Author Topic: What do you guys do for a will?  (Read 9989 times)

greenmimama

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What do you guys do for a will?
« on: August 13, 2014, 01:27:17 PM »
We want to do a will, we have 3 children, 3,5, and 8 so it's awhile before we wouldn't need to provide for them and make sure they have guardians.

I am just trying not to pay what a lawyer charges, is their any good way around that?

okashira

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 01:30:19 PM »
written will , notorized, also read aloud by you on video with witnesses?

Gone Fishing

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2014, 01:54:46 PM »
I looked into it a while back, it was going to cost $500+ for a lawyer drawn will, and I couldn't get either set of grandparents to commit to custody of the kids (said they were too old at 60-63), but I know they would step up to the plate if needed (and there are no other options).  Be sure all taxable accounts are joint, and your spouse is set up as beneficiary on all joint accounts.  I die-it goes to my wife, she dies it comes to me.  We both die-the grandparents work out custody and manage the money until the kids are 18.  I trust them not to give my kids free access to the 'stache when they turn 18.  I might revisit this when my oldest is 17 because I would prefer my estate to go into a trust that would provide income over their lifetime, rather than a check.  Being simple enough, an online will may suffice.  This may sound naive, and might vary by state.  I am interested to see what others have to say...   

Richmond Savers

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 02:05:02 PM »
My work had a "prepaid legal" option as one of the annual benefits.  It wound up costing around $120 in total premiums and one of the included services was a will.  A local lawyer was recommended to us and she was part of that plan, so the whole thing cost us $120.  We cancelled the prepaid legal the next year.

Definitely worth looking into it when the annual enrollment rolls around! 

Beric01

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 02:14:50 PM »
Ha! A will?

I'm 24 and single. I set my Dad as beneficiary on all of my investment accounts. Beyond that, nothing needed at this point.

mjs111

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2014, 02:16:14 PM »
Every state has slightly different rules so the first step is to check what makes a will legal in your state.

For simple wills you likely won't end up needing a lawyer and will be fine writing it up yourself using a template online.  Some states require notarization, other states just require a witness or two. For example, in California, your will just needs to be signed by you in front of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries, who than also sign the will.

I  keep my will (and living will and power of attorney) in a fireproof box in my house and have told the executor of the will where it is.


Mike


shelivesthedream

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2014, 02:27:41 PM »
Sorry to divert from the original question, but do you need a will if you are married with no children? Surely everything would go to your spouse automatically, so no need for a will if you would leave it all to them anyway.

greenmimama

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 02:38:36 PM »
The will for use would be more of a place to make sure our kids go to who we want them to go to and provide money to care for them and the money in a trust for when they are older.

If you have no children, as long as you make sure everything is in both of your names and you have rights of survival, you should be fine. But I am no professional.

geekette

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 02:42:00 PM »
It depends on your state (or country).  In NC, if you die without a will, half goes to your spouse and half goes to your parent(s)!

I have a friend who's dealing with this right now after her mother died without a will.  Nightmare, with multiple accounts and property scattered across multiple states.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2014, 02:43:28 PM »
Everyone has a will already. The state defines what happens to your property when you pass.

If you do not wish for the State to make decisions for you, go ahead and write a will.

My suggestion is to go to Nolo press and get a few books and read.

Then you have an option to do it yourself, but if you go to a lawyer, you will be quite informed.


Cassie

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2014, 02:46:31 PM »
We have always had a will drawn up by a lawyer since laws vary by state.  Also when our kids were home we had a guardian noted in the will that had agreed to take care of the kids and the $.  I think this is the most  important thing when you have kids.  Without a will people could start fighting over the kids & ruin family harmony.

hybrid

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 02:59:35 PM »
My work had a "prepaid legal" option as one of the annual benefits.  It wound up costing around $120 in total premiums and one of the included services was a will.  A local lawyer was recommended to us and she was part of that plan, so the whole thing cost us $120.  We cancelled the prepaid legal the next year.

