Making a Will (Young Couple)

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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Sublime8700
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Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by Sublime8700 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:25 pm

My wife and I are around 30. We have some money, and a 6-month old son.

We'd like to make a simple will. We would rather not involve lawyers.

Anyone have good suggestions/experiences/cautionary tales?

Thank you.

HIinvestor
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by HIinvestor » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:41 pm

One of the most important choices is whom to name as guardian of your young child. If desired, you can name one person personal guardian and another person (or company) financial guardian.

Be sure to meet all the requirements of your state. We hired an attorney because our assets include real estate and we are significantly older than you. Attorneys vary greatly in price but for will only you might be able to find someone who could do everything for $100 or a few hundred.

wilked
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by wilked » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:51 pm

Have you tried searching the forum?

MooseandBear
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by MooseandBear » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:52 pm

+1 on the need to do a guardian.

We did it ourselves using will maker from Nolo.com. Remember, you make separate wills for each person. In our cases, the wills were identical except for switching the name of the person writing the will vs the spouse's name.

Also remember to go through all accounts (retirement, CDs, life insurance etc) to check that they reflect correct primary and secondary beneficiaries.

Topic Author
Sublime8700
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by Sublime8700 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:59 pm

Any good links on the forum? I'd love to read them.

Was thinking specifically about online services people really like.

The wisdom is invaluable.

Drew31
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by Drew31 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:37 pm

Here is one forum thread from about a year ago discussing Legalzoom. I only post as an example of threads you can read, not a specific recommendation. My family is in similar situation as yours and I too am trying to determine best course

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 1&t=111909

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dm200
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by dm200 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 8:41 pm

With "some money" and a child - I strongly suggest a "simple will" without a lawyer may be a bad idea. I suggest consulting an attorney that specializes In wills and trusts for folks like you and get a firm estimate and commitment of what this will cost and what you get. IMO, money saved now on a less than adequate will and/or trust could end up causing a lot of complications in the event of the untimely death of one or both of you.

forkhorn
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by forkhorn » Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:20 pm

My wife and I are in a similar situation. While most of this board would see our situation and recommend lawyer/trust/etc, we decided that the chances of both of us passing in our 30s is sufficiently low that we would use Nolo Willmaker for now. As we get older and our chances of dying in something other than a horrific car accident increase, we will re-evaluate and maybe use a lawyer. Our early death is sufficiently unlikely that I don't think it's worth the assured time and money lost preparing to the nth degree, vs the small chance of additional headaches for our child's godparents.

That was our logic, and so we bought the software. I like it (keep in mind I don't have anything to compare it to), and also like that I can easily update our documents using it as we have other children without having to go back to a lawyer each time. Actually, after using it now, I feel like I would be much better prepared to go talk with a lawyer, since I can identify a few areas where I wish the software would give other options. However, it makes you think about everything and if you are a do-it-yourselfer, it's probably worth the $40 or $50 to get it, and then go to the lawyer knowing exactly what you do/don't like. After all, if the $50 saves you ten minutes with the lawyer, then you come out ahead (unless it's a fixed price up front, of course, but still- the point is that it's a small cost to prepare yourself so you make the most of the expensive time you pay for with the lawyer).

+1 on the advice to check your beneficiaries for various accounts and insurance policies

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pjstack
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by pjstack » Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:21 am

forkhorn wrote:
That was our logic, and so we bought the software. I like it (keep in mind I don't have anything to compare it to), and also like that I can easily update our documents using it as we have other children without having to go back to a lawyer each time. Actually, after using it now, I feel like I would be much better prepared to go talk with a lawyer, since I can identify a few areas where I wish the software would give other options. However, it makes you think about everything and if you are a do-it-yourselfer, it's probably worth the $40 or $50 to get it, and then go to the lawyer knowing exactly what you do/don't like. After all, if the $50 saves you ten minutes with the lawyer, then you come out ahead (unless it's a fixed price up front, of course, but still- the point is that it's a small cost to prepare yourself so you make the most of the expensive time you pay for with the lawyer).

+1 on the advice to check your beneficiaries for various accounts and insurance policies
I think this is good advice, especially the part about " However, it makes you think about everything and if you are a do-it-yourselfer, it's probably worth the $40 or $50 to get it, and then go to the lawyer knowing exactly what you do/don't like. After all, if the $50 saves you ten minutes with the lawyer..."

Often lawyers will charge a modest price for a simple will as a good will gesture so that they may become "your" lawyer in the future.

At least, that's how it worked out for me.
pjstack

DualIncomeNoDebt
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by DualIncomeNoDebt » Sat Apr 12, 2014 3:56 am

Another suggestion: what state do you reside in? Check your state codes, some, if not many, will have a "statutory will" which is derived from the state's probate codes. It will be simple and bare-bones. But it also will provide for the valid assignment of assets after death, which can be enforced via court order -- and if that's what you want, a simple document like this will ensure you are testate and assets pass pursuant to your instruction. Not advising you to do this, and since you have a child, I think some minimal expert advice would be worth it. But getting something together is better than being intestate.

