Poll

Do you have a will or trust?

Yes I have a will and/or trust
50 (56.8%)
No I don't have a will or trust
27 (30.7%)
Working on estate planning as we speak
11 (12.5%)

Total Members Voted: 86

Author Topic: Questions about wills  (Read 1675 times)

Omy

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Questions about wills
« on: May 24, 2021, 07:33:03 AM »
We are FIREd (without a will or trust) because every time we try to figure out how to divvy the stash up, we get stumped. We don't have children to leave it to. All of our assets are set up to go to the surviving spouse when one of us dies.

Most of our dilemma is related to family dynamics. We have a family member that does the silent treatment for months when upset. We have a few family members who make poor financial and lifestyle decisions. And we have family members who we are very close to.

In addition to the poll, I'm curious as to how you've resolved these issues and other issues you may have. Sometimes I think it's best if we just donate the whole thing (after taking care of our aging parents). I'm also curious if you have books or other resources that helped you decide how to set up your estate. Thanks!




norajean

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2021, 07:42:11 AM »
Leave it all to your favorite local charity, one you know well and trust.

secondcor521

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2021, 07:46:01 AM »
There are lots of books out there on the topic.  Check with your local library.  I like the Nolo Press books myself.

You're probably aware that if you don't make a will, your state of domicile probably has laws of intestacy that will decide for you what happens to your assets after the second of you dies.  Maybe you're OK with those results, maybe you're not.  Usually the rules have the assets going to family members in various proportions, so if you don't want your assets going to certain family members, that may be enough to motivate you to do a will.

There's no requirement that it go to family, of course.  You can leave it to whomever or whatever organization you want.  Donations to charity may also reduce any estate taxes or inheritance taxes IIRC.

Omy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2021, 09:25:42 AM »
Yes. Our state's intestacy laws seem pretty reasonable, so that hasn't been enough to scare us into action. I've always felt it would be morally "wrong" to favor some family members over others...and it also feels wrong to give money to people who will likely make self-destructive choices with a windfall. So I end up doing nothing.

wenchsenior

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2021, 09:55:18 AM »
We are FIREd (without a will or trust) because every time we try to figure out how to divvy the stash up, we get stumped. We don't have children to leave it to. All of our assets are set up to go to the surviving spouse when one of us dies.

Most of our dilemma is related to family dynamics. We have a family member that does the silent treatment for months when upset. We have a few family members who make poor financial and lifestyle decisions. And we have family members who we are very close to.

In addition to the poll, I'm curious as to how you've resolved these issues and other issues you may have. Sometimes I think it's best if we just donate the whole thing (after taking care of our aging parents). I'm also curious if you have books or other resources that helped you decide how to set up your estate. Thanks!

This is 100% our problem as well (including the no-kids part).  We urgently need a will, and have been in active discussion about how to do it on and off for about 3 years now (often on our evening walks).  Every time we discuss it turns out my 'side' of things is relatively easy to distribute, but it's a whole different story on my husband's side.  Plus, we have hit our first million in cash this year and it is already multiplying at a fast rate.   We might end up with enough money that we want to leave a big chunk to some sort of philanthropic cause, but UGH WHICH ONE?

It's funny you started this thread b/c I JUST bought a Will/Estate book (dummy's guide) and resolved to figure this shit out during 2021, even if it means coming to suboptimal conclusions about where the money will go.

iris lily

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2021, 10:03:31 AM »
We are senior citizen age and have significant assets, no children. Webhave a trust and a will.

Our estate is is divided fairly equally among five siblings, two friends, and several organizations. We did the will/trust five years ago.

Our attorney wrote to us saying we need to come in for a consultation  because some laws have changed in our state. I’m leaning towards leaving out siblings and friends this time around. It annoys me that DH’s siblings are playing around with a major asset they inherited from their father. I think if they can forgo cashing that thing out then and they do not get my cash. Frankly none in the siblingsNeed the money anyway, Nor would they ruin their lives with a sudden windfall.


« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 11:59:26 AM by iris lily »

Catbert

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 10:41:14 AM »
If family harmony is a goal then I think you should treat similar relatives similarly.  By that I mean if "you" have siblings they should all be treated the same.  But your spouse could make a different choice, e.g., leave their share to nephews and nieces or charity.

