1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

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sighchological
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1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by sighchological » Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:53 pm

Hello all,

First time dad here! Really tired. Child is 3 weeks old, what is the best way to create a will for the following assets? Thanks in advance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Non retirement accounts:

$30K in savings.

$34K in joint Vanguard’s taxable account
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retirement accounts:

$100K in wife’s 403b

$20K in wife’s Roth IRA

$82K in my 457B

$25K in my Roth IRA

$9K in Solo 401K
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
($236K in retirement accounts, and $64K in taxable accounts.)

Mortgage: $156K at 4%, in 6th year of 30 year mortgage.

Questions:

1) Is it necessary to pay an attorney to do a will, or are my assets straightforward enough so that I can create a will myself through a willmaker software?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2) We’re planning to have 1-2 more kids, is it easy to add to the will through Nolo willmaker?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3) Will a trust be necessary?

tibbitts
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by tibbitts » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:08 pm

This question has been asked here many times, and you will probably not find universal agreement on how best (or, let's say, most Boglehead-ish) way to prepare a will or, or whether you need a trust. Ultimately it depends on personal circumstances - the people you'll designate to care for you child, etc.

I'm not an expert but would guess that normally a will you create will already account for additional future children.

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munemaker
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by munemaker » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:28 pm

DW and I prepared our will using WilMaker Pro. You can check out a book at the public library that has the WilMaker Pro disk inside the back cover.

From past threads, others on here are going to tell you that you need to pay a lawyer. I am sure some people with complicated situations do, but for most, I don't think so.

tibbitts
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by tibbitts » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:32 pm

Remember to complete the other estate documents as well, which are included in Willmaker if you go that route. They can be just as important as a will. An attorney will usually prepare all the documents as part of a package of services.

Case59
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Case59 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:48 pm

The key thing at your stage of life is to plan for the worst, which is simultaneous death of both you and your wife (car crash, both go down on a plane, whatever). You want to be able to name the guardian of your child, rather than have a court do it, and plan for the handling of the assets (rather than a court), which usually does mean a trust thought that's not a big deal. You also want peace of mind, and state laws vary a lot. Without commenting on the software options, with which I am unfamiliar, I think a few hundred bucks on a lawyer is worth it.

At your choice,such wills usually have what is called an "after-born" provision, which means any later children will be treated equally and as if they had been born at the time of the will and trust provisions, without the need for revision.

I am a retired attorney, though not one specializing in trusts and estates. My comments are based on discussions with T&E attorneys and various wills I have executed over the years.
"Most quotations on the internet are incorrect."-Mark Twain

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bottlecap
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by bottlecap » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:23 pm

For most people, it’s not a good idea when there are children involved. Things are important with children.

Wills are the type of thing that can be invalidated completely if small details aren’t followed. A small variance in word choice can sometimes make the world of difference. Families wind up in will contests. But you might save five hundred dollars.

Finridge
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Finridge » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:02 pm

sighchological wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:53 pm
Hello all,

First time dad here! Really tired. Child is 3 weeks old, what is the best way to create a will for the following assets? Thanks in advance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Non retirement accounts:

$30K in savings.

$34K in joint Vanguard’s taxable account
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Retirement accounts:

$100K in wife’s 403b

$20K in wife’s Roth IRA

$82K in my 457B

$25K in my Roth IRA

$9K in Solo 401K
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
($236K in retirement accounts, and $64K in taxable accounts.)

Mortgage: $156K at 4%, in 6th year of 30 year mortgage.

Questions:

1) Is it necessary to pay an attorney to do a will, or are my assets straightforward enough so that I can create a will myself through a willmaker software?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2) We’re planning to have 1-2 more kids, is it easy to add to the will through Nolo willmaker?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3) Will a trust be necessary?

Before you do anything else go through all your accounts online and make sure that the beneficiary designations are filled in and up to date. Typically, beneficiary designations trump what may be in any will. And you don't need a will for the beneficiary designations to be operative. Ideally, you'd have a whole estate plan, including a will, revocable trusts, etc. but that will take time and money to set up. You can make sure your beneficiary designations are in place right now (tonight if you'd like) for free. So do this right away.