Definitely worth looking into it when the annual enrollment rolls around!

Checking out your website as I write this. Hello Richmonders!

I work at a law firm, and as it turned out one of our lawyers who handles wills was getting a little bit interested in golf. My wife had upgraded her golf clubs recently, so we traded her old clubs for a will. Both parties were quite happy with the arrangement, the lawyer was not looking forward to dropping serious cash for a hobby she might try twice and never play again. This was perhaps four years ago.

Freedom2016

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 03:12:47 PM »
We used LegalZoom to draw up our will; we then had it notarized.

DoubleDown

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 03:40:25 PM »
Years ago, I went to the library and checked out and read a large stack of books on estate planning, wills and trusts, etc. I then used document templates that attorneys use in order to draw up our own full estate plan (living trust, pour-over will, nomination of guardian, living will, power of attorney, etc.). Whether or not you use a lawyer, I highly recommend reading a few books on the subject. It's invaluable information to have on your own that will help you do it yourself if you want. Or, if you use a lawyer, the information will help you discern whether or not they are doing a good job for you.

pksr

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2014, 03:44:25 PM »
It does seem a pain and ridiculously expensive to pay an attorney for this, but there are some good reasons to do so. As noted previously the requirements for a will to be valid can be a little tight (e.g., witness requirements) and vary state to state. In the disaster scenario where you and your wife are both gone, you'd likely want the will to provide for setting up trusts for the kids (otherwise they'd get everything at 18 and be able to go nutso). Getting the right language inserted, and allowing for backup scenarios for trustee, would have been something I would not have wanted to do on my own.

Also, my "package" included a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a medical power of attorney. These are important documents that you also can get via legal zoom or others, but making sure they are correct is either a lot of work or a gamble.

Finally, my attorney did give me some additional advice that was much appreciated. As an example, she gave me the correct designation for our life insurance policies (in the event my wife and I both go in a blaze of glory) - if you provide for a trust in your will, that might be the desired (backup) beneficiary for a life insurance policy which is outside of a will.

With all that said, you could DIY, but I think it'd be a lot of work to be completely confident you've got it right. A single shingle attorney who specializes in wills would hopefully be an affordable and better solution - they've turned this process into a production line and would be up to speed on everything you need and all of the current requirements / laws.

As a middle solution, you could study available materials (e.g., the library reference) and then get your information and documents completely organized to show an attorney that they won't be going through a ton of iterations or teaching you from scratch (they're largely just dropping your stuff into a template, after all). That could allow you to both understand what and how well they're doing and negotiate the price down a bit.

mxt0133

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2014, 04:01:11 PM »
^ what pksr said.  I thought it was going to be a simple meeting with our lawyer, then health care directive, power of attorney, living trust, came into the picture.  I am pretty gun ho about learning new things, but this would have taken me a while and too many cases to consider.  Executors, back ups, temporary guardians if your primary guardians are out of state, blah, blah.....

Tai

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2014, 05:16:01 PM »
I had to get a will done before a major surgery. I got a reference from a co-worker and found a lawyer who charged $300 for everything, will, power of attorney etc. He asked a ton of questions that I had never considered. He also offered to update the will as my daughter gets older at a minimal cost. I think it was totally worth it for the peace of mind. I want to make sure my daughter is protected no matter what and this is how to do it. I live in a big, expensive city too, so I'm sure that I could have paid a lot more had I not asked around.

In short, find someone you trust and consider it money well spent.

chesebert

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2014, 02:21:09 AM »
Got the whole package done (will, trust, poa, etc) for DW and I by a regionally well known trust/estate attorney. Not cheap but worth it I believe. For will and trust, every state does it differently and some require certain "special wordings" in will/trust. My advice is to get an attorney with at least 8+ years of experience doing this stuff.

