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Will update
Old 04-19-2019, 06:28 AM   #1
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Will update

DW & I just got back from the attorney's office. It took us a little over a year since we first started talking about it, but today we finalized our new wills. Our old wills were 22 years old when both kids were in diapers, they had many codicils and were outdated. We also placed all real estate and investments that don't have a beneficiary into trusts. This way they'll avoid probate, plus, Estate Tax is a concern in Minnesota. We did the POA's and Health Care directives too. Reviewed all beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. I can't believe how many updates we needed to make, and I thought I was on top of everything.

I'm confident we're ready to get old now.

I have a 3 page letter of instructions for each of our 2 children on where things are and who to contact. They'll each get a copy of all the above mentioned paperwork, along with information on how to access our original copies.

I gave them some very simple investment advice. "Take all the money and put it in your Vanguard Accounts" I suggested putting it all in the Target 2065 Fund and get back to work, and when you're ready to withdraw, never draw more than 4%. I wanted to suggest one fund that they could set in place for life and not think too much or rely on a FA to manage what they can do themselves without paying 1.5% a year. I think this is a good recommendation. People have written books on how to handle this situation, I think the kids are more likely to follow this one sentence suggestion, plus it will be hard to beat over the next 40 years.

This evening we'll fix a toddy and burn our old wills in the outdoor fireplace.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:35 AM   #2
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This setup is in our plans for this year. Would you mind disclosing the attorney fees for this work? I realize it can be a wide range depending where one resides and who they use.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:59 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, life has many turns and twists, and there are often many will revisions in one's life.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:52 AM   #4
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Good for you getting the updating done. DW and I just updated our trust docs last fall, especially since the move to another state and other changes to be documented in the trust/wills/POAs. Better to be prepared now, than try to catch up later.
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:29 AM   #5
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This setup is in our plans for this year. Would you mind disclosing the attorney fees for this work? I realize it can be a wide range depending where one resides and who they use.
We're in the Washington, DC metropolitan area (MD suburbs), and two years ago we paid $4,800 for a full estate plan for both of us, including general and financial POAs, advance directives, health care agent, revocable living trusts, wills, and other instructions like disposition of our remains.

If anyone in the area is looking, I highly recommend them. PM me if you want more information.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stormy Kromer View Post
DW & I just got back from the attorney's office. It took us a little over a year since we first started talking about it, but today we finalized our new wills. Our old wills were 22 years old when both kids were in diapers, they had many codicils and were outdated. We also placed all real estate and investments that don't have a beneficiary into trusts. This way they'll avoid probate, plus, Estate Tax is a concern in Minnesota. We did the POA's and Health Care directives too. Reviewed all beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. I can't believe how many updates we needed to make, and I thought I was on top of everything.
Good for you for getting everything up to date.

It's a good reminder for me to check our wills. We do that periodically, but my wife and I haven't updated our wills for a while. I'm pretty sure that everything is still appropriate.

But we just recently moved to a new state. I'm pretty sure there is nothing in our wills that will be invalid in our new residence, but I'll check. I'll have to find out if our healthcare directives are state-specific as well.

I had been planning on establishing a trust, but with the far better estate tax rules in this state, I no longer see a need.

Quote:
I have a 3 page letter of instructions for each of our 2 children on where things are and who to contact. They'll each get a copy of all the above mentioned paperwork, along with information on how to access our original copies.
When will you give them this document? Now? Or wait until your demise?
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:21 PM   #7
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I've used WillMaker Pro, but ~98.5% of my assets are in accounts with beneficiaries identified. So, the only things not covered are physical assets and checking and savings accounts.

I also used the software to make POAs for my mom, etc. For many people, in many states, you can forego the lawyer's expensive plans. You do need to have the will notarized and/or witnessed in many states.
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Old 04-19-2019, 03:07 PM   #8
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Good for you for getting everything up to date.

But we just recently moved to a new state. I'm pretty sure there is nothing in our wills that will be invalid in our new residence, but I'll check. I'll have to find out if our healthcare directives are state-specific as well.


I reside in VA and was told that the executor had to reside in VA also. However, I was the executor for mom's will and she lived in Nevada. So restrictions on executor is something to check out according to your state.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:17 PM   #9
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I've used WillMaker Pro, but ~98.5% of my assets are in accounts with beneficiaries identified. So, the only things not covered are physical assets and checking and savings accounts.