J295
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by J295 » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:05 pm

OP
What about life insurance insuring you and spouse?

NextMil
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by NextMil » Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:07 pm

I used software to cover my six early on, but having gone to a pro attorney this year, and had it done properly I can tell you there is a world of difference. They talk you through all the major issues and options and why. I waited way too long to do it right. What’s the point of having life insurance if you don’t have a solid plan for your family should both parents die?

FreemanB
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by FreemanB » Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:39 am

My wife and I had simple wills done with software when we had no kids. While expecting our child, we went to a lawyer that specializes in wills and trusts, paid a few hundred dollars, and got a package that included everything discussed above.(Distribution of assets, guardianship, etc) Could we have done it ourselves? Probably, but both of us agreed that the peace of mind we gained by having it done by an expert was worth the extra costs. He also walked us through several details that we would likely have either missed or not fully understood. He also ensured that it would cover any additional children we may have later, so we wouldn't have to update it later.

As someone else stated, you should also definitely update your beneficiary designations on all your accounts that allow it, and make sure your insurance is sufficient as well.

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gasdoc
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by gasdoc » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:23 am

I think you are the perfect candidate for a software generated will.

gasdoc

aristotelian
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by aristotelian » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:27 am

All of the assets you have listed (except the savings account) can easily have listed TOD beneficiaries. These will supersede any will and avoid probate.

The main purpose for the will would be setting up personal guardianship for the children. I would think that a computer program could do that for you.

Rupert
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Rupert » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:31 am

An often-overlooked benefit to using an attorney for your estate-planning is that is gives your executor/guardian somewhere to turn should the worst happen. In other words, if you and your spouse both die, your executor/guardian is going to have to find a lawyer to help them with the probate process. This is unavoidable when there are surviving minor children. Wouldn't you prefer to choose that lawyer yourself?

WannabeAgAlum
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by WannabeAgAlum » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:35 am

Good question. Unless you consult an experienced estate planning attorney (or someone with the same knowledge), you will never know if it was "OK" to use the software. Your heirs and those in charge of administering your assets after your death will very quickly realize whether it was "OK" or not, however.

Wannabe

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sighchological
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by sighchological » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:43 pm

Thanks everyone for the help.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I’m surprised that a will and trust would only be couple of hundred dollars? I live in Nassau County, New York, anyone have any recommendations for estate attorneys?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, I went through all my retirement accounts to designate my child as a secondary beneficiary (my wife is my primary beneficiary). However, I can’t update some of the retirement accounts without my child’s social security #, which I am still waiting to receive in the mail.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Regarding the following statement “All of the assets you have listed (except the savings account) can easily have listed TOD beneficiaries. These will supersede any will and avoid probate.”,

1) how do I list my child as a TOD beneficiary for Vanguard’s taxable account?
2) Can I/should I list my child as a beneficiary for our joint savings account?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Is it easy to list my child and future children as a beneficiary to our house in willmaker software?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Regarding “The main purpose for the will would be setting up personal guardianship for the children.”, if I established guardianship on the will, after I passed away, would my assets would go through probate, and the courts would designate the guardian specified on the will? Is this a straightforward process or is it time consuming?

Rupert
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Rupert » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:45 am

sighchological wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:43 pm
Thanks everyone for the help.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I’m surprised that a will and trust would only be couple of hundred dollars? I live in Nassau County, New York, anyone have any recommendations for estate attorneys?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, I went through all my retirement accounts to designate my child as a secondary beneficiary (my wife is my primary beneficiary). However, I can’t update some of the retirement accounts without my child’s social security #, which I am still waiting to receive in the mail.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Regarding the following statement “All of the assets you have listed (except the savings account) can easily have listed TOD beneficiaries. These will supersede any will and avoid probate.”,

1) how do I list my child as a TOD beneficiary for Vanguard’s taxable account?
2) Can I/should I list my child as a beneficiary for our joint savings account?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Is it easy to list my child and future children as a beneficiary to our house in willmaker software?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Regarding “The main purpose for the will would be setting up personal guardianship for the children.”, if I established guardianship on the will, after I passed away, would my assets would go through probate, and the courts would designate the guardian specified on the will? Is this a straightforward process or is it time consuming?
Minor children can't inherit money or houses directly. There must be a trust. It's unavoidable. Probate is also unavoidable when there are surviving minor children. Even when you name a guardian for your children in a will, a court will be involved. Guardianship is a legal process. Although your wishes will usually be honored, there's no guarantee, as the court can appoint someone else if the judge concludes it's in the best interests of the children. You would not want your designated guardian trying to navigate the guardianship process without a lawyer.

