Creating a Will

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Gixene
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Creating a Will

Post by Gixene » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:52 am

Bogleheads,

Despite being 25 years of age, as a personal banker I often see the negative effects of improper planning of death. Thankfully, most of the scenarios have had a positive outcome (speaking lightly of death), however I have experienced a couple of scenarios when greed intervenes or disorganized after-life planning presents issues. This has prompted me to consider a will at the very least. I have decided a will because of the relatively low amount of assets I posess and that I agree with the Indiana inheritance law as I have no spouse or children. Although Indiana has a small claims affidavit for assets over $50K, there are multiple scenarios that could allocate assets over this threshold.

Though being that the probate courts decide the personal representative, I would feel more comfortable naming the executor or executrix. In this event, I would name my mother, the executrix. This is mainly because I speak to her most about the assets I hold. The other reason is due to both parents being divorced. I doubt my father would intervene if she was chosen by the probate courts, though it avoids any unnessesary issues that may present itself. Both parents are unfortunately financially illiterate, though only my mother has had to deal with death of one of her parents and I thought she handled it exceptionally well. This reason alone I elect her as executrix. Though I would name my father as the executor as an alternative.

Being an Apple user with a MacBook and an iPhone decreases the amount of legal resources (software) I can use. Quicken's Will Maker has negative reviews among the Mac OS users. I have only found one other option here on Bogleheads which is Legacy Writer which produced a will for $20. Though I haven't seen any other recommendations. In Indiana, simply writing a will with pen and paper in essence otherwise known as a holographic is viewed as a legal document. Though I'd rather avoid any possible costly or time consuming issues in court for the executrix or executor and the heirs. In banking, many centers of influence (CPAs, lawyers, real estate agents, etc.) will take care of your personal needs outside of business if you have a close relationship with them. I have a couple lawyers who may or may not draw up a will for free, though I would rather take the 'do-it-yourself' route and have them glance at it and if they feel otherwise and they offer to draw up their own documents free of charge then I would accept. If I had children, I would consider a legal professional to assist with the will.

Also as being a personal banker, I find personal representatives, executors and/or executrixes or administrators have a difficult time finding all the financials of the deceased no matter how open the deceased are about their finances. I have seen these people open a new estate days after closing an estate because of a asset they found. I have also found one person to find continuing dividend checks of the deceased 10 years later, which presented hurdles of stale checks, medallion stamps and the reopening of an asset among other things.

So, it's safe to assume I have a glance into the future of what to 'do' and what not to 'do' in this aspect. Furthermore, all of our days are numbered and I believe anyone over the age of 18 should construct a will even if it means using a pen and pad until finances can afford a more legally put together will.

Here are the questions.

1.) What recommended 'do-it-yourself' will creation tools that are Mac OS compatible?

2.) How do you present this information to the executor or executrix? I've thought about creating a Microsoft One Drive account that would hold the Will and asset information along with passwords to access these accounts plus other relating information. The password to the One Drive account would be sealed in an envelope where this person would have knowledge of. I have seen clients put their wills, POAs and other related documents in their safe deposit boxes which can be a mistake.

3.) What financial organization tool is recommended for outlining assets to create an inventory for the executor or executrix to use? I have an umbrella policy that outlines that attorneys will be provided, funeral expenses and other necessities essential in the event I die. I also have employer based life insurance that is complimentary. Items such as these would never be known or easily found.

Thank you,

Gixene

Jimmie
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Jimmie » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:35 am

For all the bad press lawyers get, my life experiences with all of them has been positive. Any lawyer I hired certainly looked out for my best interest. This included probably four different lawyers in different specialties hired throughout my adult life.

After my divorce in 1996, I had my will re-done. My lawyer charged me a surprisingly low fee since my estate was simple back then. Now that my life has changed, I need to see him soon to tweak my will and add a few details that cover my current life. I briefly considered using some of those DIY legal products. For example, I checked out Legal Zoom and felt like that would nickle/dime anybody. The savings are not worth the cost of a mistake.

I have two bits of advice for you:

1) Contact your county bar association for a referral. If you happen to know a lawyer socially in another specialty, ask him or her to make a referral in wills, trusts or estate law. Do your due diligence in checking out the lawyer's reputation.

2) Based on your age, having someone older than you as your executor can only be a short-term thing. Keep in the back of your mind as you get older that you will need to change this sooner rather than later.

Good luck to you!

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susa
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by susa » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:02 am

Several, including totally free, online will maker sites exist. Start from there as it will not cost anything and you can see how the online interview collects all accounts and documents your wishes. You could even use these online tools as a draft to present to an attorney with most of the assets quickly summarized as well as your goal toward final disposition.

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gasdoc
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gasdoc » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:49 am

I found Legal Zoom to be a good source for our last wills and other necessary power of attorney documents. We had used an attorney previously, and I liked the online process better. The online companies are fine if your estate and plans are uncomplicated. We keep copies of the will, etc., in a home safe, and on our computer, with external hard drive and cloud backup.

gasdoc

gr7070
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gr7070 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:59 am

I used Quicken Willmaker. It was great, though that was some time ago. Just borrow someone's PC if the Mac worries you. Can't be that hard to find one.

If your situation is simple, and it sure sounds like it is, I definitely remember recommend the DIY not a lawyer.

At 25 and admitted little assets I'm not sure their's a whole lot to be concerned about. Additionally, there's a good chance a large percentage of your assets will not pass through probation but through beneficiary designations.

I think you're making the rest of this too complex. Just write out account locations, life insurance is through work, etc. Make this separate from will. No passwords - for a lot of reasons; one, they should change between now and 50 years regardless. Put the will in sealed envelope. Put all other info you want to pass along, letters, $ info, etc. in another. Put all in a big envelope and just give it to your mom. If she's competent enough to be the executor she should be able to store it somewhere appropriate. We actually have our wills ourselves.

While a will is definitely not a bad idea; at 25, no wife, no kids, little assets, and beneficiary designations on most assets I doubt I'd even bother with making a will. You're exceedingly unlikely to die. I assume your parents have enough money or at least on their way. You have little that matters anyway. You'll want to change the will when you have a wife and children. On and on.

Personally I'd just wait; but certainly no real harm to create one.

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CAsage
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by CAsage » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:34 am

Most of my assets will pass through beneficiary or Pay-on-Death (IRA, Roth IRA, checking, even my car!). With all that covered, I just needed a simple will to name an executor and cover anything else. I was very happy with Nolo Press online Willmaker, worked out just for not much cash.
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billthecat
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by billthecat » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:37 am

Willmaker, which as you note is for Mac too, probably gets crap reviews because it's a typical Windows-world clunky app. It's a throwback to the 90s. Not unlike turbotax to be honest.