I also used the software to make POAs for my mom, etc. For many people, in many states, you can forego the lawyer's expensive plans. You do need to have the will notarized and/or witnessed in many states.

A caution about these software generated wills and POAs is you donít know what you donít know. IMHO you get what you pay for.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:33 PM   #10
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A caution about these software generated wills and POAs is you donít know what you donít know. IMHO you get what you pay for.
The software follows the laws of each state with regards to the requirements for them to be legal. Yes, they're generic, but can be customized. After having just gone through probate, paying a probate lawyer, and dealing with TOD assets as well as a will, I'd say that if you follow the directions explicitely, they're fine for 95% of Americans. Pretty sure if I was a one-percenter, I'd pay $20K or so for something much more comlicated and necessary.

Many on this forum have their real estate set up with either a trust of a dual-title, and most of our assets are in beneficiary-designated accounts. For those few that have super-complicated assets (companies, multiple land holdings, in multiple countries, etc.,), I'd certainly pay a lawyer for one. But what I've been seeing in the news lately, is that even if you have a solid will, the court, or the appointed executor can make a significant difference in whether or how well the intent is carried out. Many times, paid executors don't have the beneficiary's best interest entirely at heart.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:06 PM   #11
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One problem with just a will is when the first of a couple dies, the surviving spouse can change their will to whatever they want. A trust can take care of a lot of ďwhat ifís?Ē An experienced attorney can ask a lot of questions and offer suggestions on how best to handle specific situations in your life. Itís not just a matter of following state laws, but ensuring the people you want to have your assets get them. What if your beneficiaries pass on and you, due to aging, dementia, coma...whatever, are not able to change your will. Would you want your daughter/son-in-law to get the assets or your grandkids? Who will manage your assets if your spouse has passed and you are unable to? Will that person use the assets for your benefit or be a miser waiting for you to pass so they get the funds? A good attorney will ask these and many more questions. A software application wonít.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:20 PM   #12
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I reside in VA and was told that the executor had to reside in VA also. However, I was the executor for mom's will and she lived in Nevada. So restrictions on executor is something to check out according to your state.
Who told you that your executor must reside in VA? Your estate lawyer?

I know that isn't the case for my prior state. I'll look into it for my current state, but I've never heard of that issue for anyone.

Just checked - no special restrictions or requirements on out of state executors for my state.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:31 PM   #13
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Who will manage your assets if your spouse has passed and you are unable to? Will that person use the assets for your benefit or be a miser waiting for you to pass so they get the funds? A good attorney will ask these and many more questions. A software application wonít.
Correct. But even if the question is asked, and answered, the executor usually has broad discretion. You can't plan for every contingency, but you can transfer assets while you're alive, if you're that concerned about it!

Here's a real-life soap opera, if you want to see how complicated things can get for Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa (from Wikipedia):

"On 1 October 2017, Kawānanakoa married Veronica Gail Worth, in Honolulu. In 2017 Kawānanakoa had a medical episode. In a handwritten letter by her to the media, she explained her firing of her former attorney James Wright. Wright, a trustee for the multimillion dollar Abigail K. K. Kawananakoa Revocable Living Trust has made accusations that Worth has abused her 92 year old spouse however, Michael Rudy, Worthís attorney has denied the allegations and questioned the photos provided." Lawsuits, challenges to living trusts, and questions of Kawānanakoa's ability to make her own decisions. It's the lawyers who are making out in this case.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:24 PM   #14
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Correct. But even if the question is asked, and answered, the executor usually has broad discretion.

No, the executor does not have broad discretion if is properly written. In our trusts, our attorney is identified as a Trust Protector, who can remove a trustee if the beneficiaries of the trust find the trustee is not following our written instructions. Anyone who challenges our trust or will are explicitly barred from receiving any of our assets. We have two trustees. One is USAA Trust Management Co., and one is my sister-in-law. USAA manages and distributes all financial assets, while my SIL manages personal property and assists USAA in any other way they may need her to. We protect our two boys, our three grandchildren, DWís parents for assisted living/nursing home care (up to a limit), our two daughters-in-law get some funds to care for themselves if they are still married to our sons if our sons pass. Second husbands for a daughter-in-law canít touch the funds set aside for grandkids. The trusts are well worth the $4,500 they cost. No where near the $20k you mentioned earlier.
It sounds like youíre satisfied with your setup, but I doubt itís right for 95% of the people. Everyone has a different situation and they donít know the questions to ask. Guidance of a good attorney is worth every penny.
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:38 AM   #15
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Who told you that your executor must reside in VA? Your estate lawyer?

