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What End of Life Documents Do I Need?
Old 05-10-2019, 11:50 AM   #1
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What End of Life Documents Do I Need?

DW has been pestering me for years to "get a will". So, were are getting ready to talk with an attorney but I'd like to know what I need in advance. I assume there is some kind of package that includes a directive for end of life care and power of attorney.

This is a second marriage for both of us and DW has a 42 year old daughter that she wants to inherit her stash, but we agree that both of us need to be fully taken care of before any money is disbursed. DW is concerned that if she dies first, I may be in a weakened mental state and somehow not pass on her share to the daughter upon my death. I have no heirs and plan to leave my estate to DW or her daughter, which is how I have set up the beneficiaries on my investments.

Thanks in advance for any advice or gotchas.
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Old 05-10-2019, 11:58 AM   #2
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Kiplinger's has a good summary here which will give you a starting point

4 Key End-of-Life Documents to Get in Order
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:20 PM   #3
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IF the attorney is worth his/her weight, then they should be able to guide you in what documents you will need for your situation. They are, after all, "counselors."
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:15 PM   #4
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Nolo Quicken WillMaker will give you some good advice also. It comes with forms specific for your state. I'm just finishing up on Wills, Healthcare Directive (Includes Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney), and "Durable Power of Attorney for Finances". Letters to Executors, final arrangement preferences etc. It is a pretty comprehensive package that goes far beyond just Wills.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExFlyBoy5 View Post
IF the attorney is worth his/her weight..........
Yup, that's why I'm asking here so I make the initial determination if the attorney is worth their weight.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:47 PM   #6
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Go to Nolo.com and read about their online wills, etc. Willmaker is their big will product that is legal in every state for those with simple potential estates. Their tutorials alone are worth the money to better understand all about probate and how to stay out of it.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
DW is concerned that if she dies first, I may be in a weakened mental state
If she thinks that she must be reading your posts here

j/k and couldn’t resist.

I think there are three areas that need to be covered. Only one comes from the attorneys - will, trust, POA, health care directive. The second is documents that will help your executor or designee carry out their functions. Lists of assets, where they can be found, account statements, titles, Social Security card. Finally, your personal stuff. A list of anything of value you might have that’s not in the will. Instructions on what to do with your belongings and online accounts, along with a way to access them.

The executor or designee may find the moment overwhelming, so a simple “here’s what you need to do” will probably help.

Here’s a thread from the past on this topic members might find useful Wills & instructions for loved ones and here’s an even older one with some very good advice Aging parents - What to do?
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:16 PM   #8
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Do not go to Nolo or use any kind of inexperienced attorney or general practitioner attorney. You need to talk to an estate planning specialist as your situation is more complex. Using Nolo or similar is a great way for someone's wishes to not be followed at death. Most likely they will talk to you about an "A/B" trust. This sets up a trust to protect each other and then give the money to respective kid(s)/heir(s) at second death. In addition you'll need wills, POAs, health care decs, deed house to trust and a few other misc things. The fee will probably be between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on where you are located, experience of attorney, etc....
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Old 05-10-2019, 03:35 PM   #9
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What kind of assets do you have? What state do you live in? In some states, a Trust is required to eliminate the requirement for probate if the value is over $X. Do most of your accounts have beneficiaries designated? Do you want/need to appoint an executor? Without knowing the diversity and distribution of your assets, this is difficult to answer.

In general, though:
1) Will or Trust
2) Financial Power of Attorney (the when on this one is the difficult question)
3) DMV power of attorney (in some states, such as CA)
4) DNR / Advanced Medical Directive
5) Medical Power of Attorneys for each person

I just went through this with my mom last year. Having a Will (not professionally prepared) was enough to start probate so that I could sell her house. Since the house was over $X in value, and was not part of a trust, it had to go through probate. All non-probate assets transferrred with a little paperwork (IRAs, annuity, brokerage accounts). The Medical POA was crucial in allowing me to make end of life decisions when she was no longer capable. She had added me as a joint account holder on her savings and checking accounts, so transferring these were not a problem. I had been paying her bills electroncially using her checking account, so I did not have any cash flow issues in the end. The DMV POA allowed me to sell her car when she could no longer drive. The financial POA allowed me to list her house with a real estate agent (the house didn't sell before she died, and therefore, it had to go through probate).
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