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Old 09-30-11, 07:37 AM   #1
bikebuddha 
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Wills Estates and Trusts

[soapbox] If you have assets, or if you have children please get some kind of testamentary device. I just got off the phone with a friend who is neck deep in a case where a single mother (widow) died intestate and now the two sides of the family are fighting over every single aspect of the estate. There are two young kids and a sizeable amount of assets and yet she didn't have a will and now courts will decide how her assets are divided and who will get custody of the kids.

So please don't let this happen to you. If you're worried about the costs in many states do it yourself wills are perfectly valid.[/soapbox]
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Old 09-30-11, 07:40 AM   #2
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Yeah, I don't have any money, but am sort of nervous we haven't made any arrangements for our daughter if something happens. Need to get on that.
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Old 09-30-11, 10:24 AM   #3
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I have a trust set up. I also set up medical power of attorney and included my wishes on things like how long to leave me on life support, I want to be cremated instead of buried, etc.
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Old 09-30-11, 11:35 AM   #4
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I've got nothing worth fighting over but my bikes... and no one in my family would want them.
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Old 09-30-11, 12:16 PM   #5
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I advocate that pretty much everyone should have the following documents:

A will or trust
A durable power of attorney for finances
A durable power of attorney for healthcare
A living will/advance directive/POLST
Instructions to your family on what to do when you die

I am especially enthused about the durable powers of attorney, since you can become temporarily or permanently disabled years before you actually die.

Just be aware that a lot of the power of attorney forms you can download from the Internet are for financial matters only, and do not apply to healthcare. If you want someone else to be able to make your healthcare decisions for you, you need a document specifically saying so. As a healthcare risk manager, I have to tell a lot of people that they have no legal rights to make healthcare decisions on behalf of whomever, because the power of attorney that they have is not for healthcare. This means that the closest surviving relative may be the one making the decisions, and it could be the last person that the patient would have wanted.
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Old 09-30-11, 12:18 PM   #6
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My will is simple. My home (the only thing of real value I own) is to be folded into the family farm so that it will increase its road frontage and therefore its value. The farm will go to my youngest nephew, the middle nephew will be inheriting his mother's home, and the eldest is getting his grandmother's estate.
The rest of my possessions are to be distributed between my 3 nephews. I have an agreement with them, pick what they want and ebay the rest.
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Old 09-30-11, 01:18 PM   #7
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My will is simple. My home (the only thing of real value I own) is to be folded into the family farm so that it will increase its road frontage and therefore its value. The farm will go to my youngest nephew, the middle nephew will be inheriting his mother's home, and the eldest is getting his grandmother's estate.
The rest of my possessions are to be distributed between my 3 nephews. I have an agreement with them, pick what they want and ebay the rest.
may I suggest that you place your property in a trust. That will ease the tax burden on your nephew. It will not cost much to create this type of trust, and many states have things called "wealth preservation trusts" which allow in state business intrests to pass along tax free. For something like a family farm, the tax burden at end of probate could be substantial, so a trust could make the difference between having to sell the farm and maintaining it.
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Old 09-30-11, 01:33 PM   #8
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Old 09-30-11, 01:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
My will is simple. My home (the only thing of real value I own) is to be folded into the family farm so that it will increase its road frontage and therefore its value. The farm will go to my youngest nephew, the middle nephew will be inheriting his mother's home, and the eldest is getting his grandmother's estate.
The rest of my possessions are to be distributed between my 3 nephews. I have an agreement with them, pick what they want and ebay the rest.
Is it too late to tell you that I'm your long lost nephew?
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Old 09-30-11, 01:43 PM   #10
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Is it too late to tell you that I'm your long lost nephew?
You should really talk to my sister about that.
Oh, and the downside is someone has to take care of my dogs too.
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Old 09-30-11, 02:04 PM   #11
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One thing I've always wondered is where you're supposed to put these documents.

No one is going to sift through all of my stuff until I'm dead (if then), so if I want my last dying breaths to be used eating my own heart, to be cremated on a tire fire, and for my left shoes to go to Goodwill while my right shoes go to Salvation Army, who is going to know?
My sibling who is the executor and my daughter know where I keep my documents. My dad used to keep his important papers in the freezer; he said if the house burned down they would still be able to find them.
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Old 09-30-11, 02:11 PM   #12
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One thing I've always wondered is where you're supposed to put these documents.

No one is going to sift through all of my stuff until I'm dead (if then), so if I want my last dying breaths to be used eating my own heart, to be cremated on a tire fire, and for my left shoes to go to Goodwill while my right shoes go to Salvation Army, who is going to know?
You have a few options:

Safe deposit box at the bank; your executor or family is on the list as having access

A small fire safe that you keep at home

You give copies of the documents in advance to the people who would carry them out. Put them in a sealed envelope, sign it across the seal and ask them to not open the envelope until necessary.

