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Last Will & Testament's

s.guns.gun Member Posts: 3,245
edited April 2003 in General Discussion
Going to get a Will made. Don't know much about this kind of thing.

Do any of you have any tips as to what to tell the Attorney so that I could make certain that our Estate is divided equaly and fairly with my 5 children? And to also help avoid a long drawn out procedure that costs them money.

I am confused at times.<BR>We park on driveways<BR> and<BR>drive on parkways.


  • HAIRYHAIRY Member Posts: 23,606
    edited November -1
    Good luck. My mother made me the Personal Representative and decided to split her assets among the three children into 3 equal parts. Did it work? Hell no, I got sued because one sister said, "Well, I loved Mom more than you did and I should get more." [xx(]

    I had the lawyer spend a major portion of the assets of the estate defending me--when she finally had to pay her attorney some money, she settled--and ended up paying her attorney with the reduced amount she got. Stupid on my part, I guess, but I was damned if I would let her get away with that.

    Bottom line: Once you are gone, you will never know how much envy exists among the kids--I sure didn't.

    My advice: Give while you can with warm hands, not cold ones.

    It's not what you know that gets you in trouble, it's what you know that just ain't so!
    Resident Pyrrhonist
  • FrancFFrancF Member Posts: 35,278 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Do your self a favor buy the software for wills and such and get it laid out how you wish. THEN go to a lawyer to look for holes. thats how I did mine. Doing it with the software first will open your eyes as to whats involved living trust, last will and testament etc. It will give you time to make all the right choices.

    and If you change your mind on things, its on your computer. Trust me its an eye opener! Take your time. Hope your ok!

    I am using Willmaker Ver.8. Very easy software to use, and it will do it buy state (leagle wise)
    with leagel updates, worth the 40 bucks. IMHOP


    God Bless our Troops
  • bigal125bigal125 Member Posts: 1,137 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Be sure to set it up so that, if one (or more) person contests the will, they're out and they get nothing! That is one way you can make sure that YOUR wishes are respected, and the situation that Hairy described does NOT occur among your beneficiaries.

    FrancF also has a good suggestion with the software or "Do-it-yourself will kits" to start with, BUT!....after you've got it laid out the way you want it, be SURE to take it to an attorney and get it properly witnessed, recorded, etc, etc.

    Good luck!

    Big Al
  • SilverBoxSilverBox Member Posts: 2,347
    edited November -1
    Depending on the amount of assets you have and the state you live in, you may want to seriously consider setting up a living TRUST. It could save your heirs an immense amount of tax's.
  • PJPJ Member Posts: 1,556 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I know from personal experience ( both with my dad and my late first wife) that a living trust is the way to go if you have serious asets. Things went smoothly and quickly in both cases.

    "Be kind to your neighbor, he knows where you live"
  • Big Sky RedneckBig Sky Redneck Member Posts: 19,758 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A very imprtant document that once finshed needs to be updated frequently if there are alot of changes in your lives. Most importantly is your children, if they are minors you need to specify who will take them in your will and how the assetts will come to them at the proper age. With no will the state of PA takes the kids, it don't matter how many family members show up to complain, the courts decide who gets them. best thing to do is name items or property that go to which individual and have the rest auctioned and divided, name someone not related to you to handle the affairs for the reasons Hairy mentioned. Make sure you have what we call a "Living Will" that will tell the doctors what your wishes are incase of life sustaining measures are needed, lay out the terms of organ donations if any. There are so many things that need to be addressed, use the software Franc mentioned then go to a lawyer to hash out the rest, every little detail needs to be taken care of, a mistake can and most likely will cause problems for your hiers(is that the right word and spelling?)


  • FrancFFrancF Member Posts: 35,278 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Like I told my wife, I am so full of sh** sometimes just put me in the back yard in a cardboard box and take the money. I will make great fertilizer[:D]


    God Bless our Troops
  • offerorofferor Member Posts: 9,168
    edited November -1
    7mm -- If I remember my French, "hiers" is their word for "tomorrows." It works, though. Our American word for next of kin is "heirs," but who's counting?

    FrancF -- I don't think you goofed. Your advice was good enough to get a person where they want to go.

