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Old 07-30-2020, 04:22 PM   #41
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Here’s another reason to have a will.....

You are a very low income person with a net worth of $14.76. Everything you have is junk.

Your old school chum, Billionaire Bill, who you helped in your youth by teaching him about computers, dies on 9/4 leaving you $1,000,000 in appreciation of all you did for him in those early days. That million will be yours as soon as the executor can find you and write the check.

It’s now 9/10. On your way home from Bill’s funeral you plan on seeing a lawyer to have a will drawn up. You never make it. Alas, you fall down, hit your head on a granite statue of the town founder, and bleed out before the EMTs can arrive. DOA at the local hospital.

Who gets the million dollars Bill left you?
Cute story

Since Bill left it to you, and you are dead, then it goes to someone else in Bill's will as you died within 30 days of Bill, unless Bill included your stripes <sp?>

Same idea if you win a lottery after you die. ....
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:05 PM   #42
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^ If there is a 30 day survivorship clause either in the original will, or in state-law, then you having or not having a will will not make a difference in the outcome.

> Who gets the million dollars Bill left you?

I believe that it would be your next-of-kin as defined by your state's Intestacy laws if you actually inherit Bill's money.

-gauss
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:21 PM   #43
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If I were inclined NOT to do a will then I would check my state's Intestacy laws. This is the order of precedence on who (ie which family members) will legally inherit your assets that are not otherwise covered (ie joint ownership, beneficiary etc.).

If you have issues on who these default inheritors are, then you might want to have the will in place.

-gauss

In general intestate laws work by class if married the spouse gets all or 1/2 depending on the state and if children from earlier marriages are involved. Here is a website about Florida's law for an example. For single folks it is any descendants, then up to parents, then siblings, then grandparents. then aunts and uncles (or their descendants if not still living etc). Basically this is the way one would expect it to work. Note in the worst case the money might escheat to the unclaimed property office, which if one has the proper documentation would distribute if no second cousins are found. (beyond second cousins it would likely take a geneologist to figure out.
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:32 PM   #44
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These discussions are always head-scratchers for me. A will is such a simple thing and has the potential to prevent problems, I think the question is better stated as "Why should I not have a will?"
This seems so obvious to me. There is NO down side to having a will (except maybe $500)
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Old 07-30-2020, 05:44 PM   #45
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... (except maybe $500)
And as a percentage of the estate that is how much? Not much.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:07 PM   #46
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Dare I say: Nolo's Quicken Willmaker & Trust 2020 is available for a DIY'er for <$90. It is valid in all states. Pretty easy to DIY for a simple estate. For someone with no estate to speak of, that is more in line than $500. We did it for all of our estate planning. Comparing it to the screwups that MIL's papers were in, it is worlds ahead of the "professionally" prepared will and trusts of hers. I am, of course, not an attorney. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once. From my perspective, if one document references the other, at least the name of the other should be right. And any addendums should match the name of the original. Just saying...... When this was brought to his attention years later, the lawyer agreed it was wrong and changed her papers. When the bill was sent, we discussed his original screw up and he did the changes for free.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:52 PM   #47
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These discussions are always head-scratchers for me. A will is such a simple thing and has the potential to prevent problems, I think the question is better stated as "Why should I not have a will?"

It seems to me a liitle like Pascal's wager: It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not. Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God, just in case He does exist. It seems that there is little cost to bet that a will is needed and to prepare one, but potential high cost to believe that one is not needed and be found to be wrong.
Agree with this 100 %. The family will never regret that she made a will but they may regret she didn't.
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Old 07-30-2020, 07:23 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by gauss View Post
^ If there is a 30 day survivorship clause either in the original will, or in state-law, then you having or not having a will will not make a difference in the outcome.

> Who gets the million dollars Bill left you?

I believe that it would be your next-of-kin as defined by your state's Intestacy laws if you actually inherit Bill's money.