In our case DH is leaving his retirement accounts and half our joint assets to his two adult children (even though he is much closer to one than the other).  In my case I'm leaving IRAs inherited from my first husband to his adult children, and my other retirement accounts and half our joint assets to my siblings.  All our parents are deceased. So his kids will get the same amount as each other but a different amount than the other two categories of relatives.

There are certainly cases where it's *fair* to leave disproportionate amounts: mentally or physically handicapped child incapable of self support or relative who was your long-time care giver or a long time estrangement.  Even in these cases which may seem clear to you can cause disharmony. 

Omy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2021, 11:24:10 AM »
It's funny you started this thread b/c I JUST bought a Will/Estate book (dummy's guide) and resolved to figure this shit out during 2021, even if it means coming to suboptimal conclusions about where the money will go.

You've made an important point. I'm trying to come up with a "perfect" solution (and getting stuck when I can't). A suboptimal decision might be the best I can hope for (and probably better than making no decision.)
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 11:33:00 AM by Omy »

Omy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2021, 11:32:27 AM »
If family harmony is a goal then I think you should treat similar relatives similarly.  By that I mean if "you" have siblings they should all be treated the same.  But your spouse could make a different choice, e.g., leave their share to nephews and nieces or charity.


Great point that I hadn't really considered - DH can control his half, and I can control my half. That way it doesn't need to be a one size fits all approach.

Omy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2021, 12:09:26 PM »
For those of you who have family members with impulse control issues (gambling, drugs, alcohol, excessive shopping, etc)...what are your thoughts on leaving a windfall that will likely exacerbate the self destructive behavior? 

This is one of the tough ones for me. If I want to control it, I need to set up a trust to dole out smaller amounts (that will still be wasted on *insert self destructive behavior here*) or I can leave them out of the will...which also feels bad.

Any other ideas?

SwordGuy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2021, 12:46:55 PM »
Yes. Our state's intestacy laws seem pretty reasonable, so that hasn't been enough to scare us into action. I've always felt it would be morally "wrong" to favor some family members over others...and it also feels wrong to give money to people who will likely make self-destructive choices with a windfall. So I end up doing nothing.   So I let the state I live in decide what will happen.

Fixed that for you.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2021, 01:42:04 PM »
I'd be interested to hear whether people with no kids tell other heirs what's in their will or not. I've heard very strong advice to not let the terms of the will be a surprise to your kids, especially if it's anything more complex or more unequal than "sell everything and divide the cash equally between children". People get pissy when they don't get what they were "supposed" to inherit, so it's good to be clear with everyone on who was supposed to get what. But it's different if you're scattering your fortune amongst people who might not expect to get anything, and who might change as the years go by. Do you want to have to decide whether to cut X out of your will or not based on how awkward it would be?

iluvzbeach

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2021, 01:59:21 PM »
For those of you who have family members with impulse control issues (gambling, drugs, alcohol, excessive shopping, etc)...what are your thoughts on leaving a windfall that will likely exacerbate the self destructive behavior? 

This is one of the tough ones for me. If I want to control it, I need to set up a trust to dole out smaller amounts (that will still be wasted on *insert self destructive behavior here*) or I can leave them out of the will...which also feels bad.

Any other ideas?

DH & I don’t have children, he has one sibling who he doesn’t have a relationship with and I am an only child. My father fits the category you describe above and DH’s father has never been in the picture. Both of our mothers are still around and are comfortable (yet not wealthy) financially. We have a trust and wills. If we should both pass, we have it written in a way to ensure our mothers, including my stepmother (father’s estranged wife), aren’t destitute. Aside from that, all remaining assets from our estate will go to charity. We’ve each chosen one that is near & dear to us and have 50% going to our chosen charity. We each have cousins and aunts/uncles but have decided not to direct any funds or other possessions to them. We feel more strongly about donating our estate to a charitable entity than providing a handout to family members who are capable of supporting themselves.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2021, 02:15:43 PM »
Strange.. been thinking about this recently, same NO KIDS scenario here and one sibling passed. It's definitely a dilemma in regards to what to do and I need to get on top of it. I have already decided that I am giving SOME portion to my friends kids (various amounts, depending on the kids) for them to save it for something fun to do with it. Outside of that I am not sure but guess various charities