    Hairy --
    quote:Once you are gone, you will never know how much envy exists among the kids--I sure didn't.

    Are you a ghost??? [:D]

    As for the topic, Quicken Lawyer 2003 (the Home version) might be good SW for you to acquire if you want to create your own up front, for practice or for real. It's certainly better than having no will at all, and it has the advantage of being easy (and free) to update your will. I saw a copy once on Kazaalite that had been "cracked," if you wanted to check it out before buying. (Those of us like me who like to learn every piece of SW couldn't possibly afford to buy it all -- heheheh.)

    Anyway, everyone including Suze Orman talks about the "living will" or "living trust" or whatever; it is what everyone is recommending now -- the reason is what you said -- to avoid tying a lot of your assets up in probate and needless extra fees and maybe taxes.

    The easiest way to accomplish what you want, I think personally, is to 1) ask for recommendations from your friends for a good, experienced lawyer who has drawn up many solid wills in the past (you can't afford to train your guy), and 2) tell him what your goal is first -- i.e., a strong, unbreakable will that divvies things up equally among your 5 children, and avoids gumming up the process with probate and waiting periods and extra administration costs.

    If you keep it that simple, he should be able to give you what you want, if anyone can. But like the old saying goes, "You can sue a ham sandwich." So if someone is bent on making trouble, they probably can slow down the inevitable even if the will is iron-clad. But the result should be the same if your will is good enough.

    Lawyers don't live to make things cheap; they don't make as much on "no-fault" easy cases. So it never hurts to have your attorney's work checked over, either.

    Life NRA Member

    T. Jefferson: "[When doing Constitutional interpretation], let us [go] back to the time when [it] was adopted. [Rather than] invent a meaning [let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
  • bambihunterbambihunter Member Posts: 10,627 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    We're waiting for my sister-in-law to take (and pass) her BAR exam in May. Then we'll get free legal services... I'll probably die the end of April with my luck. [xx(]
    However, we don't have kids and what we own worth fighting over has a lien against it, so no one would be money ahead to try and get it.
    Fanatic collector of the 10mm auto.
  • select-fireselect-fire Member Posts: 69,482 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    A word to the wise is to set all cash assets (money markets) in each parties name. You can be listed on them ..payable upon death. The Money markets will be outside of the will. Only the hard assets( home, car furniture will be fought over. Assign a personal representative (trusted friend) to be the exectutor or exectris. IF contested let the court handle the will.
  • SkyWatcherSkyWatcher Member Posts: 1,571 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    If it is a lot of money, go with a trust. If not, don't do the "to be divided equally among your * heirs" bit. That's where all the fighting come in; instead, you decide who get what and itemize the inheritance. For instance, my son Bob get this house, my son Joe gets this property and the truck, my daughter Jane get the house. Do it as equitable as you can and don't leave it up to your kids to decide, or it'll end up in probate. Also, the "exlusion for contesting" bit sound like a good idea - don't know if it'll hold up though. Just my uneducated two cents.

    To whom much is given, much is expected.
  • bartobarto Member Posts: 4,860
    edited November -1
    I personally went with a "living trust". It eliminates the probate process(at least in this state) & there are no probate taxes to pay because your property is then jointly owned by YOU & YOUR HEIRS.
    I would highly reccommend checking in to this option in your state.

    I didn't do it and I got witnesses!!
  • kissgoodnightkissgoodnight Member Posts: 4,070 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Nothing will split up a family more than the death of a grand parent or parent. There does not even have to be money to split up. Just the rumor of money in my wifes family split her family into peices.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    Head off any fighting over your assets,, Liquidate them, take the cash and SPEND < SPEND, enjoy life, buy what you want or have always wanted but didnt get, ENJOY YOUR MONEY< THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR.

    I aint leaving nothing for people to fight over. If I die BR is taken care of with my Insurance, , and the Vultures can fight over my many Harley T-shirts..

    So , Live life now,, cause ya cant take it with ya..


    "A wise man is a man that realizes just how little he knows"

  • taxmisertaxmiser Member Posts: 50 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    My advise is to form a "Living" or " Revokable" trust for several reasons.

    1.A major issue in this I.R.S. revenue district is that our beloved Internal Revenue Service considers property held in joint tendency as belonging to the first to die = ouch!

