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Not doing a will question
Old 01-28-2021, 08:18 AM   #1
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Not doing a will question

I'm single and 55 with no family and I am retired. 63% of my money is in a non retirement mutual fund at Vanguard(the rest of my net worth is in tIRAs and Roth IRAs). Can I just name a beneficiary on that non retirement account and not do a will or would it not be very smart to do it that way? I really dont have any interest in doing a will at this time. If I go the way of naming a beneficiary on the Vanguard non retirement mutual fund would it be easy to change the beneficiary if I ever got married,etc?

Thank you for any help.
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:31 AM   #2
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Yes you can choose not to create a will. Then the state you live in will determine who gets your remaining assets (personal property, house, vehicles, and so on).

If you prefer to decide who gets your stuff then you need a will or trust to provide the direction.
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:37 AM   #3
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Yes you can choose not to create a will. Then the state you live in will determine who gets your remaining assets (personal property, house, vehicles, and so on).

If you prefer to decide who gets your stuff then you need a will or trust to provide the direction.
I dont care about the personal property. I'm a renter who doesnt have valuable property or things.
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:40 AM   #4
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I dont care about the personal property. I'm a renter who doesnt have valuable property or things.
But is there some aversion? Easy to do a simple will. You do not need an attorney.
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:45 AM   #5
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You could just have beneficiary designations for you mutual fund account, tIRA and Roth IRA and declare victory.

Presumably you also have a bank account that you use to pay your bills. A car? That is why people who have trusts use "spillover" wills... to cover off anything not covered by the trusts... in your case to cover off anything not covered by beneficiary designations.

You could buy Willmaker and do a simple will and other estate planning documents (medical directive, etc)... cost would be negligible.
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Old 01-28-2021, 08:53 AM   #6
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That's exactly how I had things set up till about a year ago. Named beneficiaries and "Transfer on Death" assignments. Then it occurred to me, that no matter how or where I die there are still little bits of business and loose ends that will need attention. Who is the POC to notify if I die? Who has authority to make all the notifications of people listed in the will? Who disposes of all my other stuff no matter how little it might be at the time? Did I really want an apartment manager to go through my stuff and impound my car? If money was indeed ALL I had then the transfer on death and beneficiary assignments would suffice. So I made out a will naming a bank Estate & Trust department as executor.
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:01 AM   #7
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Thanx for your helpful responses. Cost is really why I have no interest in a will, I am a tightwad. Plus all I care about or have is money. My car is 24 years old. When I get a newer car I could care less who it might end up with. I did look up 2 weeks ago about doing a will and I did see some cheap options.

This AM I got a yearly email from Vanguard about setting up a beneficiary for my IRA so I clicked on the link to check it out and I read some of the info on the non retirement beneficiary option as well.
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:03 AM   #8
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Yeah, I would do a will. Lots of easy forms and software out there to easily address your situation.

Fellow tightwad.
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Old 01-28-2021, 09:52 AM   #9
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"If you cannot afford a will, one will be assigned to you..." Methinks you should do one.

States are very squared away about this. Back in the day, if the state of NC for example couldnt figure out who was going to inherit, every penny went to UNC-CHapel Hill or so I was taught. Hooray for a larger stadium snackbar!
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:30 AM   #10
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As a fellow "tightwad" ( I usually say "cheapskate.") I have occasionally avoided a cost and eventually incurred a bigger cost, financial or emotional. IOW, being cheap caused me to make a bad decision.

As I see it, there is potential downside to not having a will, then also being dead and unable to deal with the downside. I see no downside (other than a trivial cost) to having a will.

So it seems to me that the decision should be easy.
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Old 01-28-2021, 10:57 AM   #11
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Thanx for your helpful responses. Cost is really why I have no interest in a will, I am a tightwad. Plus all I care about or have is money. My car is 24 years old. When I get a newer car I could care less who it might end up with. I did look up 2 weeks ago about doing a will and I did see some cheap options.

This AM I got a yearly email from Vanguard about setting up a beneficiary for my IRA so I clicked on the link to check it out and I read some of the info on the non retirement beneficiary option as well.
These states allow vehicles to be transferred on death of the owner to a named beneficiary:

https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo...m-vehicle.html

(would everyone please update your location to at least include the state if you are in the U.S.)
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:01 AM   #12
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Thanx for your helpful responses. Cost is really why I have no interest in a will, I am a tightwad. Plus all I care about or have is money. My car is 24 years old. When I get a newer car I could care less who it might end up with. I did look up 2 weeks ago about doing a will and I did see some cheap options.

This AM I got a yearly email from Vanguard about setting up a beneficiary for my IRA so I clicked on the link to check it out and I read some of the info on the non retirement beneficiary option as well.
The will can make it a little easier for whoever has to settle your estate. I assume since you have beneficiaries, there is some sort of family...so making a simple "pour over" will makes it easier to sell your car. If you died today, someone would still need to do probate and that is time and money. A pour over will makes that simple. Of course, they could just "sign" your name on the title, but that's illegal.
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:23 AM   #13
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As the late great Bruce Williams used to say, "the cheapest solution is not always the least expensive".