Fish Sweet

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2021, 02:16:04 PM »
Please do create a will or trust.  Do it legally, get it notarized, find a lawyer if your assets are somewhat complicated (esp if you want there to be a his/her half split.) Do it for the family members you care about, if nothing else, EVEN if you don't leave them a dime. Here's why - if you set up nothing before you both pass away, the laws of your state will determine who inherits what.  But what does that mean, in practice? 

Will they appoint an executor from among your relatives?  How will they determine who is most fit to serve?  Will a state appointed executor act?  How long will this executor, who doubtless is handling numerous other estates, take to do things like... sell property, liquidate accounts, obtain all your financial information?  How will they even know where to look for all your financial information (and if you're taking the time to gather all this info up in one place for convenience sakes... you might as well make a will and trust stating how you want it passed on, LOL.)  If your state laws say your estate will pass through probate, that means court - rounds of notices sent to every person who could conceivably be included in your estate.  And if a single one of your family members decides to contest and kick up a stink about how receiving "their share" (and never underestimate what a desperate and greedy person will do), this could bog the whole process down for months if not years.  If a responsible and caring family member steps up to take care of business and try to reduce the costs of administering the estate, they may have greedier and immature people on their backs kicking up a fuss if the work (and it is WORK) isn't done fast enough, or they're not receiving money fast enough, etc.etc.  I worked as an admin in an estate planning law firm for many years, and have seen LOTS of family spats and disputes over "what grandma would have wanted" when grandma didn't set up a trust.

Not making your wishes clear means that the state and your family and loved ones will have to muddle along blindly without a roadmap, and people acting in bad faith will be able to make their lives much harder in the hopes of profiting from your money.  Set up a will or trust -- you can always change it later, as your lives and peoples' circumstances change.

seemsright

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2021, 02:21:56 PM »
We have a Daughter. It was important to me to set up a Generational skipping trust that was prenup proof. It took a bit to get it written, and all of the other adult 501 things. guardian, health care directives and a few other things.

The wills don't only help with what to do with things, it give you control. But moreso it helps with TAXES!!!!

Even if you decided that all of the money gets left to a organization of your choice. It will make it so your family does not have to deal with probate, and fighting over what you left behind. 

Wills and trusts are pretty cheap, they take time and is hard to think of what will happen but important to have.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2021, 02:24:19 PM »
I have also heard it said that if you want to specifically disinherit someone, you should mention it in the will. E.g. not "I split my estate between Alice, Bernard and Damien" but "I split my estate between Alice, Bernard and Damien, and Chloe gets nothing". This will be very pertinent if you are making some family members heirs but not everyone in the same category (e.g. not all siblings, not all cousins, etc)

chasingthegoodlife

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2021, 04:15:36 PM »
We finally did our wills last year during lockdown (along with many other stragglers on the to-do list!).

Like you we have no children*. We have seperate finances so each dealt with our families separately. Should the other partner pre decease us, we both split our estates equally among our siblings. In one sense this was not perfectly efficient, as some are very well off and others could really use the money, but family harmony is priceless.

If I do another will in future I will be more inclined to leave a substantial amount to charity (as my sibling needs my money less and the stash grows further). I think I would also take this route if I had a sibling with the ‘impulse control’ difficulties you describe. Everyone gets a modest legacy to remember me by (knowing that some may waste it) and the rest to charity. If there are potentially life threatening addiction issues it gets a bit trickier.

* Our lawyer suggested a clause covering any children we may have at the time of death, so we don’t have to run back to the lawyer as soon as we’re pregnant. Of course you would want to re do eventually to specify guardians, trusts etc but I am sure some people forget so I thought that was good advice.