-gauss
I did not know about 30 day clauses. But, my pointy remains. Without a will if you come upon some unexpected money or property and then you die (after 30 days if necessary) the bounty may go to somebody you would never have given anything to under any circumstances. Yes, it's a bit of a crazy scenario, but not impossible.
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:45 PM   #49
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I did not know about 30 day clauses. But, my pointy remains. Without a will if you come upon some unexpected money or property and then you die (after 30 days if necessary) the bounty may go to somebody you would never have given anything to under any circumstances. Yes, it's a bit of a crazy scenario, but not impossible.
True, but it won't bother you...
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Old 08-04-2020, 04:34 PM   #50
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It may depends on your state.

In the State of California where I am from, California issue what is call "Probate Code". Here is an example of a link to the California Probate Code:

https://california.public.law/codes/...e_section_6400

Your state should have something similar and the probate should be online for the public to understand your state's probate code.

My Dad passed away first so the assets went to my Mom. When my Mom passed away, my brothers and I discovered that our Mom consulted an attorney who set up a "poor man's living trust for our Mom.

The title to her house was made in the oldest brother's name as an "Enhanced Life Estate Deed" which is called a Lady Bird Deed. Her savings/checking/IRA accounts were designated a "POD" or payable upon death accounts with a specific beneficiary.

Before we distributed the assets without probate, we hired an estate attorney for one hour consultation. The attorney stated that all of my Mom's assets should be outside Probate according to California law and because there were a named beneficiary.

However, the attorney stated something interesting: He asked: Is there a possibility of a dispute within the family which we stated "no". The attorney explained that "anything can be disputed" and usually this happens when the estate is a very large one or the survivors do not get along very well.

The attorney also stated another interest point: The survivors must publish a "death announcement" of the deceased in the newspaper to start the clock for any claims against the estate. After expiration, Probate court will disregard any claims against the estate.

In any case, i suggest that you look up the probate code in your state especially if the estate is a large one or if there is a potential for a dispute within the family. Never assume anything unless you read the probate code with your own eyes or consult an attorney. Also, some counties provide "free consultation" of a county estate attorney for the public on estate matters. I would look at the homepage of your county to determine if this free service is available to you.
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Will?
Old 08-04-2020, 05:21 PM   #51
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Will?

I went through this with my son’s death in Feb. each state has different laws. Below are a few things to consider.

1. Don’t assume the only death is going to be yours. If you, your wife and other relatives die at one time, your planned line of succession may not work.

2. A will only comes into play if you have to probate the estate.

3. If you own real property, most states require probate.

4. If you have no assets that exceed a state minimum, you can often do a Disposition without Administration or probate. This happens when you have effectively no money in the bank and minimal unsecured debt.


My advice: make sure you and your spouse have wills and they are coordinated.
If you should happen to have grandchildren, antD they are the only survivors of an accident, think about how you might want a trust structured and spell that out.
Be sure you include wording that meets legal requirements for access to all digital accounts like FB, iTunes, email, online bank accounts, etc.
Keep a password list up to date and somewhere someone you trust can find it.

Do you have things like hard drive encryption like Apple offers? if your survivors don’t have the password, data on that hard drive is gone. Read this again.

Pick your executor, build an instruction notebook and don’t assume he/she can just figure things out.

If you own property in more than one state, things just get more complicated.

If you plan to have a lawyer serve as an executor, consider a larger firm with a probate team. The team survives any individual.

Burial. Be specific and define what you want.

Ask a trusted relative or friend to review your plan and documentation, see if it makes sense to them. Is it a good roadmap?

If this sounds complicated, it can be. Read your states probate laws. It can be enlightening or terrifying. Keep your sense of humor as you do all this.
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Old 08-04-2020, 05:59 PM   #52
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Don't put your burrial directions in your will. You will be mouldering when the instructions are read.
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Old 08-05-2020, 05:48 AM   #53
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Friends father died. No will. All the investment accounts immediately transferred to beneficiaries. No real estate.