Don't be cheap on will/trust especially if you are trying to plan for generation skipping stuff or estate tax planning. I can imagine most mustachians will be fabulous wealthy in their old ages and will need more complex tax planning and good legal advice is a cheap insurance to pay.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 02:26:00 AM by chesebert »

Zamboni

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2014, 03:46:20 AM »
Use a flat fee lawyer.  I got my whole thing done (including medical wishes) for less than $300.  Well worth it if you have children, because you do want to be SURE that it is legally binding in your state.

This is not something you should cheap out on by trying to do it yourself if you have small children.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer.)

Emilyngh

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2014, 07:22:37 AM »
We want to do a will, we have 3 children, 3,5, and 8 so it's awhile before we wouldn't need to provide for them and make sure they have guardians.

I am just trying not to pay what a lawyer charges, is their any good way around that?

Look what's required for a will in your state.   Eg, in my state a hand written signed will is legal.   At least do this, if legal in your state.

We found our forms online, IIRC from Suze Orman.   I think we had to pay for access, but had a promo code and I don't remember how much we paid, $50?   You input your state into the site and it pulls up the correct forms.   We filled out the wills, medical power of attorneys, power of attorneys, and living wills, IIRC.    We filled them out and got things notarized with witnesses.   It was a bit of a pain, but once it's done, it should be done for a while.

Emilyngh

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2014, 07:29:29 AM »
Use a flat fee lawyer.  I got my whole thing done (including medical wishes) for less than $300.  Well worth it if you have children, because you do want to be SURE that it is legally binding in your state.

This is not something you should cheap out on by trying to do it yourself if you have small children.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer.)

I find the idea that one is perfectly capable of managing the investments of Mustachian levels of money themselves, but not finding and following the state guidelines for a will online to be very odd.   

NYCMiniBee133

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2014, 07:34:10 AM »
I used Quicken Willmaker and so did my father.

geekette

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2014, 09:37:33 AM »
Use a flat fee lawyer.  I got my whole thing done (including medical wishes) for less than $300.  Well worth it if you have children, because you do want to be SURE that it is legally binding in your state.

This is not something you should cheap out on by trying to do it yourself if you have small children.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer.)

I find the idea that one is perfectly capable of managing the investments of Mustachian levels of money themselves, but not finding and following the state guidelines for a will online to be very odd.

You buy the wrong investment, it's recoverable.  Not so much with a will.

I used Zamboni's guy.

dude

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2014, 09:41:07 AM »
Just be advised that a will does NOT trump your beneficiary election for your investment accounts in almost all circumstances.  You need to really make sure you update those beneficiaries from time to time if things change in your life. 

Mrs. PoP

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2014, 09:56:25 AM »
Mr PoP's employer provides a free benefit called Hyatt Legal Plan (MetLaw).  They apparently give basic advice about what you would need to do in your specific location at no cost to us.  Do either of your employers provide a similar benefit?  It's easy to forget about so might be worth checking with HR...

We haven't ever used it, but if looking at setting up a will, we might. 

cynthia1848

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2014, 10:10:28 AM »
Hire a lawyer.  It should be under 1000 to get a will, power of attorney, and health care proxy.  Shop around.

You will also need to do the beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts (401K, IRA, etc.) since those do NOT pass via will.

hexdexorex

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2014, 10:20:22 AM »
I second the Suze Orman thing. I hired a lawyer before and he did everything her online software does. But everytime I want to change the will I have to pay some hack to change it. With Suze Ormans software its alot easier.

Also do a trust (not a will) if your NW is above 100k...its ALOT easier when you pass to handle that.

scrubbyfish

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2014, 10:27:00 AM »
The first two times, I paid about $200 to a lawyer and had a reasonable, basic will that addressed my (lack of) assets and provided for guardianship of my son. More recently, I paid about $3000 to a lawyer, on purpose. My son's situation is complicated on several counts, there was much more to protect, and there were strange intersections of various laws (disability, inheritance, government support, etc). This was for will, power of attorney, health representation, etc.

