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Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 05:58 PM   #1
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Wills, planning, etc

So its about time for us to move beyond the basic simple will I filled out a few years ago from a template.

I'd like to do a set of wills, medical directive, power of attorney, basic estate planning etc.

Before consulting a lawyer, I'd like to get my own ducks in a row. Anyone use any of the willmaking/estate planning software and have any comments about it?

I was looking at "willmaker plus" from nolo. It sounds good...
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 06:03 PM   #2
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

I just bought the Suze Orman's Will and Trust kit for 14.00 including shipping. I'm going through the process of writing up a will, revocable trust, durable power of attorney for health care and financial power of attorney. When I'm done, I'll take them to my attorney and go from there. It's an easy way to get started...
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 06:22 PM   #3
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

Hi th. I have found NOLO generally excellent. I have an appointment next week with an attorney to update my will.
If I actually show up, it will be the first time since about 1975
that I have let someone else do my will. Still queasy about
paying someone to do it. I am trying to make DW feel more
secure if I check out. Otherwise I would not bother.

JG
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 09:16 PM   #4
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

There's a wesite NHPCO.org that has free forms in all states for Medical Advance Directive and Health Care Rep.

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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 09:53 PM   #5
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

Ok, come on...where are the suze orman jokes?

I got a sweet deal on the willmaker plus s/w after reading a bunch of scintillating reviews. I'll let y'all know how it works out.

I saw where I could get some of the forms for free...I'm looking for an overall estate planning review sort of thing rather than just a few piecemeal parts.
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 10:02 PM   #6
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by th
Ok, come on...where are the suze orman jokes?
The question is "Where's Martha?" (Our Martha, not the Stewart variety). Surely she has an opinion on DIY lawyering.

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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 10:18 PM   #7
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

The best part of DIY lawyering is that if you persistently practice it you eventually end up in a place where you have lots and lots of time for formal education on the subject.
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-04-2005, 11:25 PM   #8
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Re: Wills, planning, etc


I used NOLO for my Will, Durable Power of Attorney for FInances, and Healthcare Directive. I am satisfied with the resulting documents. I haven't paid for or met with a lawyer since I was 16, and that was a long time ago. I did pay an accountant once, it was a waste of $500 and I had to redo his work.
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 12:29 AM   #9
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by th
I got a sweet deal on the willmaker plus s/w after reading a bunch of scintillating reviews. I'll let y'all know how it works out.
I saw where I could get some of the forms for free...I'm looking for an overall estate planning review sort of thing rather than just a few piecemeal parts.
th,
Did you get 2004 or 2005? where did you get it from.
I found a legal form website that charges $24.95 to join and let's you download 2005 for free.

MJ
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Old 05-05-2005, 12:39 AM   #10
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

My Qickens 2000 came with Family Lawyer 2000.
Is anyone familiar with it? It has all the various documents I am looking for.
Is it too dated to trust for today's legal documents

Am I being penny wise and pound foolish?

MJ
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 07:13 AM   #11
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

I have a very short olographic will. My stash is 85% trad IRA so the beneficiary is already designated.

My heath directive states that I have no health insurance and very little money in the U.S. So if they can't revive me to pay - use their own judgement. Everybody else in the household is setup financially independant now - so they 'could' do without me living or dead.

Hmmm??

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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 08:21 AM   #12
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

I have done a great deal of "DIY lawyering", plus also way more than my share of traditional lawyering. So far my DIY efforts worked out just fine and of course, I saved a fortune in fees.
Paying an attorney for will prep. seems kind of like a waste
(in my case). I have an appointment next Friday (the 13th)
with a local guy. I may not go. Anyway, will report back on how this
is resolved. I have a simple will, but it has a lot of "chewy" issues.

JG
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 08:35 AM   #13
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

I just walked over to ask our estate planners what they thought of NOLO and "will kits". Every one of those guys is out today. Golf? Who knows, but couldn't ask.

My thought is that if you have a lot of money or any complications in your situation, it is good to talk it over with a lawyer who might have some ideas a kit wouldn't have. For example, there are many ways beyond wills to pass assets to the next generation. But TH is doing that anyway. I also think that if you are considering a trust, I would have a lawyer do it because individual cirumstances and goals substantially effect how to design the trust or even if a trust is the right thing to do.