Omy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2021, 08:08:36 PM »
I definitely want to have a will and/or trust in place to make things easier to figure out for our surviving family members. I just keep getting bogged down in the details and family dynamics. I want to have that part figured out before wasting an attorney's time (and our money.) It's definitely helpful to see how others have handled it.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2021, 07:40:12 AM »
My will is out of date.  It is OK if I were to die today, but not optimal.  Once lockdown is over I will be visiting my lawyer.

Morning Glory

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2021, 07:45:54 AM »
This has been on my to do list for years. Maybe posting here will give me the push I need.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2021, 09:50:45 AM »
This has been on my to do list for years. Maybe posting here will give me the push I need.

It was a relief to me to realise I could always change the will later. "Success" meant "better than dying intestate", not "perfect distribution of all assets".

wenchsenior

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2021, 10:07:00 AM »
For those of you who have family members with impulse control issues (gambling, drugs, alcohol, excessive shopping, etc)...what are your thoughts on leaving a windfall that will likely exacerbate the self destructive behavior? 

This is one of the tough ones for me. If I want to control it, I need to set up a trust to dole out smaller amounts (that will still be wasted on *insert self destructive behavior here*) or I can leave them out of the will...which also feels bad.

Any other ideas?

This is exactly our problem.  My side of the family, no problem, it gets divided among my two siblings, who are both fine to good at adult handling of money.  His side, there's drug addiction, constant problems with law, indiscriminate breeding of a fuckton of kids with different partners when they can't even support the ones they have, and no understanding of anything financial other than basic checking and savings accounts.  We've discussed giving whole estate to my siblings, but that's not good emotionally. We've discussed splitting it and giving half to my siblings and half to charity. Again, he is uneasy and feels guilty at that idea.  One thing I keep telling him is:  If you want your family to inherit but you want to put rules on it, then you need a trust or something with administrator/rules for dispensation and all that. It becomes much much more complicated. Or, you could just shrug and say "I'll be dead anyway, why should I care if my family does stupid things with the money?"    We don't believe in an afterlife. We won't be 'looking down' on them wishing we'd done something different.  Basically,  I view it as a choice of less stress for us to just decide whether or not to give them money at all, rather than trying to analyze moral specifics.  We can't control other people, not even our closest intimates.

Weirdly, it's also his POSSESSIONS that are giving him fits and hanging him up.  We have a lot of nice art, some nice firearms, some nice musical instruments (some custom made) and he goes around and around trying to decide which of his friends should get them.  The thing is, some of these friends are just as likely to die first and most older people are trying to get rid of stuff, not accumulate more stuff. Whereas I think that stuff could just be sold and the proceeds go into the estate to be divided with the rest.  But that's probably because he's got more emotional attachment to that stuff than I do.  I mean, the painting we were gifted for our wedding means a lot to US, but I don't presume that it will mean quite as much to other people (though it's a great specimen of its type).

So I guess, really, it's my husband who can't bring himself to make decisions related to the estate, not me LOL.

wenchsenior

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2021, 10:11:55 AM »
Yes. Our state's intestacy laws seem pretty reasonable, so that hasn't been enough to scare us into action. I've always felt it would be morally "wrong" to favor some family members over others...and it also feels wrong to give money to people who will likely make self-destructive choices with a windfall. So I end up doing nothing.   So I let the state I live in decide what will happen.

Fixed that for you.

In our case, this is acceptable enough (if not ideal) that it doesn't spur us into action, given the challenges in decision-making that my husband keeps facing.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2021, 10:23:52 AM »
@wenchsenior He doesn't have to write the possessions into the will if it's not major stuff and his friends aren't assholes. He could keep a list of specific bequests with the will that he can update whenever he likes. Assuming they truly are low value items whose main value is sentimental, and therefore family who are supposed to inherit can "let them go" without loss.

Raenia

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2021, 10:44:49 AM »
@wenchsenior He doesn't have to write the possessions into the will if it's not major stuff and his friends aren't assholes. He could keep a list of specific bequests with the will that he can update whenever he likes. Assuming they truly are low value items whose main value is sentimental, and therefore family who are supposed to inherit can "let them go" without loss.

