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Will for Single Person
Old 01-18-2015, 08:01 PM   #1
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Will for Single Person

Am working on rewriting my will and met with estate lawyer. Now I am in the pondering stage. *FIREd one year ago (Yipee!), am single, no children, no pets, Texas resident, no debt, small home, various mutual funds, Roth IRA, 403b, teacher pension, no Social Security. *If I die prematurely, there will be a sizable chunk of $$. If I live into my nineties, then not so much. * Siblings, nieces, nephews are all doing remarkably well, parents deceased. * *I am leaning towards leaving all to charity except the executor (nephew) will receive the Roth IRA. *Have read many older posts here on wills in general and for singles in particular. Any thoughts, ideas, advice, experiences, stories (good or bad), suggestions would be much appreciated. *Thanks in advance. *
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:08 PM   #2
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I suggest you do what you think is right for now, revisit you decision in 5 years.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:14 PM   #3
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Don't forget a health care directive and a power of attorney. If you do die, it won't necessarily come quickly and with you in control. Make your wishes known to the person you entrust to make those important decisions.
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:41 PM   #4
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^^ Very important!
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Old 01-18-2015, 09:59 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies. Updated living will, medical power of attorney, and durable power of attorney documents should be ready for my signature sometime this week. I did touch base with those involved in carrying out my wishes to make sure they were still on board and thankfully they still are able and willing.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:02 AM   #6
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I am single and have no kids. I went to a lawyer back in 2008 and created a will which included a living will, health care proxy and power of attorney, naming my ladyfriend and my brother as co-holders. I should adjust some of the beneficiaries of certain assets, though, because a good friend of mine received big inheritance back in 2012 and has also bought a co-op apartment and new car in the last few years, so I wouldn't need to leave my co-op apartment and car to him should I die.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:28 AM   #7
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About all I can see to add is to check the beneficiary forms on all accounts, to ensure you have them in a place accessible to your executor, and that they are current with regard to your intents… and for that matter to organize your information, perhaps with something like:


http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbookmkII.pdf
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:36 AM   #8
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Thanks for the quick replies. Updated living will, medical power of attorney, and durable power of attorney documents should be ready for my signature sometime this week. I did touch base with those involved in carrying out my wishes to make sure they were still on board and thankfully they still are able and willing.
I suggest you have successors for who gets your medical and durable POAs if numero uno is "unable or unwilling to serve."
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:47 AM   #9
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It's nice that you know what you want to do with your estate. And the advice you've received has been good.

But do you think it's worth spending the money to visit an estate attorney? You can do a perfectly good simple will through computer programs like Willmaker (NoLo). Their narrative is also excellent addressing simple wills.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:49 AM   #10
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I recently completed my third round of estate planning. As a single person, there is no "default" beneficiary, so one has more freedom of choice. If one wants to be strategic, there will be key phrases in the will that require the expertise of a lawyer. For example, I wish to leave some trust income to several people, but in different amounts, and not for ever. I wish to leave enough money to a designated charity to minimize the taxes on the estate. I knew what I wanted, but the lawyer was able to craft language that makes my wishes clear and incontestable. My estate will be complicated, so I would not try this without legal assistance. Having a POA and living will is probably more important if you are single and mine has backups written in. The legal framework is not the same in all jurisdictions. For example, there is a Representation Agreement in BC, which was not in existence in my former place of residence. Moving may require a revision even if you don't want to change anything.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:57 AM   #11
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I'm single, never married, no kids, both parents are dead. I have three siblings, but the youngest is about 15 years older than me, so I didn't grow up with them, or have much contact with their kids. We see each other on average maybe once every couple years, and that's it.

In the past, I've named either the Yellowstone Foundation or my church as beneficiary on things like automatic life insurance policies at work, etc.

But I have no will, and it's just not something I've thought much about since I can't "take it with me."

Given my siblings and their kids are grown up and on their own (and I never knew them very well anyway, so I don't feel compelled to leave them anything), I guess I should at least have something drawn up that ensures it goes to a worthy cause instead of the state.

Just not something I think much about, I guess.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:30 AM   #12
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Given my siblings and their kids are grown up and on their own (and I never knew them very well anyway, so I don't feel compelled to leave them anything), I guess I should at least have something drawn up that ensures it goes to a worthy cause instead of the state.

Just not something I think much about, I guess.
You already have a will. It was made by the State of California for you. Your estate will be divided evenly between your siblings; and if any are not alive, their children.

