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Old 09-09-2015, 08:55 PM   #21
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I wanna say we paid $25 bucks for the paper work from Dave Ramsey site. Our financial group notarized for nothing. They as simple wills no trust .


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Old 09-09-2015, 09:09 PM   #22
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Good question.

I was planning to go to my Credit Union and hopefully they will be able to provide a few witnesses in addition to the notary service.

If that idea flames out, then I may ask the contingent Personal Representatives to join me to witness in that they are not beneficiaries.

I would also be interested in what others have successfully done to execute a will (sign/notarize/witness and make self-proving).

-gauss
I have used my local bank for forms that needed multiple witnesses. Usually, the 'office stores' (UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc) are usually helpful in this regards too..as long as they have a few people working at the time.
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Old 09-10-2015, 07:50 AM   #23
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I happily used willing.com for free.

Here is a recent review that led me to them.

-gauss
Thanks for the link.

My old Will was way outdated so I gave this a try. It handled everything I needed. I used 2 neighbors as my witnesses. Heading out on a 2 week trip next week so figured I better get things updated in case I end up being a smudge mark on an 18 wheeler.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:23 AM   #24
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my feeling is there is no such thing as a simple will in most states.

i firmly believe when it comes to this stuff with no do overs allowed do not use internet canned documents , see a specialist.

i have dealt with one defective will and 1 defective trust already in my lifetime.

much of what protects your wishes is not even in the documents. it is protocol and is the questions asked at the signing in front of witnesses.

state laws change on the fly . we had a co-worker hit a snag because the internet form used was not the new statutory form required as mentioned below.

we hit a snag on the refinance of a house we inherited through a simple will.

it read i leave my house and possessions to my child beth.

the title company stopped the refinance since a word was missing. that word was ONLY " as in only child.

well i had to pay all the attorneys for the day and lost my rate while we got affidavits there were no other children.

we had a court rule a trust defective as well as it lacked a sentence relating to predeceasing the parents.


as the judge told us , it is clear what the intentions were but he cannot re-write history or add missing words.



some of the issues those who use canned documents in our state ,ny run in to are :

Preparing and executing a valid health care proxy provides a good illustration. The health care proxy is a document that allows an individual (the “principal”) to appoint an agent to make health care decisions in case he/she becomes incapacitated. The main purpose of the health care proxy is to appoint an agent. There is a presumption that the agent knows the principal’s wishes. Nonetheless, according to New York State case law, if a principal’s wishes regarding the withholding of artificial nutrition and hydration are not articulated, an agent will not be able to make such decision. Based on this case law, it is imperative for the principal to set forth his/her wishes regarding the administering of artificial nutrition and hydration either in the actual health care proxy or in a separate living will. Failure to do this can result in unforeseen consequences – which is exactly what the principal was trying to avoid in the first place. Secondly, many individuals erroneously believe that they can appoint more than one agent at a time on a health care proxy. This would make the document faulty because only one agent at a time can make medical decisions. A person drafting a health care proxy can add language to avoid insulting other family members, but again- this requires the help of someone with experience. Finally, the document must be witnessed by two individuals in order for it to be validly recognized. A person should not have his agent, spouse or child be a witness to the signing.

We see even more problems in the area of powers of attorney. The main thrust of a power of attorney is to appoint an agent to act on an individual’s behalf with respect to financial matters in case such individual becomes incapacitated. Many people innocently refer to this document as one that is “simple” to prepare. This could not be further from the truth. Firstly, New York State passed legislation effective September 2009 in an attempt to create a statutory form that would be uniformly accepted. This legislation was the result of tremendous abuse that was found in this particular area, with some appointed agents taking advantage of the disabled and elderly.

The new power of attorney law results in a much lengthier document, and significantly restricts the actual power given to the agent over financial matters. If transfers are to be made on behalf of the principal, a separate gift rider must be executed. The gift rider must specifically articulate the agent’s power to make gifts to himself/herself or to third parties. Further, any additional powers beyond those enumerated in the statute, must be added to a modification section. Finally, while the law mandates banks, brokerage houses and other financial institutions to recognize the power of attorney, the form utilized must be statutory. Accordingly, if someone decides to cut corners and download a form from the internet, this may result in a tremendous disservice because if the form is not statutory, it does not have to be legally recognized. The power of attorney is an extremely important tool for estate and elder law practitioner. If the principal incorrectly drafts and/or executes this form, his/her ultimate plans regarding Medicaid eligibility or gifting to loved ones could be completely stymied. It is imperative to have this document prepared by an experienced practitioner.