Your most recent questions make me recommend even more strongly that you speak to a competent estate planning attorney.

stan1
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by stan1 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:13 am

I think you can use estate planning software if you and your spouse have very simple needs and if your wishes are close to the default laws of your state. Who do you want to be the guardians of your children if both you and your spouse were to pass away within a few months? If it is either your parents or your spouse's parents that's straightforward. Maybe same if it is a sibling.

I don't think you and your spouse could get a complete estate planning package done in 2018 for anywhere close to $200 (let alone in metro NYC). In my high cost of living area there is a no frills living trust estate planning attorney who will do an estate plan for a married couple for about $800. That price includes one in person meeting to sign the final package. The rest is done by email and phone calls. Any other in person meetings are billed at $250/hour and there are a lot of other add on fees if what you think is simple turns into something more complicated.

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gasdoc
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by gasdoc » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:46 am

My attorney will in GA was $1400, for a simple will with one child. A few years later, I replaced it with one done by Legal Zoom, in order to change the guardian. Both were very straightforward, and I suspect the lawyer done will was done using some sort of a template, and probably by some sort of legal assistant. I doubt that the attorney had much to do with it. But then, I am not an attorney.

gasdoc

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munemaker
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by munemaker » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:17 pm

I initially had prepared our wills and POAs using WillMaker Pro 2016 from the library. In the WillMaker instructions, they make a big deal out of using the latest version. Because of this, I bought WillMaker Pro 2019 and updated both wills and POAs. Guess what? Nothing changed. Nothing! Not even one word. It was a waste of $48.

I suspect WillMaker pushing you to use the latest version is a ploy to get more money out of the customer.
Last edited by munemaker on Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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munemaker
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by munemaker » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:21 pm

Rupert wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:45 am

Minor children can't inherit money or houses directly. There must be a trust. It's unavoidable.
According to WillMaker Pro software, a trust for a minor child is not unavoidable. They say that the UGMA can be used until the child is 25, at least that is what they say for PA. Of course, a custodian (an alternate is recommended) must be named in the will.

Amy2017
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Amy2017 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:55 pm

We debated the same issue not long time ago under similar situation. However, since we have some real properties, things may be somewhat more complicated than yours. In the end, we decided to pay good money for a top notch estate planning attorney. We don't have much prior experience with attorneys in general, but the one we just hire makes me feel really good. He answers all my emails very quick, sometimes before 7am, after 8pm, and on weekend. He explains everything clearly, which relieves my stress a lot. We pay a flat fee for the service. I now consider my money well spent.

Rupert
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Rupert » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:42 pm

munemaker wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:21 pm
Rupert wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:45 am

Minor children can't inherit money or houses directly. There must be a trust. It's unavoidable.
According to WillMaker Pro software, a trust for a minor child is not unavoidable. They say that the UGMA can be used until the child is 25, at least that is what they say for PA. Of course, a custodian (an alternate is recommended) must be named in the will.
What do you think a UGMA account is? (It's a type of trust created by operation of statute, as opposed to drafting of documents by an attorney. See generally http://www.finaid.org/savings/ugma.phtml).

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Watty
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Watty » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:52 pm

sighchological wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 6:53 pm
($236K in retirement accounts, and $64K in taxable accounts.)
+1

On making sure that your beneficiary designations on the retirement accounts are correct since that is the bulk of your estate.

Another +1 on the comment about the related power of attorneys and directives that will be done with the will as also being very important and possibly more important than the will itself.

A big question on deciding how to set up depends on if you have someone like a sibling or younger parent that is an good and trustworthy choice to manage your estate and raise your kid if something happens to you. If you don't have someone like that then it would be good to use a good lawyer.