But, I still use it. Turbotax too. And it walks you through all the questions, including creating the instructions (account info, etc.). For the survivor instructions though I just started with that and then rolled my own in Pages. With so many accounts, etc., I found it better to present the info in tables. I pity the fool who has to untangle my stuff though. Since the instructions are not part of the will, you can update them whenever you want (wills need to be witnessed).

You could do the same (export and edit in a word processor) for the will but don't touch the carefully worded legal part and only change the grants by following exactly how it was done for other grants.

Although we use Macs, you can still run Windows software if you're inclined. Of course you could setup boot camp, or you can buy VMware or Parallels, or get the free and good VirtualBox, or try your luck with Crossover. I personally use Virtualbox (and only if I reaaaally need to use Windows).

Setting up a will is a new thing for me. Most accounts transfer to beneficiaries, so outside the will. For real estate I want to setup transfer on death deeds, but still exploring that. (I gather probate costs 3% of the value, so avoiding that is a boon to survivors.)
Last edited by billthecat on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

tibbitts
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by tibbitts » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:48 am

Having gone through this recently I don't think it's as complicated as you're trying to make it. You can do some of the free download legal forms or Legalzoom. Lawyers might not charge that much - you could investigate pricing. From what you say there will be nobody to contest your will and it won't be complicated. Remember the will is only for accounts or property for which you don't designate pay-on-death, so it might not be covering a large percentage of your assets. Most states have simple transfer-on-death for real property also, but some don't.

You'll have the problem we're discussing in another thread that your PoA might not be honored by financial institutions, so you may need to fill out separate PoAs for each one that requires it.

You need documentation to describe all your accounts, etc. and it's not something you'll get right/complete on the first revision. You'll be changing it frequently so keeping it up is always a challenge, and of course make sure your designated person always has access to the latest copy. You can do that with something like Google Drive, since you don't need to put confidential information into that document. You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone, preferably in some encrypted format, and that's even more difficult to keep up with. All the solutions, Lastpass etc., have pros and cons.

With your age, you'll probably eventually have to find a younger person to designate in all your documents, but that's not a problem now.

afan
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by afan » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:09 pm

Agree that your situation is so simple that DIY should be fine.
I would render all of your documents on PAPER and store them that way. This makes it far easier for your personal representative to deal with. If you leave them in digital form they have to have the correct program and OS to open them. If enough time passes that the format of the current programs have changed backward compatibility could be a problem.

Your mom can store the paper copies in her safe deposit box, or where ever she keeps similar valuable documents. This should be accessible to her.

As your life progresses and you have spouse, kids, debts, charitable bequests and so forth you can worry about complications.

If your work has you knowing some estate planning lawyers, perhaps even who work for your bank, you can ask them informally what they think of your plans. But do not engage them to do legal work work for you. The cost will quickly exceed its value for you.
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gr7070
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gr7070 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:22 pm

tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.

Mr.BB
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:29 pm

I think a will and living trusts are important enough to make sure they are done right and should be left to a lawyer to do instead of risking it with a software program. We also set up a "letter of intent", to help guide the executor of our will in case they had any questions about distributions of our assets. I also set up a worksheet with all of our credit cards and financial accounts with passwords and account numbers (yes this is in our safety deposit box :-)) so they know how to access everything we have.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

tibbitts
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by tibbitts » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:34 pm

gr7070 wrote:
tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.

It will often take quite a while to obtain proof-of-death and then have the various entities process that proof. During that time you'll need to check on accounts, pay bills, receive email notifications, etc. It was extremely beneficial to me to have access to all the online accounts when I was recently in this situation.

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sperry8
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by sperry8 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:37 pm

gr7070 wrote:
tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.


Agreed. You just need to keep a list of places you hold accounts. They can then access them (whether through POD or probate) via a death certificate which they can obtain using your social.

Just hold that list in the cloud so you can update it in real time. The list can be shared with your executor (so they have access to the shared document). No issue with the list since usernames and passwords are not stored or needed.
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tibbitts
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by tibbitts » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:45 pm

Mr.BB wrote:I think a will and living trusts are important enough to make sure they are done right and should be left to a lawyer to do instead of risking it with a software program. We also set up a "letter of intent", to help guide the executor of our will in case they had any questions about distributions of our assets. I also set up a worksheet with all of our credit cards and financial accounts with passwords and account numbers (yes this is in our safety deposit box :-)) so they know how to access everything we have.

The safe deposit box only works with someone close by. In my case the person that will need logins and passwords lives a long distance away, and I change my passwords pretty frequently (some websites force changes regularly, whether we agree with that idea or not), making safe deposit box updates not the most practical.

In the case of the OP it's not clear there will be any significant assets that won't pass through pay-on-death - maybe a car and minor personal effects - so to me that's a different situation than someone with more assets to pass on.

I agree that the letter of intent is extremely important and is something that, even in my experience with a very simple situation, needs very frequent updating.

Mr.BB
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:35 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:I think a will and living trusts are important enough to make sure they are done right and should be left to a lawyer to do instead of risking it with a software program. We also set up a "letter of intent", to help guide the executor of our will in case they had any questions about distributions of our assets. I also set up a worksheet with all of our credit cards and financial accounts with passwords and account numbers (yes this is in our safety deposit box :-)) so they know how to access everything we have.

The safe deposit box only works with someone close by. In my case the person that will need logins and passwords lives a long distance away, and I change my passwords pretty frequently (some websites force changes regularly, whether we agree with that idea or not), making safe deposit box updates not the most practical.

In the case of the OP it's not clear there will be any significant assets that won't pass through pay-on-death - maybe a car and minor personal effects - so to me that's a different situation than someone with more assets to pass on.

I agree that the letter of intent is extremely important and is something that, even in my experience with a very simple situation, needs very frequent updating.


Even if the passwords have changed on the summary worksheet, it gives the executor all the accounts where the finances are. So even if they have to send in the death certificate to get access to the various accts, they at least know where everything is.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

gr7070
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gr7070 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:23 pm

I have heard to not keep your will in your own safe deposit box, as know one will be allowed to access it upon your death to retrieve the will.

tibbitts wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:I agree that the letter of intent is extremely important and is something that, even in my experience with a very simple situation, needs very frequent updating.


Really? I've barely had to update anything in 15 years.