A last will and testament is yet another document that must be prepared under the supervision of any experienced attorney. After the person who executed the will dies (the “decedent”), the will gets admitted to probate through surrogate’s court so that the decedent’s wishes can ultimately be fulfilled. Through the probate process, the will is reviewed and the court checks to make sure the will was drafted and executed properly. The number of witnesses, the affidavit they sign and the way the will is fastened are some examples of what the court reviews. Any mistakes, such as the removal of a staple or an ambiguous bequest can result in unnecessary delays, costly legal fees, and at worse, an inability to complete the probate process.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:27 AM   #25
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WillMaker recommends that you pick a witness that you know, but is not in the will. In some cases (probably rare) they may have to testify in court that they saw you sign the document and vouch for your competency at the time of signing.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:30 AM   #26
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WillMaker recommends that you pick a witness that you know, but is not in the will. In some cases (probably rare) they may have to testify in court that they saw you sign the document and vouch for your competency at the time of signing.
And this type of requirement varies from state to state. Hence why it's a good idea to have a PROFESSIONAL do it. It's cheap to do and certainly worth the peace of mind.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:34 AM   #27
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for sure .

in fact we had certain questions asked of us at the signing , all very important in a 2nd marriage .

do we know what a will is ?

is anyone on medications ?

has anyone played a part in helping decide who gets what other than the person doing the will?

anyone have any influence or pressure to do something .


all extremely important questions to ask when step children decide to contest something .

these steps will never be done with a will kit .


one missing word or verbiage not used anymore in your state can void a will and make it defective despite the clear intentions of the will.

having dealt with probate court on this i can tell you they are strict .

one missing sentence cost us 500k when a trust was deemed defective for a missing sentence about predeceasing
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:57 AM   #28
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we used one of the top estate attorneys in ny when we re-did our paper work. it cost us 5k for everything and well worth it .

had i done this on my own or with a general practitioner we likely would have missed a biggy which at the time was not widely known yet.

new york is raising its estate tax exclusion level up to the federal level at the rate of 1 million in increases a year .

well what we did not know was that there is a tax cliff if you go 5% over that years limit .

you do not just owe tax on the difference but lose the entire exclusion and are taxed from dollar 1.

much of the expense was because we now needed a disclaimer trust .

it is a very cool way of giving a surviving spouse 9 months to decide whether to split the estate in to two irrevocable halves doubling what can escape the tax cliff if you fall between like we did .

no point setting up trusts in advance effectively cutting +the surviving spouse off from free access to those funds . the laws are very strict on trusts as far as what a spouse can take .
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Old 09-11-2015, 04:23 AM   #29
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one of the things you have to consider when you do these things on your own is you only know what you know and the will kits can't deal with what you don't know.

like the above tax cliff in ny .

even a general practitioner may not know the above but odds are an estate attorney does .

take a state like new jersey with both an estate tax , an inheritance tax and a very low estate tax level of i think 600k .

sure the will kit will give you a will but what it won't do is fix the situation .

don't assume because you have no money that this isn't important stuff to get right .

your death may be the result of an accident , malpractice or wrongful death and suddenly your estate has money to deal with .
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Old 09-14-2015, 05:41 PM   #30
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This is of interest to me as DW and I are finally getting off our butts and having a will and other documents drawn up...but we are planning on moving from MI to WA in a year and will probably die there.

The attorney in MI said, don't worry the will will be just as valid in WA. Given that the attorney has a conflict of interest (i.e. wants the "sale", here), does this make sense?
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Old 09-14-2015, 06:44 PM   #31
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For those of you with do-it-yourself wills, I'm curious about who witnesses one. In my state I think 2 witnesses are required that are not heirs. Lawyer offices can usually provide the witnesses, but for DIY do you ask a friend or neighbor or what? Was there that "No, really, I'm not dying. I just need a will" awkward moment?
You might be able to get the will notarized and witnessed (for a fee) at a UPSStore for example. If they do the notary service, then a couple of other employees will be witnesses. Banks sometimes will do it. Including the notarization. When my will was done, the lawyer said they no longer do the signing/notarization/witness process at the law office.
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:38 PM   #32
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Updated our original 1965 will on Quicken Willmaker several years ago... also did the Health Directive, and ran through the steps of a trust, but didn't complete that as I don't think it was applicable in our case.