You need to be concerned about having a durable and medical POA. Leave enough in the pot for one or more of your nieces and nephews to watch over you. If you don't the state will assign someone for you and then your estate will be systematically drained until you are indigent. You can then spend your final days in a Medicaid nursing home.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:30 AM   #13
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I'm single, never married, no kids, both parents are dead. I have three siblings, but the youngest is about 15 years older than me, so I didn't grow up with them, or have much contact with their kids. We see each other on average maybe once every couple years, and that's it.

In the past, I've named either the Yellowstone Foundation or my church as beneficiary on things like automatic life insurance policies at work, etc.

But I have no will, and it's just not something I've thought much about since I can't "take it with me."

Given my siblings and their kids are grown up and on their own (and I never knew them very well anyway, so I don't feel compelled to leave them anything), I guess I should at least have something drawn up that ensures it goes to a worthy cause instead of the state.

Just not something I think much about, I guess.
Just FYI in the your case with no will it will go to your siblings, and their children as defined in this Wikipedia article on next of kin: Next of kin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The state would not be get the property unless you have no second cousins or first cousins twice removed. (at a minimum). Also your siblings and nieces and nephews would be the next of kin for legal and health matters if need be.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:57 PM   #14
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Yes, you want to have a will, no matter how simple it is. And nobody needs to have any more to do with your state than you have to. The state willl always find a way to stick their hands in your pockets--even if you're dead.

When you get down to it, probate is just giving your executor the authority to sign documents on your behalf to liquidate possessions like a house or bank account. And of course, don't forget Uncle Sam's got to be paid on the last year's income taxes in most cases.

IRA's/401K's and anything that have "beneficiaries" are kept outside the estate, thank goodness.
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Old 01-19-2015, 02:13 PM   #15
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Also your siblings and nieces and nephews would be the next of kin for legal and health matters if need be.
The siblings and nephews/nieces have no legal standing in Texas without a properly executed durable and medical POAs. Spouses need them for medical care but they will frequently be allowed to suggest but not always. When DW took over for her parents, nobody would do squat with her until she whipped out her paperwork.

If you don't have the proper paperwork, it is necessary to apply to the probate court (in their county of residence) for guardianship. If they have any assets, the court typically appoints some legal buddy to oversee their care but actually just fees the estate to death. When all the assets are gone, the court will suddenly realize you can have free reign with the person. They've already taken everything that wasn't nailed down.
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Old 01-19-2015, 05:48 PM   #16
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I am also single no kids and no debt. My will is set up so that whatever is left will be used to establish a scholarship fund for math and science students from my high school.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:33 PM   #17
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We dragged our feet to draw up a will for a long time. When we finally decided to get it done, it was no big deal. I think we will walk our boys over there some day and have them get a will made also.

It was not expensive, and will be easy to update if necessary. Took care of all the POA and medical directives at the same time.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:01 PM   #18
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About all I can see to add is to check the beneficiary forms on all accounts, to ensure you have them in a place accessible to your executor, and that they are current with regard to your intents… and for that matter to organize your information, perhaps with something like:


http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbookmkII.pdf
That is great advice. I will recheck all accounts and make sure the beneficiary information is correct. Thanks for the link to organize information. I have started compiling everything, but have a ways to go.
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:55 PM   #19
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I suggest you have successors for who gets your medical and durable POAs if numero uno is "unable or unwilling to serve."
Good point. I actually set up four successors as some a a bit older and all live out of state.

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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
It's nice that you know what you want to do with your estate. And the advice you've received has been good.

But do you think it's worth spending the money to visit an estate attorney? You can do a perfectly good simple will through computer programs like Willmaker (NoLo). Their narrative is also excellent addressing simple wills.
The online and will kit versions can be done inexpensively and certainly meet the needs of many people. It came down to comfort level and expertise for me. I have a more involved situation as a far as how I want things done with the charities. The lawyer answered all my questions, made suggestions (I would never have considered), and suggested specific wording to attain my goals. It will cost more going with a lawyer, but I feel comfortable with how things are progressing.
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Old 01-20-2015, 03:57 PM   #20
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Regarding "dragging your feet" on a will...we finally had one drawn up with all the other stuff like living will, POA, HC POA, etc. I knew we could have done it ourselves but we have considerable assets, 2 kids, and just wanted to know nothing could be misread or screwed up. Frankly, given the way all our assets are titled the will doesn't appear that important. Even if we both go out together contingent beneficiary provisions cover most of it but the house at this time. Anyway, regardless, most interested in a the POA and HC POA as we watch the MIL deteriorate and contemplate those issues.

Reviewing the draft with language about the "event of my death" was fun!
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