We have accounts at Vanguard, and through our employers. The checking account hasn't changed either. Our online savings account has, but maybe twice. What else is there?

And frankly at 45 years old both of us dying is exceedingly long odds. One of us who knows where everything is should be left.

Keep it simple. Write a will. Jot down your current accounts. Keep it safe. Tell appropriate folks where it is. Ignore it for a very long time.

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gasdoc
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gasdoc » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:44 pm

afan wrote:Agree that your situation is so simple that DIY should be fine.
I would render all of your documents on PAPER and store them that way. This makes it far easier for your personal representative to deal with. If you leave them in digital form they have to have the correct program and OS to open them. If enough time passes that the format of the current programs have changed backward compatibility could be a problem.

Your mom can store the paper copies in her safe deposit box, or where ever she keeps similar valuable documents. This should be accessible to her.

As your life progresses and you have spouse, kids, debts, charitable bequests and so forth you can worry about complications.

If your work has you knowing some estate planning lawyers, perhaps even who work for your bank, you can ask them informally what they think of your plans. But do not engage them to do legal work work for you. The cost will quickly exceed its value for you.


I would store the official, signed documents in paper form, but keep copies in the cloud for your own retrieval in case of fire or whatever.

gasdoc

JGoneRiding
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by JGoneRiding » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:52 pm

I found rocket lawyer inlune to privide excellent basic wills that are state specific for good price. You can talk directly with one of their lawyers for a little extra if you want.

As long as you are doing nothing odd and have no real dependents this is a reasonable option.

In your shoes (when i was) i ended up deciding not to have a will and just listing everything for beneficiaries. But my parents are married to each other and my state laws would have given them everything and it would have just been personal property and the house to deal with.

Now that i have a child on the way and a husband i made him do wills. We will redo them once we are done with having kids and establish trusts then

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Cosmo
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Cosmo » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:03 pm

Gixene wrote:Bogleheads,

Despite being 25 years of age, as a personal banker I often see the negative effects of improper planning of death. Thankfully, most of the scenarios have had a positive outcome (speaking lightly of death), however I have experienced a couple of scenarios when greed intervenes or disorganized after-life planning presents issues. This has prompted me to consider a will at the very least. I have decided a will because of the relatively low amount of assets I posess and that I agree with the Indiana inheritance law as I have no spouse or children. Although Indiana has a small claims affidavit for assets over $50K, there are multiple scenarios that could allocate assets over this threshold.

Though being that the probate courts decide the personal representative, I would feel more comfortable naming the executor or executrix. In this event, I would name my mother, the executrix. This is mainly because I speak to her most about the assets I hold. The other reason is due to both parents being divorced. I doubt my father would intervene if she was chosen by the probate courts, though it avoids any unnessesary issues that may present itself. Both parents are unfortunately financially illiterate, though only my mother has had to deal with death of one of her parents and I thought she handled it exceptionally well. This reason alone I elect her as executrix. Though I would name my father as the executor as an alternative.

Being an Apple user with a MacBook and an iPhone decreases the amount of legal resources (software) I can use. Quicken's Will Maker has negative reviews among the Mac OS users. I have only found one other option here on Bogleheads which is Legacy Writer which produced a will for $20. Though I haven't seen any other recommendations. In Indiana, simply writing a will with pen and paper in essence otherwise known as a holographic is viewed as a legal document. Though I'd rather avoid any possible costly or time consuming issues in court for the executrix or executor and the heirs. In banking, many centers of influence (CPAs, lawyers, real estate agents, etc.) will take care of your personal needs outside of business if you have a close relationship with them. I have a couple lawyers who may or may not draw up a will for free, though I would rather take the 'do-it-yourself' route and have them glance at it and if they feel otherwise and they offer to draw up their own documents free of charge then I would accept. If I had children, I would consider a legal professional to assist with the will.

Also as being a personal banker, I find personal representatives, executors and/or executrixes or administrators have a difficult time finding all the financials of the deceased no matter how open the deceased are about their finances. I have seen these people open a new estate days after closing an estate because of a asset they found. I have also found one person to find continuing dividend checks of the deceased 10 years later, which presented hurdles of stale checks, medallion stamps and the reopening of an asset among other things.

So, it's safe to assume I have a glance into the future of what to 'do' and what not to 'do' in this aspect. Furthermore, all of our days are numbered and I believe anyone over the age of 18 should construct a will even if it means using a pen and pad until finances can afford a more legally put together will.

Here are the questions.

1.) What recommended 'do-it-yourself' will creation tools that are Mac OS compatible?

2.) How do you present this information to the executor or executrix? I've thought about creating a Microsoft One Drive account that would hold the Will and asset information along with passwords to access these accounts plus other relating information. The password to the One Drive account would be sealed in an envelope where this person would have knowledge of. I have seen clients put their wills, POAs and other related documents in their safe deposit boxes which can be a mistake.

3.) What financial organization tool is recommended for outlining assets to create an inventory for the executor or executrix to use? I have an umbrella policy that outlines that attorneys will be provided, funeral expenses and other necessities essential in the event I die. I also have employer based life insurance that is complimentary. Items such as these would never be known or easily found.

Thank you,

Gixene


I used the online version of Nolo. Worked great for me. My situation is pretty straight forwarded. I would imagine that your situation is even more so. Check it out:


http://store.nolo.com/products/online-w ... r+-+phrase

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Cosmo
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Cosmo » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:05 pm

Mr.BB wrote:I think a will and living trusts are important enough to make sure they are done right and should be left to a lawyer to do instead of risking it with a software program. We also set up a "letter of intent", to help guide the executor of our will in case they had any questions about distributions of our assets. I also set up a worksheet with all of our credit cards and financial accounts with passwords and account numbers (yes this is in our safety deposit box :-)) so they know how to access everything we have.


I think a simple will with a very straight forwarded situation would be fine in these circumstances. Something more complex and I would definitely to get an attorney.

Cosmo

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Gixene
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Gixene » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:25 pm

Jimmie wrote:For all the bad press lawyers get, my life experiences with all of them has been positive. Any lawyer I hired certainly looked out for my best interest. This included probably four different lawyers in different specialties hired throughout my adult life.

After my divorce in 1996, I had my will re-done. My lawyer charged me a surprisingly low fee since my estate was simple back then. Now that my life has changed, I need to see him soon to tweak my will and add a few details that cover my current life. I briefly considered using some of those DIY legal products. For example, I checked out Legal Zoom and felt like that would nickle/dime anybody. The savings are not worth the cost of a mistake.