If you do then with your net worth one alternative is to use Legalzoom to set up your will and related paperwork. I was in a different situation since I only had one grown kid and we used Legalzoom to set up our wills and related paperwork. It only cost a couple of hundred dollars and it included a telephone conference call with a lawyer to talk over our choices and go over our documents. If we had follow up questions we could have arranged additional calls with the lawyer. This did not include a trust. This seemed a big step up from using will software but it did not cost a lot more.

My impression is that many of the local "budget" lawyers would use similar software to make the wills and would produce similar results.

One think to watch out for is that it can be tricky to have a trust as the beneficiary of a retirement account. If you care going to do that then get good legal advice on how to do it right.

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munemaker
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by munemaker » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:56 pm

deleted
Last edited by munemaker on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

tibbitts
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by tibbitts » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:04 pm

munemaker wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:17 pm
I initially had prepared our wills and POAs using WillMaker Pro 2016 from the library. In the WillMaker instructions, they make a big deal out of using the latest version. Because of this, I bought WillMaker Pro 2019 and updated both wills and POAs. Guess what? Nothing changed. Nothing! Not even one word. It was a waste of $48.

I suspect WillMaker pushing you to use the latest version is a ploy to get more money out of the customer.
You could only know that in retrospect. It might have been that if you had selected a different set of options/inputs, there would have been a difference. Willmaker can't possibly tell you if your results would be affected, since the version of the software that's giving you that message has no visibility into changes that have been made since it was released/updated. The business model for Willmaker is that the manufacturer won't update older versions for anything other than bug fixes.

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munemaker
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by munemaker » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:07 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:04 pm
munemaker wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:17 pm
I initially had prepared our wills and POAs using WillMaker Pro 2016 from the library. In the WillMaker instructions, they make a big deal out of using the latest version. Because of this, I bought WillMaker Pro 2019 and updated both wills and POAs. Guess what? Nothing changed. Nothing! Not even one word. It was a waste of $48.

I suspect WillMaker pushing you to use the latest version is a ploy to get more money out of the customer.
You could only know that in retrospect. It might have been that if you had selected a different set of options/inputs, there would have been a difference. Willmaker can't possibly tell you if your results would be affected, since the version of the software that's giving you that message has no visibility into changes that have been made since it was released/updated. The business model for Willmaker is that the manufacturer won't update older versions for anything other than bug fixes.
Yes, I realized that; if I knew it in advance, I would not have bought the update. Still, I feel like I wasted the money since no changes were made.
Last edited by munemaker on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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munemaker
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by munemaker » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:11 pm

Rupert wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:42 pm
munemaker wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:21 pm
Rupert wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:45 am

Minor children can't inherit money or houses directly. There must be a trust. It's unavoidable.
According to WillMaker Pro software, a trust for a minor child is not unavoidable. They say that the UGMA can be used until the child is 25, at least that is what they say for PA. Of course, a custodian (an alternate is recommended) must be named in the will.
What do you think a UGMA account is? (It's a type of trust created by operation of statute, as opposed to drafting of documents by an attorney. See generally http://www.finaid.org/savings/ugma.phtml).
I know what a UGMA is. We used them to save for our kids' education (pre-529 plans); kids are grown now. There are no special documents like a trust. You just open an account (Vanguard, Fidelity, Bank, whatever) the way you normally would and keep records to demonstrate the money was used for the benefit of the kids. No muss, no fuss.

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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by StevieG72 » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:13 pm

J295 wrote:
Thu Aug 30, 2018 9:05 pm
OP
What about life insurance insuring you and spouse?
+1 This is more important than a Will based on the numbers presented.

I am divorced and still carry a term policy payable to my ex-wife so that my child will be cared for and maintain the same quality of life if I pass before she launches.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

hudson
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by hudson » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:05 pm

I would hire an attorney to do the will and the other documents. A friend of mine worked as a trust officer; he told sad stories of those with no wills or non professional wills. An estate attorney can ask all the right questions and coach you as needed.

