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I need to write a will
Old 12-06-2006, 06:50 PM   #1
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I need to write a will

For those who don't know, I'm a cheap, err...., frugal SOB. im 23, sole $$ maker, 3 homes, and a young boy.

I want to write a will that will hold up in the event of my death or serious health condition

I want to be sure the house goes to my fiance, and my life insurance $$ goes to pay it off in full.

I want to be sure my many CD's, IRA's, 401k, MM's etc are liquidated and given to either my son or fiance

I want to dictate what will happen to the investment properties I own

What's the cheapest and most effective way to go about this? Can I get a program from the net, type it up and call it a day? Or do I need an atty?

My dad's been wanting to write a will as well, so my brilliant idea was this: buy a program, we both use it to construct wills, then goto an atty that would prof read/edit it as needed and sign it. Remember, I dont know how all this works, so I just made this procedure up in my head and decided it might work. be gentle.
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-06-2006, 07:12 PM   #2
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Re: I need to write a will

Well fed, I'll make it three for three.

Generally you won't save money at a lawyer by first working up your own will using a will kit. It will take just as long for the lawyer to determine whether what you did works as it would for the lawyer to use his own forms.

That said, I don't necessarily think that using a will kit is a bad idea. From what I have heard I understand that the Nolo version is pretty good. I know money is tight so you might just want to do it yourself, knowing that you are taking some risk that you did not address all the issues that you should have addressed. I have a sister that lives in California--she and her husband can't afford an expensive LA lawyer. They don't have a lot of assets. The used the Nolo will kit.

At some point, you should think about a number of planning issues. I think the number one issue is getting the health insurance, which you talked about on another thread. I trust that you have liability and hazard insurance on your properties. How about liability insurance for your duct cleaning business? It may be a good idea at some point to put your businesses into appropriate legal entities. For example, you may want to put each of your investment properties into LLCs and have either a corporation or an LLC for your duct cleaning business. But at this point, the most important thing to do is have good insurance in place. Given that you are not yet married to your son's mother, the will is a good idea too.

Good luck to you and your father. How is your father doing?
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-06-2006, 08:30 PM   #3
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
That said, I don't necessarily think that using a will kit is a bad idea. From what I have heard I understand that the Nolo version is pretty good.
The $40 download is well worth the tutorial on the issues & numbers so that your lawyer won't have to spend your time & money educating you on the basics.

Or you could buy it with a copy of "Work Less, Live More" and save a little shipping...
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-06-2006, 08:38 PM   #4
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Well fed, I'll make it three for three.

Generally you won't save money at a lawyer by first working up your own will using a will kit. It will take just as long for the lawyer to determine whether what you did works as it would for the lawyer to use his own forms.

That said, I don't necessarily think that using a will kit is a bad idea. From what I have heard I understand that the Nolo version is pretty good. I know money is tight so you might just want to do it yourself, knowing that you are taking some risk that you did not address all the issues that you should have addressed. I have a sister that lives in California--she and her husband can't afford an expensive LA lawyer. They don't have a lot of assets. The used the Nolo will kit.

At some point, you should think about a number of planning issues. I think the number one issue is getting the health insurance, which you talked about on another thread. I trust that you have liability and hazard insurance on your properties. How about liability insurance for your duct cleaning business? It may be a good idea at some point to put your businesses into appropriate legal entities. For example, you may want to put each of your investment properties into LLCs and have either a corporation or an LLC for your duct cleaning business. But at this point, the most important thing to do is have good insurance in place. Given that you are not yet married to your son's mother, the will is a good idea too.

Good luck to you and your father. How is your father doing?
thanks for the input...and thanks for asking about my dad. he's doing so-so, pretty depressed right now. and he just got back some blood work with bad results, so it really kicked my thinking into high gear (insurances, wills etc)

right now the properties arent in their own llcs, but they will be sold soon so there's no point.the compaies are overinsured right now, and i will be forming a corpration or llc soon for them. im still not sure which will be most advantageous, so im researching. thanks again for paying attention

nords-good idea, im looking into it now












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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 03:17 AM   #5
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Re: I need to write a will

we previuosly had a discussion on wills and i cant stress enough to you to have it done right ,its not all that simple. ill re-post why i feel this way.