    2.All wills are subject to "probate" which is leagalized theft of from 4 to 6% of the assets by the lawyer who is required to perform this invaluable service.

    3.A trust becomes a seperate entity (person) which "owns" the assets, therefore should someone sue you they can collect nothing, rememeber you own nadda!

    Be advised that a trust no longer has as favorable taxation treatment as they did in past years. Any income derived from the assets of the trust must be "passed thru" or the trust will be taxed on them and when distributed they will also be taxable to whomever recieves same.

  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    Enjoy the "assets" yourself...

    We are constantly giving to our kids.... we feed them, house them, educate them, buy them clothes toys etc..... then they get college age.... so we buy a car for them, pay for a higher education so they can make more money and have more than we did.....we help them with the down payment on their them with their kids,... help out any time they get into a jam.....just so they can have a better life than we did...

    So when does it end?...death?...not on your life.... give more to the kids.... only you wont see the court cases, the fighting etc...all because Tommy got more than Molly...
    I have seen parents go without so their could be more for the kids when they die.....Flippin he**!!!!!.... no wonder kids are a bunch of greedy, lazy, "the world owes me" louts...
    Kids should be taking care of their parents when the parents retire.... not the other way round....I know one family, kids are all married (3 of them)...all with very good paying jobs...all own the homes witht he help of dear old dad...and yet the dad cant afford 2 prescriptions for his wife cause they want to leave something to the kids when they they put money into an account each month for the kids.....BULL Crap...!!!parents raised the kids... paid for everything...helped out to get them started..helped out in times of hardship....and yet they wont help the parents out????????....
    Its already started with the family I spoke of.... one daughter is ticked at the father cause the only son gets more...the other daughter is ticked at the mother cause of the way the diamonds are divided....SELL IT ALL, TAKE THE MONEY AND ENJOY YOURSELF....YOU EARNED IT....THE KIDS DIDNT...

    All that being said...I am not referring to parents who have minor kids....that is totally different...I am speaking of adult kids....


    Lil' Stinker's Opinion
  • dakotashooter2dakotashooter2 Member Posts: 6,186
    edited November -1
    Ever seen the bunper sticker "I'm spending my childrens inheritance"?
    AAAHH the advantage of having one child. Some of my mothers syblings are still mad 10 years after my grandparents death and I dread the day both my inlaws pass away. As far as my parents, they don't have anything I want and I could care less if I get a dime. Unfortunatly for me my wife will have a fit if I don't get my "fair share". A trust with the executor or trustee being someone other than a family member is a good way to go.
  • BlueTicBlueTic Member Posts: 4,072
    edited November -1
    We had one made up a few years ago (when the kids were 12 and 7). It's not that we have any money - just so the kids go to the nearest aunt if things were to happen. We should change it soon since my Daughter is 18 now - we just have not discussed the terms. I think if I had money[:D] a living trust would be better.
    Just a note - I put in my will that I was to be creamated and my ashes spread on a dance floor so everyone could party on me..... seems a little silly now that I am older, but we did not grow up with wakes and I like the idea.

    IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY RIGHTS - GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY (this includes politicians)
  • jjmitchell60jjmitchell60 Member Posts: 3,887
    edited November -1
    My Great Aunt died in 1990 and left her estate to two generations in a lifetime deal. There was 4 in my mothers generation and 8 in mine. One of my aunts is as money hungry as they come so for the past 13 years it has been nothing but a hassle. The main sticking point was a 83 acre farm. This aunt finally took it to court to sell the farm thus breaking the will. She thought she would get a lot of money. This farm had been in family since 1848 so my brother and I bought it at the court house door for a song. My aunt got $251 for her trouble! The moral of this is that if you set up a will for your kids and have land in it, do not entail it through generations. Death brings out the worse in a family. Devide things equally and spell it out in the will where there are no doubt as to your intentions. Don't set it up so as to pit one against the other as my Great Aunt did. She wanted the farm to stay in the family but she did not relize that all did not feel the way she did about that. Luckily my brother and I could do that. If your estate is very large, spend the money to let an attorney do the will and let him know exactly how you want things to go. Many people also tape an explanation as to how the decided who got what to show their heirs.
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