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Old 05-05-2014, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Oregon
1,379 posts, read 2,672,163 times
Reputation: 1019

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I do have a will. We have sold a home and purchased a new one. We have to make some changes. Yes, our daughter is old enough, but for reasons I won't go into, not the choice we would make to take care of anything.

I know that sh*t happens. No guarantees in anything. We are getting ready to go on a road trip next month. I'm hopeful that we won't both die, but I would like to get something written up before we go. I'm sure that if things change down the road, as they always do, we may make some changes in our will, too.

I appreciate all the responses! Thanks so much. I have some things to think about.
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Old 05-05-2014, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,927,825 times
Reputation: 6716
You're asking a bunch of mostly non-lawyers to give legal opinions with incomplete facts. Doesn't work IMO. Robyn
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:06 PM
 
Location: Oregon
1,379 posts, read 2,672,163 times
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Thanks for the private note.
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Old 05-05-2014, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Oregon
1,379 posts, read 2,672,163 times
Reputation: 1019
Robyn, I wasn't asking in a legal forum, but in a retirement forum. I thought that maybe some folks might have a thought about what a fair amount is. I got some helpful answers and I appreciate that.
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:00 PM
 
174 posts, read 257,769 times
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As a lawyer, I can say that the smell of money seems to bring out the worst in everyone. The way that you now think people will act after you die is very likely not the way they will act when you are gone and the scent of money is there. I have repeatedly seen relatives who were formerly on good terms at each other's throats and willing to consume the entire estate in litigation over dollar amounts that seemed to me to be hardly worth fighting over. In an informal probate (minimal court supervision), the personal representative is in a position to generate fees almost endlessly and make the ultimate distribution take darn near forever. This actually happened in my late wife's family, when the eldest of four sisters was named the personal representative; even though I am a lawyer, we got so fed up with the deception, game-playing and squabbling that we donated my wife's entire 1/4 share to charity and simply walked away. And we have probate files in our office that have been open for 25 YEARS. I am very skeptical of everyone in the entire process who is in a position to milk the estate - specifically including the lawyers and the personal representative. There is no one-size-fits-all advice, but I personally have titled everything that I can (cars, real estate, bank accounts, etc.) in some form of ownership with survivorship rights (joint tenancy being the most common but not the only one). All property with survivorship rights passes outside of probate (i.e., you don't dispose of it in your will, although the survivors may be required to contribute toward creditors' claims). Ditto for life insurance. What I have that will actually pass under my will is close to nothing -- so little that my will is scarcely of any importance at all. People are enamored of living trusts, but about all they know about them is that YOU CAN AVOID PROBATE!!! Living trusts come with their own set of potential problems, and YOU CAN AVOID PROBATE!!! lots of other ways as well. I wouldn't presume to offer legal advice sight-unseen, but it sounds to me as though the OP and her husband have quite a simple estate and that their wishes probably could be accomplished outside of a will. This doesn't mean that they wouldn't want a will or a personal representative (executrix) at all, but my guess would be that there would be minimal need for the executrix to do much of anything relating to property. Bear in mind that a will doesn't necessarily have to be probated just because you have one; there is simply no reason to probate many wills (including mine).
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Old 05-05-2014, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Oregon
1,379 posts, read 2,672,163 times
Reputation: 1019
Thank you, Venerable. That is exactly what I am thinking. There will be a will but our home and investment accounts will already have survivorship rights existing. The house and money will all pass outside of probate. My "executrix" will not have to deal with any of that. Hopefully, there will be little to fight or argue over. Of course, there will always be loose ends to tie up. And for that, we want to leave her fair compensation.
I know what happens to families when there is a death and estate to be dealt with. It's not usually pretty. I intend to make this as simple as possible for everyone involved.
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