Scan the signed documents and email them to people or save them in the cloud. As an example, copies of our signed will, advanced directive and powers of attorney for finance and healthcare are saved in Google Docs and our Gmail. If we were traveling for example, and got into an accident and needed to produce a power of attorney for healthcare for the hospital, we could download and print them.
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Old 09-30-11, 02:29 PM   #13
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My Dad dealt with stuff like that when he worked, and aside from being extremely boring to the rest of us it was extremely valuable to the heirs. Maybe even valuable enough for some of you to mention me in your will for mentioning it here.
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Old 09-30-11, 02:40 PM   #14
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My Dad dealt with stuff like that when he worked, and aside from being extremely boring to the rest of us it was extremely valuable to the heirs. Maybe even valuable enough for some of you to mention me in your will for mentioning it here.
as a matter of fact, I did mention you (and the rest of foo) in my will.

To all of the members of the foo forum at bikeforums.net, I leave nothing. "You will have nothing and like it!"
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Old 09-30-11, 05:51 PM   #15
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as a matter of fact, I did mention you (and the rest of foo) in my will.

To all of the members of the foo forum at bikeforums.net, I leave nothing. "You will have nothing and like it!"
With attorneys fees, taxes and filing fees we're going to have to take up a collection to end up at nothing!
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Old 09-30-11, 06:43 PM   #16
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My parents have stated that anything not specifically given to somebody that gets argued about is to be sold at auction.
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Old 09-30-11, 09:11 PM   #17
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Important thread!!

My wife and I just finally drew up wills after meaning to get around to it for years... we haven't got much, and no kids yet, but it's still a good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MillCreek View Post
You have a few options:

Safe deposit box at the bank; your executor or family is on the list as having access

A small fire safe that you keep at home

You give copies of the documents in advance to the people who would carry them out. Put them in a sealed envelope, sign it across the seal and ask them to not open the envelope until necessary.

Scan the signed documents and email them to people or save them in the cloud. As an example, copies of our signed will, advanced directive and powers of attorney for finance and healthcare are saved in Google Docs and our Gmail. If we were traveling for example, and got into an accident and needed to produce a power of attorney for healthcare for the hospital, we could download and print them.

The 'where to keep it' issue is a bigger one than you'd think...we meant to get a safe deposit box, for the wills but also things like birth/marriage certificates, etc. And if we buy a home (which we probably will very soon) we'd keep copies of those documents there.

However, we were advised by bank personal NOT to keep wills in there - if you only have one beneficiary and they are on your box access list that might be fine, but the bank claimed if there are a couple or more heirs, there can be major disputes over who gets access to the will, etc. In some cases, your will could be 'lost' if no one can access the safe deposit box.

Btw, if you have a relatively simple estate, I believe you can do your own will for dirt cheap (under $100, supposedly) pretty easily online these days (Legalzoom, etc)...we wound up spending a little more and threw some work to a friend who is an attorney, and I was glad as he gave some good advice re: not making too many copies of the will, to limit access and any potential tampering and other claims/hassles.

I think MillCreek's advice is very prudent - pick a reliable trustworthy executor and give them a copy and/or explicit instructions re: where to find the actual docs in the event of your demise.

Btw - my wife was my own primary beneficiary, and even though we have no kids yet, naming my one nephew as my back-up heir (in case my wife and i buy the farm simultaneously) was a no-brainer, but it gets more involved than that - we added language in there in the unlikely (but possible) event that my wife and I perish while visiting him (car accident, etc.) with a third beneficiary - I had no other close family, so I just chose a charity I care about. I just mention this in case you are gearing up to do this - put some thought into who will be your executor, but also your beneficiaries.
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Old 09-30-11, 09:21 PM   #18
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I've already been cremated, so I don't have to worry about that when I die.
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Old 09-30-11, 09:34 PM   #19
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I live a simple life, so this'll probably suit my needs well enough. I suppose I should own a fire safe anyway. Throw some important documents in there, make a copy of each, seal them in an envelope, give it to my dad.

Thanks guys & gals.

In the wake of 9/11 and other assorted nastiness, the importance of a disaster plan/"go bag"/I.C.E. info and so forth has really come to the fore - a fire proof 'black box' is a great idea for every home. We need one here, as well...My Dad had an asbestos-lined steel box for his important documents (It had the little tricolor logo for Pittsburgh Steel, like the football team) and I foolishly tossed it after he passed, b/c the key was missing....it would still have provided some document protection.
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Old 09-30-11, 10:12 PM   #20
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Old 10-01-11, 12:04 AM   #21
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