I have two bits of advice for you:

1) Contact your county bar association for a referral. If you happen to know a lawyer socially in another specialty, ask him or her to make a referral in wills, trusts or estate law. Do your due diligence in checking out the lawyer's reputation.

2) Based on your age, having someone older than you as your executor can only be a short-term thing. Keep in the back of your mind as you get older that you will need to change this sooner rather than later.

Good luck to you!


Reply to your answers.

1.) As I mentioned in the original post, being in banking I have built relationships with attorneys (even one who specializes in elder care, estate planning, etc.). However, I don't feel these relationships are solid enough to receive free services. I do actually receive or have been offered free services from CPAs, real estate agents, etc.). Though I still feel a do-it-yourself will would be best in my situation, I will still have an attorney review the finished document. If he feels it's not adequate, I wouldn't be surprised if he offered a will free at charge.

2.) I do agree with you. Though I feel as if no one has more knowledge of my financial situation other than my parents. I hope by the time they are older, that I will be married and be able to name a spouse as an executrix and another person as an alternative executor or executrix.

susa wrote:Several, including totally free, online will maker sites exist. Start from there as it will not cost anything and you can see how the online interview collects all accounts and documents your wishes. You could even use these online tools as a draft to present to an attorney with most of the assets quickly summarized as well as your goal toward final disposition.


So you feel as if an attorney is needed dispute being single with no children?

gasdoc wrote:I found Legal Zoom to be a good source for our last wills and other necessary power of attorney documents. We had used an attorney previously, and I liked the online process better. The online companies are fine if your estate and plans are uncomplicated. We keep copies of the will, etc., in a home safe, and on our computer, with external hard drive and cloud backup.

gasdoc


Legal Zoom I see is $69 while Legacy Writer is $19.95. However, Legacy Writer does not offer self-proving affidavit. Not required for a legal will in Indiana, though it does add strength to the document. Regardless, I was going to have one of my colleagues at the bank notarize my signature if there was a dedicated place or not. It also adds a property worksheet as well which is handy. Though shouldn't the property worksheet be updated annually?

gr7070 wrote:I used Quicken Willmaker. It was great, though that was some time ago. Just borrow someone's PC if the Mac worries you. Can't be that hard to find one.

If your situation is simple, and it sure sounds like it is, I definitely remember recommend the DIY not a lawyer.

At 25 and admitted little assets I'm not sure their's a whole lot to be concerned about. Additionally, there's a good chance a large percentage of your assets will not pass through probation but through beneficiary designations.

I think you're making the rest of this too complex. Just write out account locations, life insurance is through work, etc. Make this separate from will. No passwords - for a lot of reasons; one, they should change between now and 50 years regardless. Put the will in sealed envelope. Put all other info you want to pass along, letters, $ info, etc. in another. Put all in a big envelope and just give it to your mom. If she's competent enough to be the executor she should be able to store it somewhere appropriate. We actually have our wills ourselves.

While a will is definitely not a bad idea; at 25, no wife, no kids, little assets, and beneficiary designations on most assets I doubt I'd even bother with making a will. You're exceedingly unlikely to die. I assume your parents have enough money or at least on their way. You have little that matters anyway. You'll want to change the will when you have a wife and children. On and on.

Personally I'd just wait; but certainly no real harm to create one.


I don't understand how I'm making this too complex? If at all, I'm making this too simple in the event I decease before becoming married and/or have children. Oh, I like how you mention "I assume your parents have enough money." That's quite comical, as I loan money to my parents from time to time.

CAsage wrote:Most of my assets will pass through beneficiary or Pay-on-Death (IRA, Roth IRA, checking, even my car!). With all that covered, I just needed a simple will to name an executor and cover anything else. I was very happy with Nolo Press online Willmaker, worked out just for not much cash.


POD assets are fine, but they have to mirror your will as well. If there is variations, then this can cause issues in probate. Another issue can be debts owed to creditors, which must be paid. I hope you have an asset that can pay for these debts or I believe your personal representative, executor, executrix or administrator could be footing the bill. I'll ask one of the attorneys I work with on the last point.

Nolo is a company who sells Quicken WillMaker Plus. It's an excellent software, but not for Mac OS users.

billthecat wrote:Willmaker, which as you note is for Mac too, probably gets crap reviews because it's a typical Windows-world clunky app. It's a throwback to the 90s. Not unlike turbotax to be honest.

But, I still use it. Turbotax too. And it walks you through all the questions, including creating the instructions (account info, etc.). For the survivor instructions though I just started with that and then rolled my own in Pages. With so many accounts, etc., I found it better to present the info in tables. I pity the fool who has to untangle my stuff though. Since the instructions are not part of the will, you can update them whenever you want (wills need to be witnessed).

You could do the same (export and edit in a word processor) for the will but don't touch the carefully worded legal part and only change the grants by following exactly how it was done for other grants.

Although we use Macs, you can still run Windows software if you're inclined. Of course you could setup boot camp, or you can buy VMware or Parallels, or get the free and good VirtualBox, or try your luck with Crossover. I personally use Virtualbox (and only if I reaaaally need to use Windows).

Setting up a will is a new thing for me. Most accounts transfer to beneficiaries, so outside the will. For real estate I want to setup transfer on death deeds, but still exploring that. (I gather probate costs 3% of the value, so avoiding that is a boon to survivors.)


So I can better understand. You have a Mac but still use Quicken WillMaker on Mac OS and still find it relatively worth it? Or are you using Virtualbox for Quicken Willmaker?

tibbitts wrote:Having gone through this recently I don't think it's as complicated as you're trying to make it. You can do some of the free download legal forms or Legalzoom. Lawyers might not charge that much - you could investigate pricing. From what you say there will be nobody to contest your will and it won't be complicated. Remember the will is only for accounts or property for which you don't designate pay-on-death, so it might not be covering a large percentage of your assets. Most states have simple transfer-on-death for real property also, but some don't.

You'll have the problem we're discussing in another thread that your PoA might not be honored by financial institutions, so you may need to fill out separate PoAs for each one that requires it.

You need documentation to describe all your accounts, etc. and it's not something you'll get right/complete on the first revision. You'll be changing it frequently so keeping it up is always a challenge, and of course make sure your designated person always has access to the latest copy. You can do that with something like Google Drive, since you don't need to put confidential information into that document. You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone, preferably in some encrypted format, and that's even more difficult to keep up with. All the solutions, Lastpass etc., have pros and cons.

With your age, you'll probably eventually have to find a younger person to designate in all your documents, but that's not a problem now.