They were even able to sell a car titled in deceased name without a will.

I guess a will is officially needed to disperse physical property - but not sure I'd do it just for that if there's not a lot.
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Old 08-05-2020, 05:56 AM   #54
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Friends father died. No will. All the investment accounts immediately transferred to beneficiaries. No real estate.

They were even able to sell a car titled in deceased name without a will.

I guess a will is officially needed to disperse physical property - but not sure I'd do it just for that if there's not a lot.

Yes. I checked with estate expert and yes, no need for a Will if beneficiaries are designated in brokerage account and there are no other assets.

Thanks for all the responses!
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:50 AM   #55
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Even if a Will is not required due to TODs, PODs, Small Estate, beneficiaries, etc, a Will can be a good document to instruct the person(s) cleaning up after you as to what you wanted to go where. The Will doesn't need to go thru Probate to have value. If a Will is not required for probate, it can be as simple as a few words written by hand on paper. There is no need for a lawyer to write a Will, especially in this case.

In Illinois, a Small Estate is anything <$100,000. That is a lot of dough to be left for someone to decide where it goes without some instruction from you.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:36 AM   #56
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As said before, laws vary by state. There are DIY available online for minimal or no cost. Can be somewhat complex to understand your state regulations.

We have recently updated our:
Medical POA
Financial POA
Living Will Directive
Revocable Trust
Transfer On Death for FIDO and Credit Union accounts
TOD for paid off car title
Pour Over Will for what we missed and last wishes
No more life insurance
Clear discussions with our children, including a two page 'how to' resolve our estate.

Original documents placed in a safe deposit box that our children are authorized to access and know where the key is kept. A ridiculous $50/year.

The safe deposit box also contains:
Health, homeowner and auto insurance policies
credit card statements
FIDO and Credit Union account numbers
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Old 08-05-2020, 08:50 AM   #57
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Yes. I checked with estate expert and yes, no need for a Will if beneficiaries are designated in brokerage account and there are no other assets.

Thanks for all the responses!
So you finally found someone who would give you the answer you wanted. Might as well stop now.
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Old 08-05-2020, 10:59 AM   #58
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All of our real estate and motor vehicles are jointly owned with TOD to our 2 kids 50/50. This is allowed in Texas and very easy to set up. Likewise, all of our financial assets are either jointly owned with TOD to the kids, or individually owned with spouse as primary and kids as 50/50 contingent. Also in Texas, personal effects and household goods can be informally divided by surviving family if that's all that's left in the estate.

So when one of us goes, the survivor gets everything. When the survivor goes, the kids get anything that's left, 50/50. All this happens seamlessly, outside of probate. So theoretically, no will is required.

However, DW and I each have wills, including living will, durable POA, and other documents that we did several years ago on LegalZoom. Obviously, the living will and durable POA are extremely important. The will itself is just there in case something unforeseen happens. In all likelihood, it won't ever be used for anything.

I'm quite comfortable with this set-up. We recently went through this when DFIL died and everything transferred very smoothly. His will was not needed for anything. But also, our situation is very straightforward with adult children, no divorces, no complicated assets or family scenarios. I would not hesitate to seek professional assistance for a more complicated situation, or if we lived in a state with no TOD for real estate.
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:06 AM   #59
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Don't put your burrial directions in your will. You will be mouldering when the instructions are read.

Actually for this the best route would be to prepay the burial (typically this is done by an insurance policy or trust with a funeral home as the beneficiary)
(Plus it means that survivors will not have to sign a guarantee for funeral costs, otherwise a living person has to sign for the costs incase the estate does not have the funds to pay, and as I understand it a prepaid funeral does not count as an asset for medicaid purposes.)
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Old 08-05-2020, 01:18 PM   #60
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So you finally found someone who would give you the answer you wanted. Might as well stop now.



no, not really, but it's pretty straightforward. Her assets are accounted for. My siblings and I are not exactly going to fight for "the dresser thats 50 years old"
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