Good advice for tightwads and cheapskates.
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:48 AM   #14
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In my opinion every one should have a Will but even more important than a Will is a financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. This is especially important for the OP who is single and has no family. The OP needs to name someone to make financial decisions and health care decisions for him or her in the event they cannot make those decisions for themselves, for example they have been a a bad car accident or had a stroke. In many states if you do not have a financial power of attorney and you cannot make your own decisions the court appoints a guardian for you and if you do not have a health care power of attorney a hospital may be required to keep you alive even if you are in a vegetative state. It would be much better for the OP to choose who they want to make decisions for them.
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:53 AM   #15
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These states allow vehicles to be transferred on death of the owner to a named beneficiary:
Agreed that transfer-on-death (TOD) and/or payable-on-death (POD) registrations are available in some states for titling brokerage accounts and bank accounts.

The terminology is a bit different than "beneficiary" which does not apply to traditional after tax accounts, but the end result is similar.

The named person can claim the asset with appropriate ID, a death certificate and a completed claim forms. Probate would not be required to claim these particular assets.

I believe that it would be good for the TOD/POD person to know that they are named to claim so that they can approach the institution to claim the asset.

-gauss
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Old 01-28-2021, 11:59 AM   #16
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Ok I hear ya'll loud and clear. Bottom line for me is this, is it ok if I go ahead and do the beneficiary for the vanguard non retirement mutual fund now without doing a will? At least I'd have the money covered if I die? I dont plan on doing a will at this time.

I did just now name my beneficiary for my IRAs and 403b. But that still leaves most of my money without a beneficiary. Not sure why a person is expected to do a beneficiary for an IRA if that person also has a will.

Do most banks allow you to do a beneficiary for a checking account? I'll look into that. I have less than 1% of my money in there.
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Old 01-28-2021, 12:39 PM   #17
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I did just now name my beneficiary for my IRAs and 403b. But that still leaves most of my money without a beneficiary. Not sure why a person is expected to do a beneficiary for an IRA if that person also has a will.
The will would require probate, but the beneficiary would bypass probate.

It is generally not a requirement to name a beneficiary.

The IRA document would define who would receive your funds if you were to die without naming a beneficiary -- in nearly all cases it would be your 'Estate' which would in general require probate.

Probate varies on a state by state basis. In some states it can be fairly inexpensive and easy. In others it can be expensive and involved.

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Do most banks allow you to do a beneficiary for a checking account? I'll look into that. I have less than 1% of my money in there]
Not sure about that, but if they say 'No' to beneficiary, then I would be sure to ask the follow up question about titling the account with a POD or TOD.

-gauss
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Old 01-28-2021, 12:59 PM   #18
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My local hospital, which is associated with my primary care provider, helped me create a Power of Attorney for Health Care for free. Their process asked good, thought provoking questions about end of life care and now my choices are on file with them. I named my sister as my PoA for HC, but they must have options when you do not have someone who can fill that role. The OP can check with their PCP's office to see if they have something similar.

Regarding having a will versus naming beneficiaries directly, I am in the process of creating a will myself. I happen to have legal insurance through an optional employer plan, so I'm using a local attorney. I do have relatives, but I do not wish to leave my entire estate to them, so I plan to do some charitable giving. According to my attorney, if I leave my tax deferred assets to charity, they don't have to pay the deferred income tax on them, so that's going to be my high level approach, at least for my first crack at this.
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Old 01-28-2021, 02:09 PM   #19
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Not sure why a person is expected to do a beneficiary for an IRA if that person also has a will.
Do some research what happens tax-wise to an IRA without beneficiaries as opposed to one with. If you don't care, then I sure don't. Better for the rest of us if someone pays more taxes than they need to.
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Old 01-28-2021, 02:30 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Digger1000 View Post
I'm single and 55 with no family and I am retired. 63% of my money is in a non retirement mutual fund at Vanguard(the rest of my net worth is in tIRAs and Roth IRAs). Can I just name a beneficiary on that non retirement account and not do a will or would it not be very smart to do it that way? I really dont have any interest in doing a will at this time. If I go the way of naming a beneficiary on the Vanguard non retirement mutual fund would it be easy to change the beneficiary if I ever got married,etc?

Thank you for any help.
Everybody has a will, whether they know it or not. The only question is did you make up the will, or is it the one your state has made up in case you die intestate.

I remember a lawyer reading part of California's will for its intestate past citizens. It said something to the effect of "Since I so very greatly appreciate what the great state of California has done for me, I direct the executor to not take any actions that might minimize the taxes or fees paid to the state of California during the disposition of my assets". How nice.
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