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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by workerbeeengineer » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:55 pm

Sigh,

First....Congrats on the birth! The tiredness will pass :happy. Let me start by saying that I am under the impression that estate laws vary state-to-state. So some aspects or details probably depend on your state of residence. Next, in my opinion, the current value of your assets is secondary to proper planning for your new child, just on the horrible off chance that you and your wife somehow pass away while your child (and any future younger children) are still minors. Of course, having assets available will be very helpful. A good estate attorney should frame a set of questions that get you and your spouse to think about who will take on the duty to raise your child(ren). These can be hard questions to answer, and those individuals who you think may be good choices to take over (family member or friends) may not want the responsibility. I'm definitely in the camp that do it yourself software may be just fine if there are no children...but all that changes when the little one(s) arrive. DW and I reside in California. As I recall, we paid somewhere around $2000 for Living Trust and pour-over will. The Living Trust is important and usually should help avoid probate. Again, might vary state to state. We updated everything once, and yes...the attorney wanted to get paid again. :greedy. No matter in the grand scheme of things imo. Our daughter is now an adult, so whenever we update again, no need to think about that again thank goodness. Finally, not part of your question, but you absolutely need to be sure you also have adequate term life and disability insurances!!! At this stage, those are more important than max'ing out your retirement accounts.

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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:59 am

We live in a high COL area. Our bank offered us names of some attorneys who would do an estate and will package for $1k. A relative recommended another estate attorney who would do it for slightly more but had no ties to any bank. We were very leased with the attorney we hired and he helped us clean up the titles on our real estate at no extra charge, which was a big relief.

Personally, we wanted to save our heirs headaches so wanted to be sure things are done as neatly and appropriately as possible. The attorney was able to guide us in how things have worked well for other clients, which we found very helpful in deciding how to proceed.

I AM an attorney but feel that hiring an estate specialist was money well spent.

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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Iorek » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:27 am

I just want to reiterate that it's not an either/or situation. When our child was born we did a will using willmaker plus because that's all we had time/energy for. Fortunately it was not tested but I think it was a perfectly fine will (I later compared it to a simple will a friend got from a lawyer and they were comparable). IIRC, Willmaker will offer to draft trusts for you, but I think we just made the beneficiary "trusted relative" as custodian for "child" under "state UTMA".

I would not cheap out by getting last year's software because Nolo does do updates for each state each year as necessary--I feel comfortable that a willmaker document will "work" if you use the current version. (Note: FWIW, I am less comfortable with legalzoom, because I think there is more chance for someone else to screw things up there).

After we caught our breath (which admittedly took a few years) we called around to lawyers and got wildly varying quotes (from around $1k to to $2k and up). We went with a solo practitioner and got a longer document with a full testamentary trust. I think the advantage of going to a lawyer is largely that they will ask you lots of "what if" questions that you might not even have thought of but may change how you want the documents written (for instance-- do you want sibling to act as guardian if they divorce their current spouse?). On the other hand, having read the willmaker book and gone through that process made me a much more informed participant in the process, so I sometimes recommend that people read the book even if they are planning to go to a lawyer.

Not sure if that's helpful, but I would encourage you to 1) update beneficiary designations (and yes, I'd include the bank account), and 2) don't let months/years go by without doing something because you plan to find a lawyer as soon as have a moment to think in peace and quiet. :)

congrats and good luck!

Nuestroro
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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Nuestroro » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:49 am

We used a lawyer to prepare a will when our first child was born. The document itself is simple and likely came from a program. But the procedures to properly witness a will can be complex and vary from state to state. A small mistake here can invalidate the will. Or so my law school professors taught me.

If you have life insurance, see if your insurer will pay for the estate planning. My wife’s life insurer (MetLife) paid for our wills, durable powers of attorney, and medical direcives. They have a network of lawyers who’ve agreed to participate. Some employers, unions, and other organizations have similar benefits, typically as a part of joining a group legal services plan. (Which is worth the money, IMO.)

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Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by tibbitts » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:19 am

munemaker wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:07 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:04 pm
munemaker wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:17 pm
I initially had prepared our wills and POAs using WillMaker Pro 2016 from the library. In the WillMaker instructions, they make a big deal out of using the latest version. Because of this, I bought WillMaker Pro 2019 and updated both wills and POAs. Guess what? Nothing changed. Nothing! Not even one word. It was a waste of $48.