Well, you are speaking to someone who is a personal banker in retail banking. You and another member in this thread believe I'm making this complicated. If I was making it complicated, I would simply not make a will. I deal with PODs, POAs, trusts, QITs, etc. I understand the dynamics fully, I promise. I was only asking for recommendations on the organization part of this. If I wanted, since I live in Indiana I could write a will on the back of a cocktail napkin and write the password to unlock my personal laptop which would hint my financials.

afan wrote:Agree that your situation is so simple that DIY should be fine.
I would render all of your documents on PAPER and store them that way. This makes it far easier for your personal representative to deal with. If you leave them in digital form they have to have the correct program and OS to open them. If enough time passes that the format of the current programs have changed backward compatibility could be a problem.

Your mom can store the paper copies in her safe deposit box, or where ever she keeps similar valuable documents. This should be accessible to her.

As your life progresses and you have spouse, kids, debts, charitable bequests and so forth you can worry about complications.

If your work has you knowing some estate planning lawyers, perhaps even who work for your bank, you can ask them informally what they think of your plans. But do not engage them to do legal work work for you. The cost will quickly exceed its value for you.


Thankfully, my mother is a business woman and fairly tech savvy while I cannot say the same of my father who is a carpenter. I believe she would agree with the cloud option. Though I should have an option for my father to access this correct? I agree with your point though, I should ask her what is most convenient for her. I do like the Safe Deposit Box feature for certain reasons. Though it does have drawbacks.

gr7070 wrote:
tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.


Although I agree that passwords may not be needed to access accounts upon death. Honestly, if credit card bills are late for a few weeks then I'm not concerned. After all, I am deceased. Yes, creating a financial POA is the next item on the financial 'To-Do' list. I can promise that at 25 years of age that I have an excellent credit score and credit report. Being in a mentally or physically incapacitated state that may result in liens, collections, missed payments, etc. would be a worry. Yes, I will provide every credential to access these accounts to ensure short-term financial aren't impacted. If I provide this information while being alive for a POA, why not provide it when I'm deceased. In my case, my financial POA will be the same person who is the executrix of my estate. She will have access to this information regardless.

Mr.BB wrote:I think a will and living trusts are important enough to make sure they are done right and should be left to a lawyer to do instead of risking it with a software program. We also set up a "letter of intent", to help guide the executor of our will in case they had any questions about distributions of our assets. I also set up a worksheet with all of our credit cards and financial accounts with passwords and account numbers (yes this is in our safety deposit box :-)) so they know how to access everything we have.


I know an attorney who will create a will for $600. Though I'd rather put the $550 towards retirement. I believe I will use an attorney when I am married and/or have children. However, I'm a single and without children. Are you single and without children as well?

tibbitts wrote:
gr7070 wrote:
tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.

It will often take quite a while to obtain proof-of-death and then have the various entities process that proof. During that time you'll need to check on accounts, pay bills, receive email notifications, etc. It was extremely beneficial to me to have access to all the online accounts when I was recently in this situation.


I agree. Being a personal banker, I cannot help anyone who does not have a Death Certificate and a Letter of Administration or similar documents by the courts. I've seen this take a couple of weeks. Depending on the time of month, bills can be paid late and lots of things can go 'haywire' if you will. Though like I said earlier, my executrix and financial POA are the same person. I want the financial POA to have access to this information to avoid negative ramifications. Yes, I won't care if I'm deceased if American Express is paid late or my stock option expires or is exercised, but at least they have a head start on knowing my financials. Though if the executor or executrix and financial POA are different people, I may think differently.

sperry8 wrote:
gr7070 wrote:
tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.


Agreed. You just need to keep a list of places you hold accounts. They can then access them (whether through POD or probate) via a death certificate which they can obtain using your social.

Just hold that list in the cloud so you can update it in real time. The list can be shared with your executor (so they have access to the shared document). No issue with the list since usernames and passwords are not stored or needed.


I'll be honest, I am hesitant in regards to offering credentials to access financial accounts as my mother is nosey. I also don't know how comfortable I am leaving this information in the cloud. However, I do have Apple KeyChain which is encrypted on Apple's servers. The easy option would be keeping the password to the MacBook and/or iPhone in a hidden place. I'm not entirely sure the best way to store this information so it's accessible, but I do believe it is necessary.

tibbitts wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:I think a will and living trusts are important enough to make sure they are done right and should be left to a lawyer to do instead of risking it with a software program. We also set up a "letter of intent", to help guide the executor of our will in case they had any questions about distributions of our assets. I also set up a worksheet with all of our credit cards and financial accounts with passwords and account numbers (yes this is in our safety deposit box :-)) so they know how to access everything we have.

The safe deposit box only works with someone close by. In my case the person that will need logins and passwords lives a long distance away, and I change my passwords pretty frequently (some websites force changes regularly, whether we agree with that idea or not), making safe deposit box updates not the most practical.

In the case of the OP it's not clear there will be any significant assets that won't pass through pay-on-death - maybe a car and minor personal effects - so to me that's a different situation than someone with more assets to pass on.

I agree that the letter of intent is extremely important and is something that, even in my experience with a very simple situation, needs very frequent updating.


Safe Deposit Boxes have the benefits and drawbacks. Being a personal banker in retail banking, I've seen both. I've seen it benefit the principal who was in the hospital to allow access for the agent to access documents to continue their financials. Though I've also seen executors spend a couple of months attempting to access Safe Deposit Boxes because they weren't given access before the person deceased. I've also seen the deceased leave wills in their Safe Deposit Box with no one who knew of the documents until it's too late. I do like the idea of Safe Deposit Boxes, but I believe with the digital world (cloud) it has lost its benefit in this aspect for documents. Furthermore, the smallest Safe Deposit Box our branch offers is $35 a year. Not expensive, but I may consider it.

gr7070 wrote:I have heard to not keep your will in your own safe deposit box, as know one will be allowed to access it upon your death to retrieve the will.

tibbitts wrote:
Mr.BB wrote:I agree that the letter of intent is extremely important and is something that, even in my experience with a very simple situation, needs very frequent updating.


Really? I've barely had to update anything in 15 years.

We have accounts at Vanguard, and through our employers. The checking account hasn't changed either. Our online savings account has, but maybe twice. What else is there?

And frankly at 45 years old both of us dying is exceedingly long odds. One of us who knows where everything is should be left.

Keep it simple. Write a will. Jot down your current accounts. Keep it safe. Tell appropriate folks where it is. Ignore it for a very long time.