We had two neighbors witness the documents at our bank, and filed it with our county clerk.

The exercise of going through the steps led to a better understanding than what I had before.

As of today, I feel confident that we're covered. All of our kids are beneficiaries and have looked at the will. We wanted their approval before we finalized. It all went very well, with everyone in agreement about the distribution, and with the son we appointed as executor. All of our kids and their wives are very close and we're always open with them about our finances.

If we see a problem with finances or health on the horizon, we'll bring the current will to an attorney for verification. In the meantime, some peace of mind in having spent the hours in developing our wills, directives and POA.
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:12 PM   #33
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When I shopped around for a lawyer to update wills (2 minor children, otherwise pretty simple) I got prices from $250 to $7000 for different lawyers doing approx the same work. I wanted a real law firm to make sure all the signing and witnesses would be correct and assure there would be no legal problems after I'm gone and can't do anything about it. I did also see a paralegal firm that doesn't write the will but will do all the witnessing and filing of a will you bring them (presumably from an internet source).

I'm surprised the legal profession still can command these kinds of fees for essentially a bit of word processing, but they do make actual costs hard to compare, so maybe they know the end is coming, just not very soon.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:11 AM   #34
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Grandma's will consisted of one small sheet of paper stored in her kitchen cabinet. "NAME" gets everything.


That was it. Must've cost her all of $.00001.


It probably helped that mom was an only child...
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Old 09-15-2015, 03:45 AM   #35
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My grandma and mother don't have a will, and don't need one. The standard settings cover what they intend.

I intend to get one for myself though. No children, no spouse, an estranged father and high inheritance taxes if you do it wrong. It's one of those things that are important but not very urgent given my age.

Tried to arrange it two years ago but couldn't find a notary who was able to deal with laws of multiple countries and the relevant European treaties.
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Old 09-15-2015, 05:46 AM   #36
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No where else but in estate planning have i learned that the words nothing is a problem until it's a problem are truer.

As the probate court told us when there was an issue with wording missing pertaining to predeceasing , we can clearly see the intent but i can't rewrite history or correct missing verbage. There are no do overs.
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Old 09-15-2015, 07:35 AM   #37
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Grandma's will consisted of one small sheet of paper stored in her kitchen cabinet. "NAME" gets everything.


That was it. Must've cost her all of $.00001.


It probably helped that mom was an only child...
Same with my grandma. My mom and aunt didn't have a problem with handling property in their parent's name. Only had a hand written will. Obviously some people have a high net worth and a complicated estate, but not everyone needs a $5k Will.
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Old 09-15-2015, 09:27 AM   #38
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Same with my grandma. My mom and aunt didn't have a problem with handling property in their parent's name. Only had a hand written will. Obviously some people have a high net worth and a complicated estate, but not everyone needs a $5k Will.
Agree, dealt with my mothers estate earlier this year and it was just a basic 2 page will drawn up by a lawyer and all it did was name the executor and stated that the estate would be divided equally among the children. Don't know how much my mother paid for the will but it couldn't have been much. The one issue we had was that there was no documentation on what financial/investment accounts were out there so it did take some digging to work that out. Something that I will make sure is included in my will.
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Old 09-15-2015, 09:58 AM   #39
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Same as Zinger. Almost done with probate on my mother's Will. It was also a basic 2-page document prepared by an attorney.

Going through probate has me very interested in developing a Trust and using our current Will as a backup.

FYI, just received my copy of Retire Secure by James Lange. It was free and just paid shipping $7.95 (was recommended on another thread on this site). Just thumbing through it and it has a lot of information on Estate Planning. It was just updated and published this year, so current information.


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Old 09-15-2015, 02:26 PM   #40
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The attorney in MI said, don't worry the will will be just as valid in WA. Given that the attorney has a conflict of interest (i.e. wants the "sale", here), does this make sense?
To my knowledge he's correct, the will written in another state should be good. But since various states have differing requirements about what must be in a will I wonder which state's requirements hold - the one where it was written or the one where it is administrated?
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