I think which approach a person takes really depends on their circumstances. Sometimes the DIY approach is totally fine; sometimes something very involved is worth paying for; many times something in between in perfect.

Glenstache

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2014, 10:27:48 AM »
Much of this information is presented here:
http://getyourshittogether.org/

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2014, 10:28:39 AM »
I used Quicken Willmaker and so did my father.

I'm surprised that more people aren't on this bandwagon as it seems to be a solid Mustacian option if your situation is not too complicated. It costs around $40 and makes the process pretty easy. We drew up wills using it and had them notarized and witnessed at the UPS store. Note that WillMaker partnered with NOLO in developing it.

NCGal

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2014, 11:18:13 AM »
Sorry to divert from the original question, but do you need a will if you are married with no children? Surely everything would go to your spouse automatically, so no need for a will if you would leave it all to them anyway.
We have no children but had a full package done up by a lawyer.  Should we die at the same time, we want our assets shared among nieces and nephews. Some accounts allow us to list them as contingent beneficiaries and others don't. The package was for a Will, Advanced Directive, HIPPA Authorization and POA. Much of the language has changed not too long ago in our state for the Advanced Directive, which I hadn't known.

CommonCents

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2014, 05:49:52 PM »
I used Quicken Willmaker and so did my father.

I'm surprised that more people aren't on this bandwagon as it seems to be a solid Mustacian option if your situation is not too complicated. It costs around $40 and makes the process pretty easy. We drew up wills using it and had them notarized and witnessed at the UPS store. Note that WillMaker partnered with NOLO in developing it.

I'm against them because I've read articles about how these forms an programs are wrong - they make mistakes in the law or in reflecting your wishes. It seems a classic case of penny wise and pound foolish).

Disclaimer: I'm a lawyer, so I'm partway through drafting my own, but if my situation gets more complicated, I'd definitely hire a lawyer myself rather than try to learn the law (more than needed for my current situation, which is a few bequests and everything else to my husband).

chucklesmcgee

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2014, 06:22:56 PM »
An incredibly sound will might not be even necessary. Most bank accounts have payable on death designations that you can make and change, and can be transferred without a will. Unless you have an incredibly valuable, complicated estate or one where heirs may be likely to quarrel and contest ownership (ex-wives, disowned children, children from a second marriage, etc.) it really is of limited importance. Legalzoom.com is probably adequate.

CommonCents

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #33 on: August 15, 2014, 07:45:16 PM »
Except you still need to figure out where your "stuff" goes (car to clothes), even if every single account you own has a designation.  Do you know how your state would split it up?  I do.  (That said, my husband doesn't like how it'd go for him, which includes a portion to his parents, specifically his dad would get something, yet doesn't actually bother to create a will.)

RetiredAt63

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2014, 06:15:47 AM »
I had a lawyer do my will, personal and legal power of attorneys, and living will, for a flat fee.  His fee covered 2 people (intended for a couple) and I am separated, so my DD was the second person.  He asked all sorts of questions and really made me think about scenarios; it was an interesting, if morbid, exercise.

What can happen without a will?  My grandparents died during the Spanish Flu - they left insurance so financially things were OK.  However, they were very good friends with another couple, and the other couple wanted to adopt their children (my uncle and dad) and the family said no.  The two boys ended up having to move (two provinces away), and were brought up by a maiden aunt.  Is this what their parents wanted?  Who knows, no will that said anything.  This was 1918, but still, the law defines these things unless you do.


socaso

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Re: What do you guys do for a will?
« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2014, 05:58:50 PM »
My state has a free online form that you fill out, print, and get signed by witnesses. Then you file it with the state and keep a copy for yourself. I think the filing fee was $40? I found it by googling "(my state) will". It is very simple and I probably need something more but at least I have something on file. I also attached a list of personal possessions I would like to be given to various friends and family.