I believe it depends on the person. It should be updated with any major life changes. Purchase automobile, purchase home, marriage of spouse, birth of child, birth of grandchild and pet. Also for sale of automobile, sale of home, divorce and/or of spouse, death of child, death of grandchild, death of pet. These are just some of the factors. Sure, you may have added the "Plan B" on your will in the event one of these events happen. Though rarely is there a "Plan C" for these items. Which is a reason to update these documents but at the very least review these documents.

gasdoc wrote:
afan wrote:Agree that your situation is so simple that DIY should be fine.
I would render all of your documents on PAPER and store them that way. This makes it far easier for your personal representative to deal with. If you leave them in digital form they have to have the correct program and OS to open them. If enough time passes that the format of the current programs have changed backward compatibility could be a problem.

Your mom can store the paper copies in her safe deposit box, or where ever she keeps similar valuable documents. This should be accessible to her.

As your life progresses and you have spouse, kids, debts, charitable bequests and so forth you can worry about complications.

If your work has you knowing some estate planning lawyers, perhaps even who work for your bank, you can ask them informally what they think of your plans. But do not engage them to do legal work work for you. The cost will quickly exceed its value for you.


I would store the official, signed documents in paper form, but keep copies in the cloud for your own retrieval in case of fire or whatever.

gasdoc


I agree. I think the will, will be like the data I store on my MacBook. There are 3 copies. The original on the MacBook, a physical copy and a copy in the cloud. Fire, flood, theft, etc. can create issues.

JGoneRiding wrote:I found rocket lawyer inlune to privide excellent basic wills that are state specific for good price. You can talk directly with one of their lawyers for a little extra if you want.

As long as you are doing nothing odd and have no real dependents this is a reasonable option.

In your shoes (when i was) i ended up deciding not to have a will and just listing everything for beneficiaries. But my parents are married to each other and my state laws would have given them everything and it would have just been personal property and the house to deal with.

Now that i have a child on the way and a husband i made him do wills. We will redo them once we are done with having kids and establish trusts then


I've never heard Rocket Lawyer. However, I completed it and surprisingly it provided an actual review of the document. I may opt to type the document shown word for word, this would be free.

Cosmo wrote:
Gixene wrote:Bogleheads,

Despite being 25 years of age, as a personal banker I often see the negative effects of improper planning of death. Thankfully, most of the scenarios have had a positive outcome (speaking lightly of death), however I have experienced a couple of scenarios when greed intervenes or disorganized after-life planning presents issues. This has prompted me to consider a will at the very least. I have decided a will because of the relatively low amount of assets I posess and that I agree with the Indiana inheritance law as I have no spouse or children. Although Indiana has a small claims affidavit for assets over $50K, there are multiple scenarios that could allocate assets over this threshold.

Though being that the probate courts decide the personal representative, I would feel more comfortable naming the executor or executrix. In this event, I would name my mother, the executrix. This is mainly because I speak to her most about the assets I hold. The other reason is due to both parents being divorced. I doubt my father would intervene if she was chosen by the probate courts, though it avoids any unnessesary issues that may present itself. Both parents are unfortunately financially illiterate, though only my mother has had to deal with death of one of her parents and I thought she handled it exceptionally well. This reason alone I elect her as executrix. Though I would name my father as the executor as an alternative.

Being an Apple user with a MacBook and an iPhone decreases the amount of legal resources (software) I can use. Quicken's Will Maker has negative reviews among the Mac OS users. I have only found one other option here on Bogleheads which is Legacy Writer which produced a will for $20. Though I haven't seen any other recommendations. In Indiana, simply writing a will with pen and paper in essence otherwise known as a holographic is viewed as a legal document. Though I'd rather avoid any possible costly or time consuming issues in court for the executrix or executor and the heirs. In banking, many centers of influence (CPAs, lawyers, real estate agents, etc.) will take care of your personal needs outside of business if you have a close relationship with them. I have a couple lawyers who may or may not draw up a will for free, though I would rather take the 'do-it-yourself' route and have them glance at it and if they feel otherwise and they offer to draw up their own documents free of charge then I would accept. If I had children, I would consider a legal professional to assist with the will.

Also as being a personal banker, I find personal representatives, executors and/or executrixes or administrators have a difficult time finding all the financials of the deceased no matter how open the deceased are about their finances. I have seen these people open a new estate days after closing an estate because of a asset they found. I have also found one person to find continuing dividend checks of the deceased 10 years later, which presented hurdles of stale checks, medallion stamps and the reopening of an asset among other things.

So, it's safe to assume I have a glance into the future of what to 'do' and what not to 'do' in this aspect. Furthermore, all of our days are numbered and I believe anyone over the age of 18 should construct a will even if it means using a pen and pad until finances can afford a more legally put together will.

Here are the questions.

1.) What recommended 'do-it-yourself' will creation tools that are Mac OS compatible?

2.) How do you present this information to the executor or executrix? I've thought about creating a Microsoft One Drive account that would hold the Will and asset information along with passwords to access these accounts plus other relating information. The password to the One Drive account would be sealed in an envelope where this person would have knowledge of. I have seen clients put their wills, POAs and other related documents in their safe deposit boxes which can be a mistake.

3.) What financial organization tool is recommended for outlining assets to create an inventory for the executor or executrix to use? I have an umbrella policy that outlines that attorneys will be provided, funeral expenses and other necessities essential in the event I die. I also have employer based life insurance that is complimentary. Items such as these would never be known or easily found.

Thank you,

Gixene


I used the online version of Nolo. Worked great for me. My situation is pretty straight forwarded. I would imagine that your situation is even more so. Check it out:


http://store.nolo.com/products/online-w ... r+-+phrase


Yes, however Nolo is selling Quicken WillMaker which has negative reviews amongst the Mac community. Which is concerning as I am a Mac OS user.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by sperry8 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:50 pm

Gixene wrote:
sperry8 wrote:
gr7070 wrote:
tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.


Agreed. You just need to keep a list of places you hold accounts. They can then access them (whether through POD or probate) via a death certificate which they can obtain using your social.

Just hold that list in the cloud so you can update it in real time. The list can be shared with your executor (so they have access to the shared document). No issue with the list since usernames and passwords are not stored or needed.


I'll be honest, I am hesitant in regards to offering credentials to access financial accounts as my mother is nosey. I also don't know how comfortable I am leaving this information in the cloud. However, I do have Apple KeyChain which is encrypted on Apple's servers. The easy option would be keeping the password to the MacBook and/or iPhone in a hidden place. I'm not entirely sure the best way to store this information so it's accessible, but I do believe it is necessary.


