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View Poll Results: Did you write your own will or living trust?
Yes, my situation was fairly basic 24 24.00%
Yes, there were some complexities but I was confident I could do it 7 7.00%
No, basic situation, but hired a lawyer to make sure it was done right 28 28.00%
No, I really need a lawyer for my situation 23 23.00%
No, but it looks so simple I don't know why I didn't do it myself 3 3.00%
I have no legal estate plan 12 12.00%
other (explain) 3 3.00%
Voters: 100. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-09-2009, 07:55 AM   #21
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Besides a will, I also had a POA and HCP done as part of a package deal. This followed a similar set of legal papers just done for my elderly dad (my mom is deceased) from the same lawyer. His included an IAMT so it cost more.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:46 AM   #22
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If you don't have your papers in order - suggest you just do it, and get it over with.

I'm single with no dependents, and a lawyer. Wills and estates are not my area, and some requirements vary by state, so my will was drafted by an attorney licensed in my state of residence. I also have financial/health care directives and recently updated all the work-related forms. The will needs some easy updating - name changes, etc. - and I am comfortable doing that.

My stepmother took my father to an attorney a few years ago to draw up their wills, but the attorney refused as Pop was already senile. Fortunately, he'd already put everything in both names so she was ok.

As the only other possible beneficiary and to remove any doubt, I sent her a letter disclaiming any inheritance that I might be entitled to, saying that Pop had told me years ago he wanted to give everything to her, and offering to sign an affidavit to that effect.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:28 AM   #23
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I'm going to start with reading the Nolo "Plan Your Estate" book. I figure whether I do my own or hire a lawyer, that's a good way to make sure I know what's going on and what needs to be covered. Then I'll decide which way to go. My confidence in doing it correctly is one factor, cost is another. I definitely understand the "insurance" aspect, but not at a huge cost if I think I've got it covered.

I appreciate all of the view points.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:34 AM   #24
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Illinois I read has some goofy law that makes it not wise to do your own Will with a NOLO or similar form. Supposedly only State in the Union like that, but I would definitely check my States laws carefully..very carefully..before I took that chance.
Heck, I'd hire a lawyer and be done with it. I, too, consider it cheap insurance so the State can't grab the money.
WillMaker (Nolo) is state specific. I would be more worried about the Attorney that keeps your will and preys on your heirs when they come to his office. My parents Attorney wanted 5% of the gross estate to complete probate and taxes. I did it myself for a 10th of the cost. You may not pay much for a will but your heirs may.
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:19 AM   #25
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We have three children, so to DW and I it was worth the $350 to have a lawyer write up the will. Cheap insurance to sleep well.
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:47 PM   #26
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Attorney here. We did our own wills using willmaker I think. Just after the second kid was born. Our estate is very straightforward other than having to deal with the kids. I knew enough from a number of trusts/estates classes and reading up on it to know how to structure our affairs in the event of our premature demise(s). As assets grow, I will probably revisit the wills and consider retaining a trust/estate specialist should the need arise.

Right now virtually all assets are titled in Joint Tenancy with rights of survivorship or for single accounts (401k IRA etc) naming the surviving spouse as the beneficiary with the children being secondary/contingent beneficiaries.

My general advice (see caveat below however) would be if you don't have complicated finances and don't have kids, a willmaker will is better than nothing if you aren't willing to pay for an attorney. However it could be hard to figure out just what would make your situation complicated.
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:01 PM   #27
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Like Martha, we need an SNT along with ensuring support services for our disabled son after we're gone.

That included professional services for placing our existng RE into indivudial revokable trusts, liquidation of our estate, transfer of proceeds from our revokable trusts, funding of the SNT, management of the funds till our son passes, and finial disposition to our named charities (we have no family members who wish to get involved).

That along with the respective documents for not only my DW/me but also related to our son in the area of living wills, durable POW's, naming of a trust protector (for our son) after we're gone.

We had our respecive orignial wills drawn up over 25 years ago, when our needs were simple and our son was not yet considered "disabled" (but that's another story, not to be discussed here).

Life has a way of screwing up your plans for the future ....
I assume you hired an experienced SNT attorney to draw these documents for you.

My sister has a disabled son and was recently quoted $2000 to draw the wills, SNT trusts and all other documents for them and their son. What did it cost you if I may ask?
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Old 12-09-2009, 06:12 PM   #28
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I have the textbook convoluted situation.
I am widowed, no children, deceased mother, estranged father and wacked out siblings from hell.
dh2b is divorced, 1 unadopted step son, 2 heirs.
Our assets are unequal and we are still unmarried.
I paid the full shot to have a customized (I wrote most of it) Revocable Living Trust with Alternate Trustee and Trust Protector designations, pour over will, HCP, Living Will, limited PofA, final arrangements, yadda yadda yadda.
I sleep very well at night.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:44 PM   #29
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I assume you hired an experienced SNT attorney to draw these documents for you.

My sister has a disabled son and was recently quoted $2000 to draw the wills, SNT trusts and all other documents for them and their son. What did it cost you if I may ask?
I had one of the best estate planners in Minnesota do mine for free. He was one of my partners. I think that the amount your sister was quoted is not unreasonable. You want it right.
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:11 AM   #30
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We did ours using Nolo's info right after kid #1 was born. Need to update it now that kid #2 is... gulp... a couple of years old.

We are considering a trust, and will have an attorney draw that up for us. But for a simple will, am willing to go it alone. Having a not-crazy family on both sides really helps the sleep factor, I've gotta say.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:10 PM   #31
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I used Will Maker for my first round of wills. But after reading more about it, I decided to go to a lawyer to create the current round of wills & other docs.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:34 PM   #32
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I basically went to a lawyer(Missouri) to minimize my estate - so house, land, cars, taxable stocks don't go thru probate. Also did the Medical Directive, Power of Attorney thing and Will for the leftover dribs and drabs.

I'm probably overdue for a review.

heh heh heh - Nice item for a New Year's resolution. . Single basically no heirs except for a Sister who needs to understand that the Pats are still a good football team even if my long in the wilderness Saint's may, I say may finally make the big show.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:04 PM   #33
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Thanks to whichever mod corrected my double capped word "DId" in the title? :-)
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:20 AM   #34
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From my understanding, a "will" by itself isn't enough to avoid expensive and time consuming probate - are most of you also establishing a revocable trust?
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:42 AM   #35
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Hired an attorney. I don't view this as a place to cut corners.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:25 PM   #36
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We have no wills right now. Since our situation is extremely straightforward (joint tenancy on everything, first marriage for both, no kids, none of our parents are divorced, one sibling for DH, none for me), we will probably use Willmaker. If we have kids in the future we will reconsider.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:41 PM   #37
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that the Pats are still a good football team even if my long in the wilderness Saint's may, I say may finally make the big show.
even if they have dropped three in a row...

I'm just sayin'.....
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