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Is there a need for a Will?
Old 07-28-2020, 06:34 PM   #1
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Is there a need for a Will?

Not sure this is the right forum.




I've recently read articles online that say a Will is a necessity, but those articles are usually written by attorneys who I suspect are just looking for business, but I figured I'd put the question out here to be sure.


Here's the situation:
My mom is 81years old and her only assets are her two accounts at Schwab ( IRA and a personal account). Both accounts have designated beneficiaries. Is there any need for a Will? All the research I've done indicates designated beneficiaries supersede anything stipulated in a Will so my thinking is what is the point?
Any thoughts/input is appreciated.
Thank you.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:43 PM   #2
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A few years ago, we went and had an estate package put together for both of us. It included POA for finances and for health care. One of the minor things was a "pour over"will.
All our accounts have beneficiary designations. I believe the pour over will takes care of the disposition of minor things, like house goods, etc.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:44 PM   #3
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I agree, but would recommend checking the state where she resides and their specific laws, just to be sure.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:45 PM   #4
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Nor sure if it varies by state laws. Here in Maryland, beneficiaries are in force before wills are even considered. Knew a guy who never updated his beneficiary after a divorce and when he passed away, money went to the ex-wife instead of the surviving kids.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:50 PM   #5
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After going thru multiple probates, I've learn that most financial asset transfers can be accomplished with simple POD's. Example if all assets are in a few bank accounts a simple POD for each account is all's that needed... After that things start getting more complicated. At least here in Texas.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:11 PM   #6
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My thoughts:

1. It is perilous to seek legal advice from strangers on the street, let alone anonymous ones on the Internet.

2. If you needed heart surgery, would you hire your plumber just to save a few bucks? Basic estate planning documents for most folks (will, POA, health directive, etc.) aren’t that expensive. Are you willing to run a risk merely to save a few hundred bucks or so? Lawyers serve important societal roles; end of life considerations like this are one such time, in my view.

3. Your family will sleep better at night if you know these matters were done right. It also does honor to your Mother.

4. There may be state law considerations here, as others have noted. There likely are. We have moved several times over the course of our lives; each time we moved, we had a local lawyer update our estate planning documents. Federal laws change, too, of course. Estate planning documents should probably be refreshed from time to time for these reasons, as well as to account for life changes (children reaching adulthood, etc.).

5. There is nothing wrong with a lawyer advertising for, or otherwise seeking, business. Heck, lawyer advertising is also separately regulated by each state’s bar. Don’t people in other professions or jobs do the same daily? Aren’t we all fortunate that the company we work for is out there trying to sell widgets, thereby enabling our retirement plan contributions? Why is that selling “good” but not in this context?

Most people dislike lawyers until they need one, typically belatedly or when it is otherwise too late. I never understood that. I always instead viewed legal services as a form of insurance for aspects of one’s life.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by WyomingLife View Post
My thoughts:

1. It is perilous to seek legal advice from strangers on the street, let alone anonymous ones on the Internet.

2. If you needed heart surgery, would you hire your plumber just to save a few bucks? Basic estate planning documents for most folks (will, POA, health directive, etc.) aren’t that expensive. Are you willing to run a risk merely to save a few hundred bucks or so? Lawyers serve important societal roles; end of life considerations like this are one such time, in my view.

3. Your family will sleep better at night if you know these matters were done right. It also does honor to your Mother.

4. There may be state law considerations here, as others have noted. There likely are. We have moved several times over the course of our lives; each time we moved, we had a local lawyer update our estate planning documents. Federal laws change, too, of course. Estate planning documents should probably be refreshed from time to time for these reasons, as well as to account for life changes (children reaching adulthood, etc.).

5. There is nothing wrong with a lawyer advertising for, or otherwise seeking, business. Heck, lawyer advertising is also separately regulated by each state’s bar. Don’t people in other professions or jobs do the same daily? Aren’t we all fortunate that the company we work for is out there trying to sell widgets, thereby enabling our retirement plan contributions? Why is that selling “good” but not in this context?

Most people dislike lawyers until they need one, typically belatedly or when it is otherwise too late. I never understood that. I always instead viewed legal services as a form of insurance for aspects of one’s life.

Actually when I had questions about a Roth conversion for me on this board I received a much more through explanation than I did from my accountant so I feel like with certain topics this board is excellent. And financial advisors are considered "experts " that people pay money for and much of their advice I feel is not helpful either so I disagree with your premise.


I am POA as well as her health care proxy.



And a lawyer advertising for his/her business is one thing, but when it's wrapped up in a "you need this" article it's a bit slimy.


One person on here mentioned state laws and I've looked and her state, NY, stipulates what I thought, that designated beneficiaries do supersede anything in a Will. I knew that , but it was reassuring to double check.


Thank you all.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FREE866 View Post
Not sure this is the right forum.




I've recently read articles online that say a Will is a necessity, but those articles are usually written by attorneys who I suspect are just looking for business, but I figured I'd put the question out here to be sure.