I'm not sure what your issue is with re security. I do NOT suggest providing her with credentials. Solely put the names of the institutions you have accounts with. She won't know credentials or how much money is in each account. Just which ones. In the event of your premature demise she will know which ones to hand your death certificate to so she can then access your money. That is all she needs.
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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Gixene » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:45 am

sperry8 wrote:
Gixene wrote:
sperry8 wrote:
gr7070 wrote:
tibbitts wrote:You also have to get all your usernames and passwords to someone...


I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.


Agreed. You just need to keep a list of places you hold accounts. They can then access them (whether through POD or probate) via a death certificate which they can obtain using your social.

Just hold that list in the cloud so you can update it in real time. The list can be shared with your executor (so they have access to the shared document). No issue with the list since usernames and passwords are not stored or needed.


I'll be honest, I am hesitant in regards to offering credentials to access financial accounts as my mother is nosey. I also don't know how comfortable I am leaving this information in the cloud. However, I do have Apple KeyChain which is encrypted on Apple's servers. The easy option would be keeping the password to the MacBook and/or iPhone in a hidden place. I'm not entirely sure the best way to store this information so it's accessible, but I do believe it is necessary.


I'm not sure what your issue is with re security. I do NOT suggest providing her with credentials. Solely put the names of the institutions you have accounts with. She won't know credentials or how much money is in each account. Just which ones. In the event of your premature demise she will know which ones to hand your death certificate to so she can then access your money. That is all she needs.


Well, I will be providing her with a financial POA in the coming months. So comfortable or not, she will have full access to financial accounts. I will of course explain the importance of the POA but it is important in the event it's needed. Retirement accounts can continue to ride for several years, that's how confident I am in the asset allocation I have. Though paying creditors to ensure that there are no negatives to credit bureaus is most important. I'm 25 with a diamond as a credit report. I would hate to ruin it in the event of an unfortunate accident.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gr7070 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:15 am

"I believe it depends on the person. It should be updated with... Purchase automobile, purchase home, ... Also for sale of automobile, sale of home,"

Why? That's what the will is there for. 50% of all own goes to mom, 50 dad. Done!

I'm not sure why you think it matters that the executor knows anything about your finances now, or at any time until after you die. You've mentioned it multiple times now. It shouldn't matter. They're there to execute the will. That's it. You're list of accounts will provide the rest of the info needed.

FYI even with a wife and children a lawyer isn't needed for a will. 100 to wife, if she's dead kids split everything. Custody goes to Aunt Bee. Done.

You are absolutely making this way, way too involved.
1. Create will.
2. Write down important info.
3. Store both somewhere safe, but easily accessed upon your death. Inform where that will be.
4. Forget the rest of the BS you've been discussing.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Gixene » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:24 am

gr7070 wrote:"I believe it depends on the person. It should be updated with... Purchase automobile, purchase home, ... Also for sale of automobile, sale of home,"

Why? That's what the will is there for. 50% of all own goes to mom, 50 dad. Done!

I'm not sure why you think it matters that the executor knows anything about your finances now, or at any time until after you die. You've mentioned it multiple times now. It shouldn't matter. They're there to execute the will. That's it. You're list of accounts will provide the rest of the info needed.

FYI even with a wife and children a lawyer isn't needed for a will. 100 to wife, if she's dead kids split everything. Custody goes to Aunt Bee. Done.

You are absolutely making this way, way too involved.
1. Create will.
2. Write down important info.
3. Store both somewhere safe, but easily accessed upon your death. Inform where that will be.
4. Forget the rest of the BS you've been discussing.


Geesh, no need to be hostel. Just a discussion. If this is all "BS" then feel free to find other Boglehead threads to post on or find other things to do outside of the internet.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gr7070 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:35 am

Gixene wrote:If this is all "BS" then feel free to find other Boglehead threads to post on or find other things to do outside of the internet.


It's not all BS. Steps 1, 2, and 3 are not; everything after that is.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Gixene » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:42 am

gr7070 wrote:
Gixene wrote:If this is all "BS" then feel free to find other Boglehead threads to post on or find other things to do outside of the internet.


It's not all BS. Steps 1, 2, and 3 are not; everything after that is.


Yes, and you have been the most unhelpful person in this thread.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by 2stepsbehind » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:38 am

Gixene wrote:
gr7070 wrote:
Gixene wrote:If this is all "BS" then feel free to find other Boglehead threads to post on or find other things to do outside of the internet.


It's not all BS. Steps 1, 2, and 3 are not; everything after that is.


Yes, and you have been the most unhelpful person in this thread.


While gr7070 may have been terse, I think he's been trying to be helpful. You have a fairly straightforward situation; he's trying to remind you not to unnecessarily complicate it. At the end of the day whatever software program you use isn't going to make much of a difference, it will make a difference whether you execute the document properly and whether it can be found (consider keeping a sealed copy at work as well as at home). By having a will, you'll be ahead of most. If you are worried about your mother being nosy/possibly meddling in your financial affairs, then rather than give her the Financial POA and list of accounts keep it with the will and let her know where she can find the documents in the event it is needed. I personally wouldn't just randomly hand out that info, but ymmv.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by gasdoc » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:54 am

2stepsbehind wrote:
Gixene wrote:
gr7070 wrote:
Gixene wrote:If this is all "BS" then feel free to find other Boglehead threads to post on or find other things to do outside of the internet.


It's not all BS. Steps 1, 2, and 3 are not; everything after that is.


Yes, and you have been the most unhelpful person in this thread.


While gr7070 may have been terse, I think he's been trying to be helpful. You have a fairly straightforward situation; he's trying to remind you not to unnecessarily complicate it. At the end of the day whatever software program you use isn't going to make much of a difference, it will make a difference whether you execute the document properly and whether it can be found (consider keeping a sealed copy at work as well as at home). By having a will, you'll be ahead of most. If you are worried about your mother being nosy/possibly meddling in your financial affairs, then rather than give her the Financial POA and list of accounts keep it with the will and let her know where she can find the documents in the event it is needed. I personally wouldn't just randomly hand out that info, but ymmv.


