Will Preparation

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home_body
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Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:50 pm

Will Preparation

Post by home_body »

Hi all,

I just started my research on preparing for a Will. Before I go get legal assistance, are there any ins/outs in preparing for one? What kind of questions should I be asking the attorney? Any advice or suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks.

-H
Parkinglotracer
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Location: Upstate NY

Re: Will Preparation

Post by Parkinglotracer »

I like the Nolo books - maybe the website can help

https://www.nolo.com/lander/willmaker?u ... gI1iPD_BwE
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JPH
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by JPH »

I just had this done. All the attorney wanted was a ballpark estimate of my assets. Then he just interviewed me about what I wanted to go to whom, etc. Mine was a very vanilla case.
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CAsage
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by CAsage »

There are certainly cases where an attorney is absolutely needed. For some people (e.g. young, clear decision on who inherits) legal software is perfectly fine - trust me, you will make more than one will over your lifetime. In all cases, education by attorney is expensive. Buy or borrow a Nolo Press book on estate planning, then you will have clear ideas about what you need an attorney to do and saving her time, saves you money!
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.
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lthenderson
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by lthenderson »

My attorney provided a list of questions to answer before our initial meeting.

Unlike the answer above, I don't know of anyone that had completely redone their wills many times. Several have gone in to amend them to changing situations but the cost of an amendment is trivial compared to the initial cost and in my case the initial cost was trivial to our net worth so seemed like a bargain. I have never understood trusting your entire estate to some software writer who lives on one coast or the other and has never stepped foot in my state or understands the nuances of estate law that my particular state has. All will writing software packages come with a disclaimer saying they aren't liable if you make a mistake.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

We are preparing to do this. The attorney gave us a form to fill out that's probably 10 pages. I noted that one of the big things needed is a listing of accounts and who the listed beneficiary is. That was a good prompt for me to go through each account to be sure that a beneficiary is indeed in place.

So knowing your accounts with beneficiary and whatever else your attorney's form wants is a good start.

There is a chance that along with a will, a trust or trusts may need to be created. We expect to have to do this, so there's going to be work in addition to the will for the attorney. With our state's distribution for an intestate passing, we really don't want that (estate split between spouse and kids). We also want to distribute assets after we're both gone but on a periodic basis. Not just "Here's millions of dollars, son".
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home_body
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by home_body »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:55 pm With our state's distribution for an intestate passing, we really don't want that (estate split between spouse and kids). We also want to distribute assets after we're both gone but on a periodic basis. Not just "Here's millions of dollars, son".
This is actually one of the reason why I’m starting the Will process. Thanks.
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home_body
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by home_body »

I don’t have much, most likely it will be a very vanilla Will. I have subscribed to legal services through my employer. Just want to take advantage since it may be free.

Thanks all.
privateID
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by privateID »

I recently had done our wills and the one thing I changed after some research was the way assets got passed down through children/grandchildren. I think many use "per stirpes". I ended using "by representation". Certainly worth Googling to understand the differences.
tibbitts
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by tibbitts »

lthenderson wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:46 pm My attorney provided a list of questions to answer before our initial meeting.

Unlike the answer above, I don't know of anyone that had completely redone their wills many times. Several have gone in to amend them to changing situations but the cost of an amendment is trivial compared to the initial cost and in my case the initial cost was trivial to our net worth so seemed like a bargain. I have never understood trusting your entire estate to some software writer who lives on one coast or the other and has never stepped foot in my state or understands the nuances of estate law that my particular state has. All will writing software packages come with a disclaimer saying they aren't liable if you make a mistake.
Don't virtually all attorneys also use will writing software - possibly developed by "some software writer who lives on one coast or another"...? Certainly there is a large market of such products targeted at attorneys.

I think the amendments vs. rewriting might not be less expensive if they aren't done by the original attorney and aren't even done in the same state (as is often the case.)
Last edited by tibbitts on Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Watty
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by Watty »

home_body wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:44 pm Any advice or suggestions will be much appreciated.
Along with the will there will be a number of documents like a power of attorney, medical directives, etc. In a lot of ways these will be just as important as the actual will. Before you meet with the lawyer give a lot of thought about things like who would raise any kids, make decisions for you if you are incapacitated, or under what conditions you would want medical care, or not.