I forget which topic it is where we discussed the will kits but you really do need to be careful as they are okay for getting an idea but wills depending on the state can be highly problematic if even a word is omitted.I dont want to rehash what we already covered but ill give you an example of a simple will omission that was a headache.
We had refinanced an inherited house.The title company looked at the deed and said they had to stop the closing.WHY?
Because it said i leave my house and all my possessions to my child beth.Well it didnt say only child beth.Bingo it cost me the lawyers fee for myself,the co-op attorny ,the bank lawyer,the title company.What grief that one word ommission cost me.We had to get affidivates from relatives stating there were no other kids.
We had a lot more issues with wills in my 2nd marriage that i could write a book about.Simple wording ommissions,failing to deal with pre-deceasing issues ,the list goes on and on.My wife and i spent 2200.00 doing our new simple wills and poa and health proxy to make sure it was done right
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 03:18 AM   #6
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Re: I need to write a will

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One thing i learned about wills i will pass on and save your heirs lots of grief. ,USE A GOOD ESTATE ATTORNEY.Using will kits and attorneys who are general practioners but not estate attorneys to save money can work fine but remember this."NOTHING IS A PROBLEM UNTIL ITS A PROBLEM".
As an example here in new york you can do a will kit and execute it yourself,no problem.But heres the rub executing your will.As proper protocal there is a bunch of questions that an attorney will ask in front of the witnesses such as do you know what the will is? are you of sound mind,,are you doing this with careful thought?
In the event the will is challenged by an unhappy heir and these questions were not asked it could be claimed by the court the will isnt valid.Had i done the kit i would have never known to do this.The witnesses that you choose become very critical as well as their relationship to the deceased.Using someone mentioned in the will,using someone who later could be claimed they were impartial,using someone who is old and may not be around when your will ends up in court.The list goes on and on.
This is a 2nd marriage for me and my wifes ex father inlaw drew up a trust where he specifically said he wasnt leaving anything to some estranged grand children.Well my wifes ex-husband died first and the trust had no provisions for pre-deceasing and so the court looked to my wifes ex-husbands will .Bottom line it was a mess.A 2 year court battle, 100,000 in legal fees and we had to buy out the estranged children from a family business for 400,000 when they were specifically written out of the will.All because the attorney who did the origonal paperwork was a general practioner and not an estate lawyer who would have had provisions for pre-deceasing just as standard fare but since the basically canned form didnt have it we had a very important but simple provision missing..I cant stress enough how important it is in 2nd marriages especially ,see a good estate attorney and dont attempt this on your own with a canned kit.
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 07:16 AM   #7
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Re: I need to write a will

thefed, if I were you, I would spend the money on a competent attorney. There is no other way to be sure that your somewhat complicated situation will work out the way you want it to if you kick the bucket.

Having said that, there is an alternative to a downloaded form. Pre Paid Legal offers a free simple will to all new customers. You'd have to pony up the $25 or so for the first month's membership, but you could cancel it after that if you like. Until you cancel, you get unlimited telephone consultation from one of their provider attorneys, although for $25 or so a month, I wouldn't expect anything extensive (but they could probably answer OH-specific question on LLC vs LP vs. S Corp). If you do this, sign up through their website or else you will have an agent/associate hounding you if you cancel.

Disclosure: I own shares in this company, but they would actually lose money on you signing up for a month and then dropping.
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 08:21 AM   #8
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Re: I need to write a will

Brewer's suggestion of using pre-paid legal for the fed and his dad may be a good idea. I don't know if they are nationwide though. None of us in my office do work through prepaid legal or any similar plan.

Otherwise, I thought it was a bit amusing that the only lawyer on the thread was the only one who suggested he might make do without a lawyer. Remember, the fed is young, he doesn't have a lot of money, he doesn't have a taxable estate. He knows who he wants to leave his stuff to. It seems that the risk of using Nolo isn't large for him. Priorities.

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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 09:35 AM   #9
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Re: I need to write a will

I would never do a will without a bar attorney in the state I resided........

I have read horror stories about folks doing it on willworks or some program, only to find it is not valid upon the death of the writer............. :P :P
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 09:38 AM   #10
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Brewer's suggestion of using pre-paid legal for the fed and his dad may be a good idea. I don't know if they are nationwide though. None of us in my office do work through prepaid legal or any similar plan.
Yes, they are national (in Canada, too).
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 10:02 AM   #11
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Re: I need to write a will

I have read these threads before and keeping going back and forth if my wife and I should spend the money on a lawyer. We have wills that are 30 or so years old. The only thing that has changed is our little boy doesn't really need a guardian any more. The other thing that may be a problem is the law firm that originally wrote the wills seems to have gone out of business, they never notified us that they were desolving.

In our case all we want is, she gets it all if I die first, I get it all if she dies first and our only son gets it all when we both die.