+1. And even after you have a wife and a couple of kids, your situation is still relatively straightforward, and completely appropriate to stay with the online will-makers. Things don't really start getting too complicated until you get divorces and re-marriages, or maybe a business venture or two, in my opinion. I am married, with children, and the online services handle that easily. I think you can take the advice from gr7070- just don't be offended by the last comment.

gasdoc

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by Watty » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:34 am

gasdoc wrote:I found Legal Zoom to be a good source for our last wills and other necessary power of attorney documents. We had used an attorney previously, and I liked the online process better. The online companies are fine if your estate and plans are uncomplicated. We keep copies of the will, etc., in a home safe, and on our computer, with external hard drive and cloud backup.

gasdoc


+1

There is a quote that often comes up here. "The enemy of a good plan is the dream of perfect plan." Their fee is reasonable and figuring out how to do it for less cost could cause more problems than the savings would be worth.

As part of the process with Legal Zoom we had a telephone conversation with a lawyer and could have called back with follow up questions if we had any. My impression was that it was little different than meeting with a local budget lawyer.

In your situation all the other paperwork like the power of attorney and health care directives will likely be more important so pay a lot of attention to that.

I'm not a lawyer but I have a hard time believing that someone using your passwords for your financial accounts after your death is legal or a good idea.

One huge problem with setting someone up with access to your passwords like people suggested is that it could cause problems if one of your online financial accounts is ever hacked and there is an investigation. For example if someone hacks your investment account and clears it out the provider would normally cover the loss(hopefully). When they are investigating it the fact that the passwords were written down somewhere could cause them to not cover the loss.

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Re: Creating a Will

Post by sperry8 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:51 am

Gixene wrote:
sperry8 wrote:
Gixene wrote:
sperry8 wrote:
gr7070 wrote:
I disagree with this. This should not be needed to access accounts upon death.


Agreed. You just need to keep a list of places you hold accounts. They can then access them (whether through POD or probate) via a death certificate which they can obtain using your social.

Just hold that list in the cloud so you can update it in real time. The list can be shared with your executor (so they have access to the shared document). No issue with the list since usernames and passwords are not stored or needed.


I'll be honest, I am hesitant in regards to offering credentials to access financial accounts as my mother is nosey. I also don't know how comfortable I am leaving this information in the cloud. However, I do have Apple KeyChain which is encrypted on Apple's servers. The easy option would be keeping the password to the MacBook and/or iPhone in a hidden place. I'm not entirely sure the best way to store this information so it's accessible, but I do believe it is necessary.


I'm not sure what your issue is with re security. I do NOT suggest providing her with credentials. Solely put the names of the institutions you have accounts with. She won't know credentials or how much money is in each account. Just which ones. In the event of your premature demise she will know which ones to hand your death certificate to so she can then access your money. That is all she needs.


Well, I will be providing her with a financial POA in the coming months. So comfortable or not, she will have full access to financial accounts. I will of course explain the importance of the POA but it is important in the event it's needed. Retirement accounts can continue to ride for several years, that's how confident I am in the asset allocation I have. Though paying creditors to ensure that there are no negatives to credit bureaus is most important. I'm 25 with a diamond as a credit report. I would hate to ruin it in the event of an unfortunate accident.


Be very careful how you set up the POA. Many banks and fund companies & banks require their own POA to be signed and will not accept the one you create even if it is created by a lawyer and notarized.
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afan
Posts: 2905
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:01 pm

Re: Creating a Will

Post by afan » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:04 am

Regarding passwords and access:

If you are confident that your mom will stay up to date with digital formats, and that you will notify her if you change how the files are stored, then storing only in digital format should be fine. Just make sure you do keep her up to date. And make sure anything you create is readable in Windows as well as Mac (and Linux if you want to be really safe).

You raise an interesting issue about wanting her to serve as your attorney in fact if needed, but you want to avoid her meddling otherwise. The legal answer is a "springing" POA. But the problems of getting financial companies to recognize durable POA's would be even worse with a springing power. I suppose it is just a chance you will have to take. You could try to set up another roadblock- say give the documents to a friend who would forward them to your mom when asked- but that could lead to a failure of the plan.

I agree that you are far more likely to need someone to act as POA than as personal representative. After your premature death, your creditors will be paid at some point, and there would be no reason to worry about your credit rating. But you want your attorney in fact to be able to act quickly if needed. That means enough information for them to know where the accounts are and a streamlined process to get access. At your age I would not worry too much about it. When I had to take over for an elderly relative, one problem was even finding out about bills. Before we arranged to have everything forwarded to us, there were lots of things that got paid late because the relative just was not able to keep up with the correspondence. Had there been a list of all accounts, we could have at least tried contacting the companies to have them send the bills to us. Our experience was that they refused to honor a perfectly valid DPOA anyway, so I suspect that would not have worked.

In some of the comments about providing someone else with passwords I think there is a generational misunderstanding. In the unlikely event that you die prematurely, your personal representative, eventually, will get access to your bank, brokerage and retirement accounts. However, she will not get access to anything else you have stored online. Many people keep photos, diaries, email, Facebook and other personal information online. The death of an individual does not make these available to the personal representative. I have heard of people trying to write access into their wills, but I have no idea whether the various companies involved will honor such language. If there are things stored online you would want available to friends or family, you need a plan for how to make that happen. Your standard estate planning documents will not take care of this concern.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama

gr7070
Posts: 172
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:39 am

Re: Creating a Will

Post by gr7070 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:40 pm

gasdoc wrote:I think you can take the advice from gr7070- just don't be offended by the last comment.

Definitely not trying to offend. It might not help, but if replacing the word BS with "stuff" softens the tone any please consider that for context. I am often too curt in informal writing like message boards I also am too immune to curse words.

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CAsage
Posts: 623
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:25 pm

Re: Creating a Will

Post by CAsage » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:07 pm

CAsage wrote:
Most of my assets will pass through beneficiary or Pay-on-Death (IRA, Roth IRA, checking, even my car!). With all that covered, I just needed a simple will to name an executor and cover anything else. I was very happy with Nolo Press online Willmaker, worked out just for not much cash.


Gixene responded: POD assets are fine, but they have to mirror your will as well. If there is variations, then this can cause issues in probate. Another issue can be debts owed to creditors, which must be paid. I hope you have an asset that can pay for these debts or I believe your personal representative, executor, executrix or administrator could be footing the bill. I'll ask one of the attorneys I work with on the last point.

CaSage Update: My goal is to avoid probate completely, or use a short form probate. Both my parents left the children (my generation) assets as joint tenants or POD or beneficiary. We paid their closing utility bills and credit cards off in full out of assets that we had placed into our checking accounts. So, no trouble - people with few or no debts and high ethical standards don't worry about that! Mortgages transfer with the real estate, if any. Note that executors are not responsible for paying debts out of their assets, but from estate assets. The money is fungible, bills get paid and we get the rest.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.

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