This is what DH's grandmother did - she had a will that left everything to her children in equal parts, but she had a letter that she kept with the will where she listed some particular items she wanted distributed to the grandchildren - mostly jewelry that she wanted to stay in the family, rather than being sold.  Technically it wasn't a legal part of the will, so if one of the children was an asshole and wanted to fight it, it might have gotten overturned, but if the legal heirs are all expected to be reasonable and obey the deceased's wishes, this is a fine way to do it.  In our case, it all went fine and everyone got what grandma wanted them to have.

mckaylabaloney

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2021, 10:58:18 AM »
Please do create a will or trust.  Do it legally, get it notarized, find a lawyer if your assets are somewhat complicated (esp if you want there to be a his/her half split.) Do it for the family members you care about, if nothing else, EVEN if you don't leave them a dime. Here's why - if you set up nothing before you both pass away, the laws of your state will determine who inherits what.  But what does that mean, in practice? 

Will they appoint an executor from among your relatives?  How will they determine who is most fit to serve?  Will a state appointed executor act?  How long will this executor, who doubtless is handling numerous other estates, take to do things like... sell property, liquidate accounts, obtain all your financial information?  How will they even know where to look for all your financial information (and if you're taking the time to gather all this info up in one place for convenience sakes... you might as well make a will and trust stating how you want it passed on, LOL.)  If your state laws say your estate will pass through probate, that means court - rounds of notices sent to every person who could conceivably be included in your estate.  And if a single one of your family members decides to contest and kick up a stink about how receiving "their share" (and never underestimate what a desperate and greedy person will do), this could bog the whole process down for months if not years.  If a responsible and caring family member steps up to take care of business and try to reduce the costs of administering the estate, they may have greedier and immature people on their backs kicking up a fuss if the work (and it is WORK) isn't done fast enough, or they're not receiving money fast enough, etc.etc.  I worked as an admin in an estate planning law firm for many years, and have seen LOTS of family spats and disputes over "what grandma would have wanted" when grandma didn't set up a trust.

Not making your wishes clear means that the state and your family and loved ones will have to muddle along blindly without a roadmap, and people acting in bad faith will be able to make their lives much harder in the hopes of profiting from your money.  Set up a will or trust -- you can always change it later, as your lives and peoples' circumstances change.

This is a good point, thanks. I don't have a will (yet) because I'm single and childless, and have pretty limited assets still, and the relevant intestacy laws would distribute my assets exactly as I would dictate in a will at this point anyway. I've always figured I would go about getting a will if/when (1) I find a partner and no longer wish for my family to receive all my money, or (2) my siblings (who are a lot younger than me and would benefit considerably from even my limited wealth at this point in time) get older and more established (in which case I would probably want to leave some money to charity, or maybe other young relatives, instead of directing it all to my siblings).

But this is motivating me to at least prepare some sort of document detailing my accounts for them, and maybe I'll go ahead and formalize it in a will while I'm at it. It occurs to me that if I got hit by a bus tomorrow they wouldn't even know where to look for the accounts they're already the beneficiaries to.

use2betrix

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2021, 12:18:28 PM »
Realllly need to have a will created, every time I look into it, it just seems super daunting..

For the most part, if my wife or I die, the assets would go to the other. That being said, my life insurance policy is twice that of my wife’s, and if I die, we agreed that probably a couple hundred grand would go to my parents/siblings. They all do just fine, parents retired recently, but the windfall would especially help my parents.. My wife would still be left with about $1.8MM, no debt, and a lot of paid off assets.

We have a baby due in August, so if we both died, that’d be another dynamic to assign godparents and ensure our $ goes to the appropriate places (likely my brother and sister in law, with a lump sum in a trust to future child at a certain age).

My BIGGEST fear, is both of us dying without any sort of will in place and our assets somehow being split between our families. Our families are extreme opposites. Mine have been incredibly responsible and supportive my whole life. My wife has never worked so all of our net worth is from my income (of course, she has supported me and it is “our” money, in all other aspects). My wife’s family would get some money, but a small percentage... Maybe 10% of our net worth.. My wife also agrees with this.


Really....need....to get this.... taken care of.....