I know that isn't the case for my prior state. I'll look into it for my current state, but I've never heard of that issue for anyone.

Just checked - no special restrictions or requirements on out of state executors for my state.

We had our first wills prepared by Army lawyers as part of our package if deployed while in VA. I had wanted to designate my brother in NV but the lawyer said VA required it to be someone that resides in VA.



Now past the jokes about Army lawyers, they do quite a bit of will preparation as you can imagine. This one asked many questions we never thought of before. Things may have changed, just something to check.
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:10 AM   #16
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We had our first wills prepared by Army lawyers as part of our package if deployed while in VA. I had wanted to designate my brother in NV but the lawyer said VA required it to be someone that resides in VA.



Now past the jokes about Army lawyers, they do quite a bit of will preparation as you can imagine. This one asked many questions we never thought of before. Things may have changed, just something to check.
Yup. In virginia apparently you can name a non-resident executor, who must then name an in-state agent.
"In Virginia, a nonresident executor must appoint someone who lives in the state to act as an agent."

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...-executor.html

Something worth checking.
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:31 AM   #17
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We upadated our wills, directives, POA's last year. It had been ten years. Lots of change in our lives. No trusts involved. Very straightforward since most assets are identified, liquid, etc. Both times the fees were under $1000.

Prior to doing our first wills ten years ago we bought a will kit. We had no intention of doing our own wills. The kit was for our own edification and preparation for our first meeting.

The cost of having the wills done properly far outweighed any potential saving in a DIY job. The savings can easily be eaten up just by an executor or one of our children having to seek some legal advice or direction post our demise. We keep a separate asset and password sheet in our safe deposit box that is updated every year. Our children have access to the the box.

I am a big believer in seeking qualified professional advice for certain things. Like wills and taxes. In our experience it there are significant savings to be had by seeking out qualified people who can complete engagements in a timely and correct fashion. It can be very expensive to fix DIY errors.
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:54 AM   #18
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I've used WillMaker Pro, but ~98.5% of my assets are in accounts with beneficiaries identified. So, the only things not covered are physical assets and checking and savings accounts.

I also used the software to make POAs for my mom, etc. For many people, in many states, you can forego the lawyer's expensive plans. You do need to have the will notarized and/or witnessed in many states.
+1

Why don't you have beneficiaries on your checking and savings accounts? We do.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:23 AM   #19
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Good for you for getting everything up to date.

It's a good reminder for me to check our wills. We do that periodically, but my wife and I haven't updated our wills for a while. I'm pretty sure that everything is still appropriate.

But we just recently moved to a new state. I'm pretty sure there is nothing in our wills that will be invalid in our new residence, but I'll check. I'll have to find out if our healthcare directives are state-specific as well.

I had been planning on establishing a trust, but with the far better estate tax rules in this state, I no longer see a need.


When will you give them this document? Now? Or wait until your demise?
We will give both of our children a copy of the 3 page letter along with copies of the wills, trusts, POA and medical directives the next time we go visit each of them. We're going to buy each of them small home safes to keep them in.

We set them both up as co-executors of everything. I've seen situations where one sibling turns into a power control freak if they hold sole authority and we want to avoid that.

The cost for the legal work is going to be in the $5k range. I consider this a good investment to avoid probate, let alone the MN state inheritance taxes.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:31 AM   #20
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We will give both of our children a copy of the 3 page letter along with copies of the wills, trusts, POA and medical directives the next time we go visit each of them.
IMHO, that makes the most sense.

I believe there should be no surprises in a will.

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We set them both up as co-executors of everything. I've seen situations where one sibling turns into a power control freak if they hold sole authority and we want to avoid that.
What did your attorney say about that? I know some that advise against having co-executors.
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