Here's the situation:
My mom is 81years old and her only assets are her two accounts at Schwab ( IRA and a personal account). Both accounts have designated beneficiaries. Is there any need for a Will? All the research I've done indicates designated beneficiaries supersede anything stipulated in a Will so my thinking is what is the point?
Any thoughts/input is appreciated.
Thank you.
Estimate how what assets would be dealt with in the will. If less than 50k or so than a probating a will would b excessive and the less formal transfer mechanisms provided for by a state would work. Look up the small estate process in your state . Tyically this just requires filing an affidavit with a court, if there is no real estate involved. Does she have a checking account other than with schwab, then a beneficiary designation might make sense. I suspect that if the amount is small a lawyer might tell you that it is not worth probating the will.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by meierlde View Post
Estimate how what assets would be dealt with in the will. If less than 50k or so than a probating a will would b excessive and the less formal transfer mechanisms provided for by a state would work. Look up the small estate process in your state . Tyically this just requires filing an affidavit with a court, if there is no real estate involved. Does she have a checking account other than with schwab, then a beneficiary designation might make sense. I suspect that if the amount is small a lawyer might tell you that it is not worth probating the will.

there is no "estate". There is no real estate. No car. No expensive items. As stated she has the 2 Schwab accounts with designated beneficiaries.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Souschef View Post
A few years ago, we went and had an estate package put together for both of us. It included POA for finances and for health care. One of the minor things was a "pour over"will.
All our accounts have beneficiary designations. I believe the pour over will takes care of the disposition of minor things, like house goods, etc.
We have already earmarked who gets what as far as household goods. And guess what,..... nobody wants any of it. We have already given family heirlooms out (some didn't even want them!) and the rest is just an estate sale.


All the financial stuff is also either TOD or beneficiary designated.

We may be early, but with the CCP19 looming and us in our 70's, it may not be too early.
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Old 07-28-2020, 07:46 PM   #11
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We have already earmarked who gets what as far as household goods. And guess what,..... nobody wants any of it. We have already given family heirlooms out (some didn't even want them!) and the rest is just an estate sale.






Same here
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by FREE866 View Post
there is no "estate". There is no real estate. No car. No expensive items. As stated she has the 2 Schwab accounts with designated beneficiaries.
Guardian designations of minor children is what I would worry about first with a will. At 81, probably not a problem.

Titled assets such as cars, real estate, snowmobiles, etc. would be what I would worry about second. You said there are none.

Household goods technically would pass via her will, but I would have to imagine if there's not really any valuable stuff like jewelry or other heirloom items that her potential heirs could fight over, then that's probably not a problem either.

My Dad has a will, but because everything major that he owns has beneficiaries or TOD on it or is in a trust, I'm pretty sure we're not even going to need to do probate. We should, by my reading, be able to do the small estate process as alluded to by someone up thread. Faster, easier, simpler, cheaper.
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Old 07-28-2020, 10:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FREE866 View Post
Not sure this is the right forum.




I've recently read articles online that say a Will is a necessity, but those articles are usually written by attorneys who I suspect are just looking for business, but I figured I'd put the question out here to be sure.


Here's the situation:
My mom is 81years old and her only assets are her two accounts at Schwab ( IRA and a personal account). Both accounts have designated beneficiaries. Is there any need for a Will? All the research I've done indicates designated beneficiaries supersede anything stipulated in a Will so my thinking is what is the point?
Any thoughts/input is appreciated.
Thank you.
Having settled two estates for elderly relatives (both 90s), I think you are on the right track. If her only assets are a Schwab IRA and Schwab taxable account and they both have designated beneficiaries, I don't see any need for a will.

As someone commented, there is no estate.

Does she have a car? Checking or savings accounts? Credit cards?
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Old 07-29-2020, 05:34 AM   #14
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Having settled two estates for elderly relatives (both 90s), I think you are on the right track. If her only assets are a Schwab IRA and Schwab taxable account and they both have designated beneficiaries, I don't see any need for a will.

As someone commented, there is no estate.

Does she have a car? Checking or savings accounts? Credit cards?

no car.
has a small joint checking account with my brother. Forgot to mention that
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:41 AM   #15
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Doesn't sound like she needs a will.

Before my DF died, I had him set everything up with POD, TOD (including his house). Most of the household furniture, etc was given away or thrown away. He had a will, but we didn't use it.

Currently, all of our stuff is TOD, POD, etc and as of right now wouldn't require probate. We have a will anyway, just to be safe.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:00 PM   #16
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A very common statement on a lawyer's web site is "If you don't have a will, the state will decide who receives your property." This is true enough. Every state has an intestacy statute that specifies who is to receive assets of the decedent if she did not have a valid will. But these web sites don't mention that those statutes all provide for roughly the standard, ordinary, and expected distributions: spouse, children, parents, siblings, cousins in that order.

Many people who have made the alternative arrangements for bank accounts, investments, real estate, etc. don't need to disturb that in the event of an unexpected inheritance or winning lottery ticket, or something overlooked. But some do. If a person is estranged from a son or a sister, a will is the way to ensure that that person does not receive a windfall that was not intended.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:05 PM   #17
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A will is likely not necessary in this case.

Often, in my professional experience, a poorly drafted will makes things worse than having no will.

Only low budget attorneys would encourage a will for personal profit as wills do not tend to cost a lot. However, trusts are often valuable. Not needed for you as long as mom dies first and easy access to money not needed if mom becomes incapable of handling her finances.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:11 PM   #18
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A will can take care of anything overlooked. Also, if there is a challenge on beneficiary designations a will can take care of that. A will isn't expensive if you keep it short, the lawfirm will have the witnesses you need.
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Old 07-29-2020, 01:20 PM   #19
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Yes bc you will forget something. Or your mom's relatives estate wasn't done right and now she surprise own a share of real estate. Happened to a friend. Grandma's estate probated, her will etc done wrong. Friends dad died unexpectantly. New assets show up. PITA
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Old 07-29-2020, 02:05 PM   #20
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For others who feel they have the same problem as the OP, please note that the OP's mom has name beneficiaries and I assume the OP has confirmed they are current. But, assume is one of the most dangerous words in the world.

Beneficiary designations trump a will or the lack of a will. I have a friend who way back in the 1970's was made $50,000 richer because her very soon-to-be ex-husband did not bother to change his beneficiary designation. $50,000 then is about $250,000 today. Not exactly chump change.
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