I was thinking of using http://www.legalzoom.com/, not sure how much it costs but they claim to do the wills for the state you live in. Anybody ever use them for legal work?

Jeb
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 10:11 AM   #12
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude
I would never do a will without a bar attorney in the state I resided........

I have read horror stories about folks doing it on willworks or some program, only to find it is not valid upon the death of the writer............. :P :P
Well you better follow the instructions for your state on how the will must be executed. For example, in Minnesota you need a couple of witnesses plus a notary.

The bigger issue is making sure you have thought through all the issues and a will program may not do that for you. But really, how many here had a will at all when they were 23? Of course, the best thing is to have a lawyer, but when there is limited money you have to weigh the priorities.

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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 10:14 AM   #13
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeb-NY
I have read these threads before and keeping going back and forth if my wife and I should spend the money on a lawyer. We have wills that are 30 or so years old. The only thing that has changed is our little boy doesn't really need a guardian any more. The other thing that may be a problem is the law firm that originally wrote the wills seems to have gone out of business, they never notified us that they were desolving.

In our case all we want is, she gets it all if I die first, I get it all if she dies first and our only son gets it all when we both die.

I was thinking of using http://www.legalzoom.com/, not sure how much it costs but they claim to do the wills for the state you live in. Anybody ever use them for legal work?

Jeb
Don't know anything about legalzoom.com. But, if you have or getting close to having, a taxable estate under state or federal law I would say you better talk to a lawyer because a lawyer can be helpful in designing a plan to save or eliminate taxes.
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 10:19 AM   #14
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
But really, how many here had a will at all when they were 23?
Funny you should mention that.

At my first duty station after college an officer had a horrible allergic reaction, struggled in the hospital for a week, and died. Best guess was pesticides on a golf course.

Turns out he was in his early 30s but had never gotten around to that will. He was a naval aviator with a spouse & kids, property in three states, and a business partnership. Probate dragged on for a couple years and this was even with all the families getting along.

The following Monday after his death the boss convened our morning meeting at the legal office, and by Friday we all had wills. The first one is the hardest-- after that it's just a matter of updating them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeb-NY
The only thing that has changed is our little boy doesn't really need a guardian any more.
Jeb, maybe you could upgrade your son to executor so that he could be his own guardian...
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 10:48 AM   #15
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeb-NY
I have read these threads before and keeping going back and forth if my wife and I should spend the money on a lawyer. We have wills that are 30 or so years old. The only thing that has changed is our little boy doesn't really need a guardian any more. The other thing that may be a problem is the law firm that originally wrote the wills seems to have gone out of business, they never notified us that they were desolving.

In our case all we want is, she gets it all if I die first, I get it all if she dies first and our only son gets it all when we both die.

I was thinking of using http://www.legalzoom.com/, not sure how much it costs but they claim to do the wills for the state you live in. Anybody ever use them for legal work?

Jeb
Wills shoud reviewed and if needed, updated every 5-7 years. Tax laws and other state regulations change, so re-visiting it is necessary.
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 11:22 AM   #16
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Re: I need to write a will

Having a lawyer in your state draw up a will for both you and future DW is well worth the cost involved. If you make a mistake, and there are plenty of minefields around, there is no way to make adjustments from the grave. It is as simple as that.
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 12:00 PM   #17
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Re: I need to write a will

here's a dumb question

what do you do with the will once its complete? i assumed i'd give it to all involved in it, but does it need to be 'registered' or somethign liek that with the sate or county?


just curious


thanks for all the discussion...im gaining some valuable info....
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 12:08 PM   #18
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Re: I need to write a will

Quote:
what do you do with the will once its complete?
One place that you don't want to place it is in a safe deposit box. Place it in a drawer, file cabinet, or other safe place at home. Let all of your heirs know where it is kept and let them all read it so that there are no surprises. It is of no value if you are alive (no you can't register it), once you are gone it is invaluable. Only way I know of for you to speak from your grave, so to speak.
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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 01:30 PM   #19
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Re: I need to write a will


Any good software/kit that works on a Mac ? I think I'm ok with that
approach - pretty simple situation with me.

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Re: I need to write a will
Old 12-07-2006, 02:24 PM   #20
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Re: I need to write a will

The fed
I do recommend the will be in a fire safe place. That could be secure safe in your home or a safe deposit box. Keep a copy in your home accessable to those who will need to get it.

Just my two cents worth, note: not legal advice, or better yet, it free, and worth exactly what you paid for it.

Tio z
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