DeniseNJ

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2021, 01:20:31 PM »
Where do we even start?  Do we have to see an attorney? I have a husband and two adult (barely) kids. And we've never had a will or assigned guardians. I figured my parents would get them. I just assume everything I have would go to dh and if we die together, then split among the kids. Can I just write down all the accounts and info, with some advice to go read MMM first post to last?

I really don't have the luxury of dying. My dh and kids would be a mess.  Even my mother doesn't know the passwords to half of her accounts. Nobody knows what meds they are on and what doses or what their doc's phone numbers are. DH has none of our acct info or even his own 403b info or his own pension info. Neither dh or kids has ever had to pay a bill or file an insurance form. The first thing they'd have to do is hire a nanny to take care of them all.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2021, 01:35:00 PM »
@DeniseNJ Assuming NJ means New Jersey, I'm pretty sure you guys have DIY will kits in America too. We didn't use one as I got a free simple will through a union I used to be a member of, but otherwise I probably would have done. If you have a simple estate and are not surrounded by assholes, you tick a few boxes and the kit sorts out the legalese. You have to get it properly witnessed but that can just be two ordinary people, not lawyers.

Our actual will is just "Make a trust, these people look after the money, these people look after the kids. When all the kids are adults, split it equally and if any predecease us, their heirs get their share." The will is often not the problem. It's a good thing to get sorted because it will make life easy for your heirs, but we just went with the default options.

Listing accounts is a good thing, but can just be a bit of paper kept with the will in your house. A letter of intent to guardians is a good thing, but again can just be a bit of paper. Likewise any specific possession bequests. If you are not surrounded by assholes or living in a Victorian romantic novel, a tickbox DIY will is super simple and all the legalese you will need. The other stuff doesn't have to be in official legalese if you can trust those around you when you die to not be assholes - i.e. you don't need to legally bind them to look after your kids and let Friend X have that painting they always admired.

Do the will, sort the other stuff later. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I don't even have specific account info listed, just "as of X date, we have accounts in these places". No amounts or account numbers, but worst comes to worst the executor knows where to send the death certificate to get the ball rolling.

RainyDay

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2021, 02:02:14 PM »
Timely thread.  I recently got married and have been considering a will.  Then I looked into it (in Virginia) and all the estate planning lawyers around here are charging $2800 and up to set up all the paperwork.  That seems outrageous to me, but I've never had a reason to talk to an estates/trusts lawyer before so maybe it's perfectly normal.  I called 4 different firms...same range of costs.  UGH. 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 05:11:56 AM by RainyDay »

iris lily

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2021, 02:11:18 PM »
Timely threat.  I recently got married and have been considering a will.  Then I looked into it (in Virginia) and all the estate planning lawyers around here are charging $2800 and up to set up all the paperwork.  That seems outrageous to me, but I've never had a reason to talk to an estates/trusts lawyer before so maybe it's perfectly normal.  I called 4 different firms...same range of costs.  UGH.
Yes, we paid $3000 in St. Louis.

Morning Glory

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2021, 02:12:17 PM »

I really don't have the luxury of dying. My dh and kids would be a mess.  Even my mother doesn't know the passwords to half of her accounts. Nobody knows what meds they are on and what doses or what their doc's phone numbers are. DH has none of our acct info or even his own 403b info or his own pension info. Neither dh or kids has ever had to pay a bill or file an insurance form. The first thing they'd have to do is hire a nanny to take care of them all.

I laughed a little at this because I'm in a similar situation. I used "what if I die or become incapacitated?" as one of the many reasons why my husband needs to take on more of the mental load. Doing all that stuff is exhausting!!! Some of it's my fault because I took over bill paying a long time ago to make sure everything would get paid on time.

What if one of us dies was a big motivator for selling the big house too!

I get a free simple will through my eap but I have two special needs kids and there is just a big unknown about how independent they will be able to be as adults. I haven't even talked to my siblings about it yet.

I wonder if I could set up a simple will with guardians now then change it to a trust later if I need to?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2021, 04:24:47 PM »
My will 10 years ago was $400CAN and covered 2 people,, since so often it is a couple making their wills together.

