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when to get a will

Home Estate Planning when to get a will

  • Avatar bean1970 
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    So the answer to this is easy of course if there are dependents involved, particularly to appoint guardians for minor children.  If there are no dependents (spouse or kids), at what net worth do you think it makes sense to get a will?   any positive net worth?  keep googling what my state does with intestate deaths?

    #163578 Reply
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
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    I think everyone should have a will that will distribute any assets how they see fit. If you don’t have any dependents, your will should be pretty easy and straight forward. Hopefully, it should be straight forward even if you do have dependents.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #163581 Reply
    Avatar bean1970 
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    I think everyone should have a will that will distribute any assets how they see fit. If you don’t have any dependents, your will should be pretty easy and straight forward. Hopefully, it should be straight forward even if you do have dependents.

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    that was my thought but it just seems odd to get my 19yo a will.  i did all his other documents when he went to college (financial POA, health care stuff, etc), but as i was crunching some numbers for his taxes i think he should have a will.

    #163585 Reply
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
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    that was my thought but it just seems odd to get my 19yo a will. i did all his other documents when he went to college (financial POA, health care stuff, etc), but as i was crunching some numbers for his taxes i think he should have a will.

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    I think you could get by with a very simple document for him. If you wanted a template, I’m sure LegalZoom, etc. probably has one for fairly cheap that will do what it needs to do.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #163586 Reply
    Avatar Larry Ragman 
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    While I think CordMcNally is philosophically correct, there is a practical side of this. In Maryland for example I would argue the answer is $50k. That is the threshold between small estate and large estate. In the former case even with no will assets are easily divided and no court involvement is necessary. In the latter case the court supervises probate regardless, so one really needs a will unless truly willing to allow a court to distribute the estate assets. But I suspect the rules are sufficiently different in each state that the default should be to get a will as soon as asset accumulation begins.

    #163587 Reply
    Avatar G 
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    Can a judge/attorney ever have too much paperwork?

    My library has “Quicken Willmaker” complete with the CD-ROM.  It guides you through a standardized form.  Also has health care proxy stuff, POA, etc.

    Print ‘er out and get notarized/witnessed and I would imagine you should be good to go!

    #163590 Reply
    Avatar bean1970 
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    While I think CordMcNally is philosophically correct, there is a practical side of this. In Maryland for example I would argue the answer is $50k. That is the threshold between small estate and large estate. In the former case even with no will assets are easily divided and no court involvement is necessary. In the latter case the court supervises probate regardless, so one really needs a will unless truly willing to allow a court to distribute the estate assets. But I suspect the rules are sufficiently different in each state that the default should be to get a will as soon as asset accumulation begins.

    Click to expand…

    i’m in FL. The rules are if you die with parents, but no spouse or descendants….the parents inherit everything.  I guess i would just need to see if my kid wants us to get is assets or his other option would be charity. if the later he would totally need a will to make that happen.  my other hunch he would leave everything to my mother. they are really close, but he would need a plan B because she’s in her 70s. (until he would need to update it anyways if married, etc).

    i’m not expecting any of this, but i am mid process of updating my MIL revocable trust and will so maybe i can get the lawyer to give me a package deal with throwing in my kid’s document.

    #163591 Reply
    Avatar Larry Ragman 
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    You are overthinking. Just take him in to get one or do it online. It is a good financial habit regardless. ?

    #163592 Reply
    Liked by Hank
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
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    Yes, everyone with children needs a LWT. But even those without should want to avoid having the courts decide what happens to your “stuff” and to name an executor to handle your “stuff”. For example, one of our clients is estranged from his parents and siblings and does not want them to be involved in his estate at all in the event of his death.

    Agree it’s very important to know state law and to understand it varies from state to state. Docs who move should determine if they need to update their LWT’s. For many very basic clients, I direct them to Quicken Willmaker+ and then I review the docs before they are finalized. Remember that you can always update your LWT as your situation changes and becomes more complex. You just need something to reflect your wishes and give instructions in the event of your demise.

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ 270-247-0555
    https://fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only/

    #163629 Reply
    Avatar G 
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    Splash Refinancing Bonus

    Yes, everyone with children needs a LWT. But even those without should want to avoid having the courts decide what happens to your “stuff” and to name an executor to handle your “stuff”. For example, one of our clients is estranged from his parents and siblings and does not want them to be involved in his estate at all in the event of his death.

