanks Spiffy, now I can worry about my nose too!  yikes!

lizzzi

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2016, 12:42:57 PM »
I would let your daughter deal with your "stuff." You said she is getting the money, and that there isn't much "stuff" anyway. But as others have said, there will be mementoes there that I think she'll probably want to go through--just the ordinary everyday stuff--as she processes the loss. She is immediate family, after all, and an adult. This is what family does. You might be able to give her some advice up front, while you're still alive.  ("If anything happens to me, just take what you want out of the apartment, and then just call one of those auction guys to clear it out and sell everything.") Or whatever. Also, I would let her know what you want in terms of a funeral/cremation/whatever, and make sure the money is there to pay for it, if you have not actually pre-paid it. I know there have been other very detailed and informational funeral threads about this.

bogart

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2016, 09:48:21 PM »
Now I have no will, and most of my assets are easily transferable (VG IRA and taxable accounts, some checking/savings accounts, stock portfolio. 401k) and all have my daughter listed as the main beneficiary for 100%...  Should be pretty easy for her with a death cert to simply have them transferred over?  I do have vehicles, and I rent, so my stuff in the rental home would need to be dealt with...  How do you do what I am asking?  Who do you hire?  I would really like to keep attorney use zero, or as close to zero considering my experience with them.  Is there another way?

I would discuss this with your daughter -- as others say, lots of emotional and sentimental issues here.  I would very much not want a family member of mine to pass away, leaving "everything" to me but then getting the "everything" gotten rid of (the physical stuff) before I had a chance to see it. 

Also, I'll note -- my dad died intestate with nothing (he had lived for years in a nursing home with dementia) and dealing with his estate was STILL a hassle (for me).  Expenses need to be paid, someone (me) has to take the checking account and pay them all, publish announcements to make sure there are no creditors floating around "out there" waiting to make claims (this is true even though there is nothing -- much -- to claim against in my dad's case.  He had a modest pension and social security, all of which went to the nursing home each month, and when he died, a fraction of that was returned for the month of his death, ditto health insurance premium -- he had a medigap policy. 

Anyway, long story short, there will still be "stuff" to deal with.  I'd recommend a simple will naming your daughter as your sole heir and as your executor (in the state I live in a simple hand-written will is enough) as the best way to make things straightforward for her (my brother, who lives overseas, literally had to travel to an embassy to get something notarized so that he could acknowledge he was signing over his rights to administer our dad's estate to me -- doesn't sound like this would be an issue in your situation, but the point is, paperwork up front laying out who gets what and who is responsible for sorting out the estate helps, even if there's not much estate to speak of).

All that said, it may be there's a way to make getting rid of unwanted physical property, your landlord's problem (this must happen, no?).  But that, too, may very state to state.

mozar

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Re: Estate planning; you are all alone...
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2016, 09:19:09 PM »
Based on someone else's post here, my mom and I made a shared google spreadsheet with a list of all the companies we do business with, like utilities, mortgage etc. That's a good first step so your daughter knows who to contact.