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Convincing Dad to get a will.
Old 11-12-2007, 04:00 AM   #1
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Convincing Dad to get a will.

Mom and Dad are in their early 80's and are living a healthy life in Florida.On the few occasions i've subtly brought up the topic of a will Dad doesnt seem to see the need in getting a will,his rational is that if he dies Mom will get everything.As i'm seeing some of my friends having problems with siblings concerning estate division after the death of a parent and me having three siblings one of whom lives near my parents in Florida i'm wondering what are the consequences if Dad passes away with out a will and are there any Florida specific laws that would make it worth my Dads time to get a will.I will be spending Christmas with my parents this year and would like to again try to persuade Dad to get a will but i cant think up anything to combat his logic on the issue and as its a sensitive subject for me to bring up i dont want to come off sounding like a person who is just interested in the money, i just want everything to be fair among the siblings and not get into a situation where my brothers and sisters are fighting with each other about who gets what or is some one ripping off the rest.:confused:
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:19 AM   #2
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Assuming Dad is correct (big assumption) on who goes first you may have more luck with Mom getting a will. Having said that EVERYONE should have a will. Of course if you have not assets! Maybe Dad does not want to get into the "who gets what" stuff. Does he have a older friend who he would listen to (who believes a will is important)? Us old guys don't usually like to listen to kids much like kids do not like to listen to parents.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:28 AM   #3
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Note: I am not an attorney and would recommend a will, but here is a link to Florida's statutes regarding death without a will (intestate) and a couple of key sub chapters of the law: (chpater 752 Florida Statutes):

Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine


732.102 Spouse's share of intestate estate.--The intestate share of the surviving spouse is:
(1) If there is no surviving descendant of the decedent, the entire intestate estate.
(2) If there are surviving descendants of the decedent, all of whom are also lineal descendants of the surviving spouse, the first $60,000 of the intestate estate, plus one-half of the balance of the intestate estate. Property allocated to the surviving spouse to satisfy the $60,000 shall be valued at the fair market value on the date of distribution. (3) If there are surviving descendants, one or more of whom are not lineal
descendants of the surviving spouse, one-half of the intestate estate.



732.103 Share of other heirs.--The part of the intestate estate not passing to the surviving spouse under s. 732.102, or the entire intestate estate if there is no surviving spouse, descends as follows:
(1) To the descendants of the decedent.
(2) If there is no descendant, to the decedent's father and mother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(3) If there is none of the foregoing, to the decedent's brothers and sisters and the descendants of deceased brothers and sisters.
(4) If there is none of the foregoing, the estate shall be divided, one-half of which shall go to the decedent's paternal, and the other half to the decedent's maternal, kindred in the following order:
(a) To the grandfather and grandmother equally, or to the survivor of them.
(b) If there is no grandfather or grandmother, to uncles and aunts and descendants of deceased uncles and aunts of the decedent.
(c) If there is either no paternal kindred or no maternal kindred, the estate shall go to the other kindred who survive, in the order stated above.
(5) If there is no kindred of either part, the whole of the property shall go to the kindred of the last deceased spouse of the decedent as if the deceased spouse had survived the decedent and then died intestate entitled to the estate. (6) If none of the foregoing, and if any of the descendants of the decedent's great-grandparents were Holocaust victims as defined in s. 626.9543(3)(a), including such victims in countries cooperating with the discriminatory policies of Nazi Germany, then to the descendants of the great-grandparents. The court shall allow any such descendant to meet a reasonable, not unduly restrictive, standard of proof to substantiate his or her lineage. This subsection only applies to escheated property and shall cease to be effective for proceedings filed after December 31, 2004.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:47 AM   #4
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So if your Dad has no will, you and your siblings will share half of everything over $60k. If he wants Mom to get it all, then he needs a will, and so does she.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:07 AM   #5
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I just emailed him that link to Floridas laws,Hope he doesnt take it the wrong way..And thanks kcowan for the tranlation of the legalese,not my forte.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:40 AM   #6
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That was an eye-opener. I knew state laws varied a bit but I thought the spouse always got everything if there wasn't a will. Given the number of people who don't bother with wills, provisions like those in Florida could screw up quite a few retirements.
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:29 AM   #7
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I realized I need to clarify my understanding of Florida law -

I believe that jointly owned property (house in both names) passes to the joint owner/survivor. But things that are not jointly titled in the legal sense - contents of the house, cars with only one name on the title, personal financial accounts (retirement) if beneficiaries are not identified, etc, are subject to the above distribution. Again, the legal ins and outs can be difficult, especially if kids start fussing and fighting (more common than it should be). Do you really want kids hauling furniture and the silver out of the house? Arguing about whether to sell the cars or keep them?