    Agree it’s very important to know state law and to understand it varies from state to state. Docs who move should determine if they need to update their LWT’s. For many very basic clients, I direct them to Quicken Willmaker+ and then I review the docs before they are finalized. Remember that you can always update your LWT as your situation changes and becomes more complex. You just need something to reflect your wishes and give instructions in the event of your demise.

    Click to expand…
    i’m not expecting any of this, but i am mid process of updating my MIL revocable trust and will so maybe i can get the lawyer to give me a package deal with throwing in my kid’s document.

    Click to expand…

    Johanna, I believe OP was asking if his/her 19 yo college kid needed a will.  Bean, perhaps your lawyer will give you a discount…but I suspect your kid has better ideas for any money you might otherwise pay to have a will drafted.  Over winter break, send him to the library to check out Willmaker!

    #163652 Reply
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
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    Johanna, I believe OP was asking if his/her 19 yo college kid needed a will.  Bean, perhaps your lawyer will give you a discount…but I suspect your kid has better ideas for any money you might otherwise pay to have a will drafted.  Over winter break, send him to the library to check out Willmaker!

    Click to expand…

    Yeah, I understood that, and agree with you it’s probably not an issue in this case, but also posting for the general forum pop. It’s really no problem for a parent to help a kid with a DIY online will, probably a good exercise. We actually have an 18-y.o. child of a client, estranged from the other parent, who has a trust fund, and a LWT in place to absolutely ensure nothing goes to that parent. Those in late teens and early 20s may want to make sure special keepsakes get distributed to a SO or best friend.

    But for most in that age range, retirement accounts are likely the primary assets and will pass according to beneficiary designations. And LWT’s are probably the last thing they want to think about!

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ 270-247-0555
    https://fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only/

    #163663 Reply
    Liked by G
    Avatar Tim 
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    Just a simple point. A will served two purposes, one good and one bad (I call expense and administrative efforts bad).
    1) A clear statement of distribution of assets. Good.
    2) Paperwork that takes time and expense to dispose of assets.

    Avoid 2) any way possible – primarily beneficiary or right of survivorship. Why hire an attorney and even make a trip to a probate court ? You only need probate for things you cannot sell or liquidate without a court order.

    Do number 1) as cheaply as possible. I loved the library tip. Print it out and file it with the birth certificate. You never use the birth certificate so you probably won’t use the will.

    If the adult child is comfortable, have the logins and passwords for financial accounts. Backup for a single child is a must. Things happen. Out of town accidents, hurricanes, whatever. Even a sealed envelope works.

    #163674 Reply
    Avatar bean1970 
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    Just a simple point. A will served two purposes, one good and one bad (I call expense and administrative efforts bad).
    1) A clear statement of distribution of assets. Good.
    2) Paperwork that takes time and expense to dispose of assets.

    Avoid 2) any way possible – primarily beneficiary or right of survivorship. Why hire an attorney and even make a trip to a probate court ? You only need probate for things you cannot sell or liquidate without a court order.

    Do number 1) as cheaply as possible. I loved the library tip. Print it out and file it with the birth certificate. You never use the birth certificate so you probably won’t use the will.

    If the adult child is comfortable, have the logins and passwords for financial accounts. Backup for a single child is a must. Things happen. Out of town accidents, hurricanes, whatever. Even a sealed envelope works.

    Click to expand…

    i’d recommend having financial POA. even better than just knowing passwords (but we also use a password app so every one has everything they need). my kids account shows up on my account log-in because i filed the POA with the institution. If my kid is in a coma..i can file his taxes and take care of his finances.  This ENDS though if he dies.  Brokerage accounts generally cannot name a beneficiary, which why he would need a will as a single owner of his accounts (he has a brokerage outright and an UTMA which i haven’t relinquished yet but likely will by years end).

    we did all our estate planning via legal zoom, but my MIL has a complicated estate so i hired a lawyer for hers…so figured it might be a good time to just ask to “throw my kid’s in” as part of the package. i’m all for economical otherwise…..

    #163739 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
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    Brokerage accounts generally cannot name a beneficiary, which why he would need a will as a single owner of his accounts

    Click to expand…
    Beneficiaries Nonretirement Transfer on Death
    Use this form to establish or update the beneficiaries on a Transfer on Death (TOD) registration on your nonretirement Fidelity Account or Fidelity Funds Account registered as Individual, Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship, or Tenants by the Entirety.
    I believe brokerage accounts can be set-up as TOD with beneficiaries. Separate form required by Fidelity. Cannot be filled out online.
    #163746 Reply
    Avatar bean1970 
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    Status: Physician
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    I’ll check on the form as another option . He’s not at Fidelity.

    #163747 Reply

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