I suspect WillMaker pushing you to use the latest version is a ploy to get more money out of the customer.
You could only know that in retrospect. It might have been that if you had selected a different set of options/inputs, there would have been a difference. Willmaker can't possibly tell you if your results would be affected, since the version of the software that's giving you that message has no visibility into changes that have been made since it was released/updated. The business model for Willmaker is that the manufacturer won't update older versions for anything other than bug fixes.
Yes, I realized that; if I knew it in advance, I would not have bought the update. Still, I feel like I wasted the money since no changes were made.
So buying it was like buying insurance - you don't know if you will need that in advance either.

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munemaker
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Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by munemaker » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:43 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:19 am
munemaker wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:07 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:04 pm
munemaker wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:17 pm
I initially had prepared our wills and POAs using WillMaker Pro 2016 from the library. In the WillMaker instructions, they make a big deal out of using the latest version. Because of this, I bought WillMaker Pro 2019 and updated both wills and POAs. Guess what? Nothing changed. Nothing! Not even one word. It was a waste of $48.

I suspect WillMaker pushing you to use the latest version is a ploy to get more money out of the customer.
You could only know that in retrospect. It might have been that if you had selected a different set of options/inputs, there would have been a difference. Willmaker can't possibly tell you if your results would be affected, since the version of the software that's giving you that message has no visibility into changes that have been made since it was released/updated. The business model for Willmaker is that the manufacturer won't update older versions for anything other than bug fixes.
Yes, I realized that; if I knew it in advance, I would not have bought the update. Still, I feel like I wasted the money since no changes were made.
So buying it was like buying insurance - you don't know if you will need that in advance either.
Good analogy. That's exactly what it is.

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sighchological
Posts: 164
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:12 pm

Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by sighchological » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:01 pm

Thanks everyone for the help.
“I think you can use estate planning software if you and your spouse have very simple needs and if your wishes are close to the default laws of your state. Who do you want to be the guardians of your children if both you and your spouse were to pass away within a few months? If it is either your parents or your spouse's parents that's straightforward. Maybe same if it is a sibling.”
“A big question on deciding how to set up depends on if you have someone like a sibling or younger parent that is an good and trustworthy choice to manage your estate and raise your kid if something happens to you.”
Any thoughts on the following: I’m considering to designate middle brother/sister in law as guardian, middle brother/sister law AND youngest brother as executor, and youngest brother as backup guardian.

Reason being that my middle brother is not very good at following directions while his wife, my sister in law is. My youngest brother is the only one that knows about investing so I figure they could all work together as executor.

Also, my middle brother is married while my youngest brother is not married, so it seems fair to ask my middle brother and sister in law to be primary guardians. I trust both my brothers/sister in law and don’t worry that there will be any shady business if they are primary executors.
“All of the assets you have listed (except the savings account) can easily have listed TOD beneficiaries. These will supersede any will and avoid probate.”
Do you guys recommend doing a Payable on Death for my savings account?
“Another +1 on the comment about the related power of attorneys and directives that will be done with the will as also being very important and possibly more important than the will itself.”
Can you elaborate what you mean about “the related power of attorneys and directives that will be done with the will”?
“Willmaker will offer to draft trusts for you, but I think we just made the beneficiary "trusted relative" as custodian for "child" under "state UTMA".”
So, is it as simple as putting my middle brother in law/sister in law AND little brother as custodian for my child under New York UTMA as I live in NY?

J295
Posts: 1727
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:40 pm

Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by J295 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:10 pm

I would not name two persons as guardians. Which of the two will care for your child if they get divorced?

I would have a testamentary trust in the will. I don’t recall seeing that you have posted information on life insurance, but let’s say you have a $1 million term policy, which would be entirely prudent and reasonable. Do you want your child to receive $1 million plus growth on that amount from the date of your death until the age he/she reaches maturity? Or would you prefer that amount be handled through a trust and then distributed at more mature ages

In most cases, you and your spouse would want to also put in place general durable powers of attorney and powers of attorney for healthcare.

You may be a good candidate to use competent legal counsel. Someone who spends a majority of their time on wills and trusts. This is not rocket science for an experienced estate lawyer. Quite straightforward in fact.

Dottie57
Posts: 4787
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: 1st time dad, OK to use willmaker software?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:14 pm

Your child s important. Do it right and go to a competent estate lawyer.

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