Sidney
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by Sidney » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:16 am

dm200 wrote:With "some money" and a child - I strongly suggest a "simple will" without a lawyer may be a bad idea. I suggest consulting an attorney that specializes In wills and trusts for folks like you and get a firm estimate and commitment of what this will cost and what you get. IMO, money saved now on a less than adequate will and/or trust could end up causing a lot of complications in the event of the untimely death of one or both of you.
I agree. You don't get a re-do on wills.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

2cents2
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by 2cents2 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 6:38 am

I think it is a good idea to get an attorney to draw up your will. It is just too important to take a chance that there is something wrong with the document. Each state is different, too.
Here are a couple of examples for the state of Virginia.
So, what happens if only one spouse dies and there is something wrong with the will you made?
"WHO INHERITS THE PROPERTY OF AN INTESTATE (Person Dying Without a Will)?
If a person dies without a will, Virginia law provides a course of descents as follows (after payment of funeral expenses, debts and cost of administration):
a) all to the surviving spouse, unless there are children (or their descendants) of someone other than the surviving spouse in which case, one-third goes to the surviving spouse and the remaining two-thirds is divided among all children."


Did you waive the requirement for the executor to get bond? Can you waive the requirement for a bond (What if your executor is an out of state resident)?
"The person appointed must take an oath that he or she will faithfully perform the duties required and further must give bond in an amount at least equal to the value of the estate to be handled. Surety generally must be given on the bond unless the will waives surety (which most wills do) or the person(s) appointed is (are) the only beneficiary(ies) or the appointment is of a bank or trust company. If the appointee is not a resident of Virginia, or in the case of co-fiduciaries, if none are residents of Virginia, surety will be required."

Source of quotes: Probate in Virginia Administration of Estates
Prepared and issued by the Virginia Court Clerks’ Association.
http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/ci ... rginia.pdf

wilked
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by wilked » Sat Apr 12, 2014 7:26 am

Sublime8700 wrote:My wife and I are around 30. We have some money, and a 6-month old son.

We'd like to make a simple will. We would rather not involve lawyers.

Anyone have good suggestions/experiences/cautionary tales?

Thank you.
I will tell you what we did (young 30s couple with child and ~$500,000 in assets)

Bought Willmaker (software by Quicken), had it make all the usual docs (will, power of attorney, etc). It give you pdfs.

I then took the pdfs and copied / pasted them into Word (note, lot of reformatting work here, probably 1-2 hours).

Finally, I had an attorney friend review and offer advice to modify. We made some changes on his advice. You could also hire an attorney, making it clear you only want a review - should be very cheap as compared to hiring them for the full thing.

We got everything notarized at the town hall for free.

Finally, we store our papers in the freezer (not fireproof but the closest thing to it in the house) and let family members know where it is.

bsteiner
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by bsteiner » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:27 pm

wilked wrote:... I had an attorney friend review and offer advice to modify. We made some changes on his advice. You could also hire an attorney, making it clear you only want a review - should be very cheap as compared to hiring them for the full thing.
I can look at a Will and spot the major issues in a few minutes. However, reviewing a draft of a Will and assisting the drafter in revising it might cost more than it would to draft one from the start.

wilked
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by wilked » Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:45 am

bsteiner wrote:
wilked wrote:... I had an attorney friend review and offer advice to modify. We made some changes on his advice. You could also hire an attorney, making it clear you only want a review - should be very cheap as compared to hiring them for the full thing.
I can look at a Will and spot the major issues in a few minutes. However, reviewing a draft of a Will and assisting the drafter in revising it might cost more than it would to draft one from the start.
Honestly, we do not have some crazy trust document. The will is only a couple of pages. My family law friend did not spend long in Word with Track Changes on. While I am sure WillMaker has some flaws, it stands to reason that it is at least 90% accurate

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XtremeSki2001
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by XtremeSki2001 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:23 am

Sublime8700 wrote:My wife and I are around 30. We have some money, and a 6-month old son.

We'd like to make a simple will. We would rather not involve lawyers.

Anyone have good suggestions/experiences/cautionary tales?

Thank you.
We are in the same boat and position as you and just met with a lawyer. He did a good job of pointing out some risks and was very helpful in answering many of our questions. The will and living will cost us ~$400 and was well worth it, IMHO.
A box of rain will ease the pain and love will see you through

wilked
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Re: Making a Will (Young Couple)

Post by wilked » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:42 am

XtremeSki2001 wrote:
Sublime8700 wrote:My wife and I are around 30. We have some money, and a 6-month old son.

We'd like to make a simple will. We would rather not involve lawyers.

Anyone have good suggestions/experiences/cautionary tales?

Thank you.
He did a good job of pointing out some risks
Do you mind sharing?

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