Lawyers are really good at asking all the questions - if A and B die, who gets it next?  And if they die before you, what then?  You know, the big family reunion where everyone dies sort of question.  I have 3 layers of inheritance.

wenchsenior

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2021, 06:41:40 PM »

I really don't have the luxury of dying. My dh and kids would be a mess.  Even my mother doesn't know the passwords to half of her accounts. Nobody knows what meds they are on and what doses or what their doc's phone numbers are. DH has none of our acct info or even his own 403b info or his own pension info. Neither dh or kids has ever had to pay a bill or file an insurance form. The first thing they'd have to do is hire a nanny to take care of them all.

I laughed a little at this because I'm in a similar situation. I used "what if I die or become incapacitated?" as one of the many reasons why my husband needs to take on more of the mental load. Doing all that stuff is exhausting!!! Some of it's my fault because I took over bill paying a long time ago to make sure everything would get paid on time.



Same.  My husband manages hundreds of thousands of dollars in project money constantly at work with no problem, but handles zero of our personal finance stuff and would hardly even know where to start. He does not even know how to log in to look at his employee benefits file or pay stub info or his 401K.  He has to ask me what his salary is, how much leave he has, etc.  It's pretty awful, really. But he's just not interested enough to write stuff down (or at least write stuff down and keep it where he will remember where it is).  Which reminds me, it's really past due for me to update our gigantic 'cheat sheet' of accounts and passwords...the version I'm using is about a year out of date and getting really mangled.

bownyboy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2021, 01:07:25 AM »
Going through this process right now with my wife. We have no children and we realised we really really needed to get this sorted after dealing with both her parents who had no wills and no living power of attorney set up.

They both had serious medical problems which resulted in having to fill out lots of paperwork and attending courts in order to have power of attorney over financial and medical care. Not the thing you want to have to be doing at that time.

In the UK where we are you can pay for a ‘mirror will’ if your assets are fairly straightforward; we leave the estate to each other. The key though is setting up the Living Power of Attorney for Health and Financial which kicks in immediately upon signing.

Total cost is about £750 with Co-operative Wills.

Regarding what happens to our wealth after we both die, we’re thinking we will list out our nieces and nephews and some charities.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2021, 10:10:03 AM »
No will yet.
Most of net worth /accounts are TOD Transfer On Death, which skip probate.
DW is the major, primary beneficiary on most, with my mom, sister and undergraduate college minor or conditional beneficiaries.

I gave DW a list of accounts and guidance in case of my demise.  Mostly it says DON'T PANIC, although not in large friendly letters.

The house is the major uncovered item.
Edit  The house is not a sentimental attachment to the kids as most of them didn't grow up in this house.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2021, 12:19:43 PM by markbike528CBX »

RainyDay

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2021, 12:03:44 PM »
Has anyone used something like Nolo Quicken Willmaker?  I assume it's a more advanced version of LegalZoom, similar to tax software.  Thoughts and opinions?  The Amazon reviews are very mixed. 

Omy

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2021, 03:23:39 PM »
I've been wondering the same. Which online tools would at least get me started?

Fish Sweet

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2021, 04:40:02 PM »
Oh, just to add an additional thought -- in the process of setting up your wills/trusts, don't forget to also draw up Powers of Attorney and Health Care Info documents as well.  The worst thing that could happen ISN'T that you get hit by a bus and your grieving loved ones are left scrambling trying to piece together your finances and final wishes for your estate.  The worst thing that could happen is that you get hit by the bus and barely survive, and your grieving loved ones are left scrambling trying to determine who you would want to be making decisions about your care, who pays for your care and how, arguing with doctors just to get information about your health, and potentially needing to go to court to fight for the authority to make those decisions and access your accounts.  It's all part and parcel of end-of-life/making sure things are taken care of planning, so as unpleasant as it is to consider, make sure you get that set up!

lutorm

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2021, 05:43:15 PM »
Having a kid was the impetus for us to get this set up, so that in case we both die there were clear instructions for what we want to have custody. But while we were at it, we also set up powers of attorney and health care directives.

I think even if you have no kids and you don't care what happens to your assets if you both die, it's still useful to have clear instructions that unequivocally say "surviving spouse gets everything" so there are no questions in probate.