A simple will that says surviving spouse gets all, and if predeceased divide equally among children seems like a simple solution to what can become complex and ugly.

Again, I am not an attorney, but why take the chance if what he wants is to transfer of everything to the wife (assuming she outlives him).
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Old 11-12-2007, 09:07 AM   #8
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Disclaimer -- I am not an attorney either, but I think if your father died first, your mother would receive $60,000 plus 1/2 of the rest of your father's estate.

By not planning for his estate -- and thinking that he will die before your mom -- your dad is, in effect, dumping the problem on your mom, which I am sure is not his intent. You might use this rationale when you talk to him/her over the holidays.

And, BTW, my dad took the same approach (i.e., he was sure that he would go before my mom as Dad had some significant health problems and Mom seemed healthy as could be.) Then one Sunday, Mom died suddenly. He has since created a full estate plan.
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Old 11-12-2007, 01:37 PM   #9
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I just emailed him that link to Floridas laws,Hope he doesnt take it the wrong way..And thanks kcowan for the tranlation of the legalese,not my forte.
From his icy reply i think he took it the wrong way
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Old 11-12-2007, 02:51 PM   #10
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From his icy reply i think he took it the wrong way
If he were my Dad, I'd leave him alone for now. He appears to know exactly what he's doing. Your Dad doesn't seem to be in need for major estate planning, unless he's has loads of property and wants to minimize estate taxes.

When I was in law school, my Dad approached me about his will and asked if it was fine with me. I didn't know how to answer that question, but as a lawyer-wannabe, a year from when I would be licensed as a lawyer, I said it looked fine to me from a legal standpoint, even though it disinherited all three of his children in favor of my mother -- my Dad only had one valuable asset. He needed a will to effectuate that wish, in making sure his only asset went directly to his wife since the asset wasn't jointly titled in both names.

If most of your father's property is jointly titled with your Mom -- as tenancy in the entirety or with a right of survivorship, then that property already goes to your Mom. As for the rest of the property, going through an intestacy probate is not more difficult than going through probate with a will in most jurisdictions, if the assets in probate are titled in your Dad's name only.

If your Mom and Dad might have a very big estate that could trip Federal Estate taxes, then you might want to suggest that they use the services of a reputable Trust & Estate Lawyer/Accountant to help them plan accordingly.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:14 PM   #11
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I'm estimating their combined wealth to be the value of their house= $300k
and maybe Dad has $300 to $500K in cash in the bank,Mom having about $100k cash in the bank
But i think i'm going to take Chris's advice and just leave it alone.
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Old 11-13-2007, 05:30 AM   #12
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Your parents sound a lot like us. However, we do have wills, but having said that, most of our assets will by-pass probate and a will is not really necessary. Money in the Bank (mostly Credit Unions) is in CD's and in each case the secondary beneficiary is who gets the money if DW does not survive me or I do not survive her or we check out together. Home and car goes to a child who is in charge of division and distribution of the sale price to the other two. Other "stuff" is just a toss up supervised by the same child. Note that without the will the home and other "stuff" could potentially cause a problem. So maybe your Dad and Mom have the bulk of the cash already designated. Maybe the home is titled in such a way it will pass to you kids -- you could maybe check on-line with the RE taxing Country down there in FL -- I think this sort of information is published in the public domain. It was when we were living in FL. Good luck, if your intentions are honorable.
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Old 11-13-2007, 06:20 AM   #13
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I'm only guessing at what Dad has in the bank but as my brother who lives near my parents will ultimately become executor of the will whats to stop him from low balling the amount that Dad actually has.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:22 AM   #14
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Jambo101: IMHO I think I can see the potential for a family feud. However, when I settled my Mothers will back in 95 she had a couple of assets (Stock) that required that I probate the will under court supervision (in Florida). In my case it was simple as I was the only living direct decedent. However, I did have to submit, as I remember it, two reports to the court. One detailing what I planned to do with the probate assets. Her will said they went to the Grandkids (my 3 kids). Since it was old Telephone Company Stocks I said I was going to sell and distribute the proceeds to the kids which the court approved of. Final report detailed that I had sold it, listed the amounts received (5 or 6 different stocks), and I attached copies of certified checks to each of my kids for their portion. Minor other things were also included in the final report. I was not finished until the court issued something like a order relieving me of the Executor duties. So it is not as simple as it seems (even with a will). BTW I was after my Mother for years to dump the stock (or at least change the ownership to her and the g/kids) as I knew it would cause a probate the way it was. She refused to ever do it so I spent some extra time and expense to probate it when she passed but her wishes were fulfilled. I sincerely hope one would fulfill the wishes of a deceased parent and, when the time comes, I hope it works out well for you and your family.
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