Providing for your spouse and kids is obvious but you may also want to consider how your death would impact your parents if they do not have ample financial means and you may be their financial safety net, or they may be expecting you to manage their affairs if something happens like they need to be in a nursing home. If you are their only kid(or only responsible kid) then they could be in bind if something happens to you.
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home_body
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by home_body »

Watty wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:50 pm
home_body wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:44 pm Any advice or suggestions will be much appreciated.
Along with the will there will be a number of documents like a power of attorney, medical directives, etc. In a lot of ways these will be just as important as the actual will. Before you meet with the lawyer give a lot of thought about things like who would raise any kids, make decisions for you if you are incapacitated, or under what conditions you would want medical care, or not.

Providing for your spouse and kids is obvious but you may also want to consider how your death would impact your parents if they do not have ample financial means and you may be their financial safety net, or they may be expecting you to manage their affairs if something happens like they need to be in a nursing home. If you are their only kid(or only responsible kid) then they could be in bind if something happens to you.
Interesting perspective on the impact of parents, definitely something I overlooked. I've been focusing on the obvious (spouse and kids). Thank you for the advice.
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home_body
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by home_body »

privateID wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:04 pm I recently had done our wills and the one thing I changed after some research was the way assets got passed down through children/grandchildren. I think many use "per stirpes". I ended using "by representation". Certainly worth Googling to understand the differences.
I just looked it up. Thanks.
FandangoDave5010
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by FandangoDave5010 »

After trying some DIY software from Nolo and Suzie Ormand, we decided to go a lawyer. We wanted to be sure that if we both deceased, Beneficiary # 1 was our daughter and #2 was our granddaughter. We were satisfied with the Will the attorney prepared for us, a copy of which is on file with the Nevada Living Will Lockbox. The cost was $1500.
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home_body
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by home_body »

FandangoDave5010 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 11:26 pm After trying some DIY software from Nolo and Suzie Ormand, we decided to go a lawyer. We wanted to be sure that if we both deceased, Beneficiary # 1 was our daughter and #2 was our granddaughter. We were satisfied with the Will the attorney prepared for us, a copy of which is on file with the Nevada Living Will Lockbox. The cost was $1500.
Thanks for the insight. I think i'll be reaching out to an attorney soon.
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lthenderson
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by lthenderson »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:16 pm
lthenderson wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:46 pm My attorney provided a list of questions to answer before our initial meeting.

Unlike the answer above, I don't know of anyone that had completely redone their wills many times. Several have gone in to amend them to changing situations but the cost of an amendment is trivial compared to the initial cost and in my case the initial cost was trivial to our net worth so seemed like a bargain. I have never understood trusting your entire estate to some software writer who lives on one coast or the other and has never stepped foot in my state or understands the nuances of estate law that my particular state has. All will writing software packages come with a disclaimer saying they aren't liable if you make a mistake.
Don't virtually all attorneys also use will writing software - possibly developed by "some software writer who lives on one coast or another"...? Certainly there is a large market of such products targeted at attorneys.

I think the amendments vs. rewriting might not be less expensive if they aren't done by the original attorney and aren't even done in the same state (as if often the case.)
The attorney I went to has lived and practiced law all his life in my state. Even if he started out with a boilerplate will, he was able to tailor it to meet our needs and take advantage of the vagaries of our state’s laws.
mnecon
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Re: Will Preparation

Post by mnecon »

We updated our wills in the last few years and even with a lot of research, one thing our attorney brought up that we hadn't considered was what happens if we both pass between the time our first child and our lsat (second) child finishes college.

Our kids are 4 years apart. We plan to pay for all education expenses. If the trust created in the will splits every thing evenly, then the older could wind up with effectively $400,000 more than the younger. He suggested a set up where the trust stays as a single pot and only gets split into two equal separate trusts once our younger child is 23. The guardian/trustee is instructed to pay all undergraduate expenses for both children.

Just one thing I did not see in the books and materials I read ahead of time. Having done the research, however, made the actual process incredibly smooth and easy since we knew most of the things to consider and had already made decisions.

Just make sure you and the attorney are clear on what is provided under your plan. We had wills/POAs/ Living wills. But if we wanted a more complex trust or revocable trust it would have been out of pocket.
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