We got ours set up with a lawyer through my wife's legal plan at work. I think we paid around $400.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2021, 07:32:40 PM »
We set ours up due to kids.  And that makes things somewhat simpler. 

But realize: there's no right answer here.  No downside, really.  Nothing to be upset about or struggle over.  You'll be gone, so the only question is: who do you want to bless? 

Personally, I wouldn't give to a charity because I've worked with and for them, and would be hesitant to trust them for the same reasons that I wouldn't readily give cash to the guy on the street corner who asks for it--I won't unless I know him well.  So that leaves family, and I'd love to divvy up the proceeds however I liked among some family members--it'll make them happy, at least.  And I'd give preference to those who make sound financial decisions and bless others. 

You can't really go wrong here. 

tawyer

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2021, 12:46:50 AM »
PSA: for those in corporate America, legal help for developing an estate plan (and will) is often available as a benefit (along with family therapy, lol) under the EAP umbrella.

kite

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #43 on: June 01, 2021, 09:47:42 AM »
Where do we even start?  Do we have to see an attorney? I have a husband and two adult (barely) kids. And we've never had a will or assigned guardians. I figured my parents would get them. I just assume everything I have would go to dh and if we die together, then split among the kids. Can I just write down all the accounts and info, with some advice to go read MMM first post to last?

I really don't have the luxury of dying. My dh and kids would be a mess.  Even my mother doesn't know the passwords to half of her accounts. Nobody knows what meds they are on and what doses or what their doc's phone numbers are. DH has none of our acct info or even his own 403b info or his own pension info. Neither dh or kids has ever had to pay a bill or file an insurance form. The first thing they'd have to do is hire a nanny to take care of them all.

Putting this all in order for your children is a wonderful gift to them.
It could also be a wonderful gift to yourself. 

Worked with my parents to get their Wills updated (it had been 40 or 50 years since they'd had them done) and for Will, POA & Health Care Proxy it was $700 for both of them in NJ. It came in handy a few years later when my father died and his will was not this ancient thing witnessed by people who died in the 1960's. And basically the Will said & did all the same things:  Leaving almost everything to my Mother, splitting all equally between their kids if she died first.
In the years since, what has been most useful is the POA & Health Care Proxy.  Mom is slipping into dementia.  The paperwork provides the tool for her designated person to make decisions and carry out her wishes.  It spares us (her many children) having to argue over who is in charge.

A colleague relayed to me how painful and expensive it was to go to court to get guardianship of his mother so that he could do something so simple like tap into her investments to hire home health aides when the time came.  It fractured the family (one sibling thought her memory wasn't all that bad) and it was upsetting and embarrassing for his mother to be put through the evaluations and the family court proceedings. A mere $1000 visit with an estate planning lawyer would have spared a far more expensive exercise.  My SIL's partner of 30 years died suddenly and she was faced with sorting things out and having no legal rights because they thought 'marriage was just a piece of paper'.  Turns out, some of those pieces of paper are really useful.

spartana

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #44 on: June 04, 2021, 01:05:03 PM »
Single person with a live-together SO. No kids. Have a will and named beneficiary on my assets (no trust because I don't have any probatable assets). My younger sister (only family) is 100% heir (as I am hers) and if she dies before me I have a named charity who will get it all (sister has same with same charity). She also has a live-together SO and no kids. Neither of us plans to marry but if we did we would establish individual trusts for everything. My only issue (which I posted about here: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/unmarried-sos-buying-a-house-together-how-to-hold-title-etc/msg2790251/#msg2790251)
was how to buy a place jointly with SO but leave my share to sister.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 01:08:01 PM by spartana »

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Questions about wills
« Reply #45 on: June 04, 2021, 03:18:19 PM »
Our will/trust is all set up - relatively complicated but we have kids so it was somewhat easier to distribute - the means of distribution was complicated.  Maybe it is just me but I don't really understand the need to give money to family.  Hell if I didn't have any kids I have a lot of people in my life that I could trust to do good things with my money after I pass than irresponsible family members.  I would give to charity, educational scholarships and friends before most of my family members.  If I wouldn't give them money while I was alive I don't know why I would do it when I was dead.