Now John, my dear, you keep talking about going to a lawyer and working on your will. Now you are talking about cancelling the appointment. Don't. Time to go and get it done given your situation with the C corp. There, that is as close to legal advice I am ever going to give here.
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 08:54 AM   #14
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

Hey, our most senior estate planner just walked into my office! I am honored. He told me to get to work and quit screwing around on the internet. But he's not the boss of me.

He said forms like NOLO forms are just fine. The form part is nothing. His secretary can prepare the will form. The lawyer's job and what he charges for is to make sure you think of all the variables and all the options. So you wouldn't save any money here by bringing in a NOLO will. He says people make mistakes all the time using the forms. They forget people don't die in the right order. Etc.

Now I'll go back to work.
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 08:59 AM   #15
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha


Now John, my dear, you keep talking about going to a lawyer and working on your will. Now you are talking about cancelling the appointment. Don't. Time to go and get it done given your situation with the C corp. There, that is as close to legal advice I am ever going to give here.
Send him a bill, Martha. As a disciple of Ayn Rand, and a devout conservative, JG knows there is no free lunch. Of Course, he probably won't take your advice anyway.
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:01 AM   #16
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
Send him a bill, Martha.* As a disciple of Ayn Rand, and a devout conservative, JG knows there is no free lunch. Of Course, he probably won't take your advice anyway.
Martha is a smart lady. I may take her advice. We'll know in about a week.

JG
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 11:38 AM   #17
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

I got the 2005 and it'll cost me $28 after rebate from buy.com

Martha - my understanding of this s/w is that its not just forms, but gives you all the info, asks a bunch of questions and then fills the forms in for you based on your answers. Besides the s/w is a book with more detail in it.

I'm not setting up any trusts or anything at this time. I just wanted to placeholder a will, medical directives, power of attorneys and the basic stuff like that. Been pondering it since we knew Gabe was coming along.

Once thats in place I can move to do the heavier lifting later.
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Re: Wills, planning, etc
Old 05-05-2005, 12:03 PM   #18
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

My brother and I are each 50% beneficiaries of our mom's
account at Vanguard. *I have power of attorney for her
account and the other day she asked me who would manage
her account if I passed first. *That got me thinking more deeply
about Vanguard's beneficiary plan and what happens if my
brother or I passed before her. *It dawned on me that the
surviving brother would inherit 100% and the wife of the
deceased would get nothing from Vanguard. *I checked with
Mom and this was definitely NOT what she wanted to happen.
She wanted each "family" to have 50% ..... with which my
brother and I totally agree. *The problem is, I think, that to
give 50% to the surviving widow would incur a GIFT TAX.

I have a revocable living trust and could assign the trust as
a 50% beneficiary to solve the problem for myself. *Unfortunately,
my brother does not have a trust and can't afford to set one up.

As it stands now, I could change the beneficiary plan to name
my brother as 50% beneficiary and my trust as the other 50%
beneficiary. *

Another option would be to just let it go as is for now (she is 89)
and just let the surviving brother change the plan to name the
widow as a 50% beneficiary if either of us passes first. *

Although I have kidded about my brother (UP-Chuck) in the past
we totally trust each other.

Any suggestions?

Charlie * *
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Old 05-05-2005, 01:17 PM   #19
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I cancelled my Vanguard Directed Beneficiary plan. It doesn't offer the flexibility I need (which isn't much).
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Old 05-05-2005, 01:24 PM   #20
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Re: Wills, planning, etc

I don't know how Vanguard works and maybe it doesn't allow this, but one option, Charlie, is to have the two of you named beneficiaries as "tenants in common" or provide for contingent beneficiaries if one of you dies. Some brokerages allow this but plenty are pretty rigid about what they allow. Or you could skip having beneficiaries and probate the asset. Or your mom could set up a trust to hold the account, with you and your brother and each of your heirs as beneficiaries of the trust.

Some problems with relying on trusting family members in this case is that your mother could end up incompetent, you or your brother dies, and your mother can't change the beneficiary to add someone new. Happens.

Just thoughts, not advice.
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