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Old 03-29-2016, 10:38 AM
 
12,677 posts, read 14,063,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
i would never use a holographic well , ever . why do something like that from the get go . at the least get an approved one off the internet and keep your fingers crossed .
Rigor mortis will put an end to that.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:16 AM
 
Location: NC Piedmont
3,911 posts, read 2,875,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelpha View Post
Keeping it simple, I for one don't own anything of value whatsoever, so I told my friend that if he ever happens to be the only one close to me when I die, just donate my stuff to Goodwill and use my military DD-214 to get me a free burial/cremation/whatever.

Can informal directives be honored? Or does everyone need a will?
Just reposting the OP's actual question. I think the answer is pretty clearly that informal directives are usually followed in simple cases and that not everyone needs a will. We have had posts by a paralegal in this thread along those lines. I was actually told the same thing by the lawyer who did my will several years ago. The main reason we did one at that time was to spell out what would happen to our young children (who would raise them and how to make sure the money really went to their care and education). Legal documents carry more weight, but not a lot more. If someone can make a convincing case that your intentions changed, the court can choose to go that way.

The trick is knowing when it isn't simple so if you can afford it then it is better to be cautious and get a will done.
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Old 03-29-2016, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Alaska
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I think directives work as long as no one contests them. My mom died with only a directive and since no one in the family contested, it was followed without going to probate (no probate assets). A will or trust is the better option though, assuming it was done properly.

As mentioned before, you can get notary services from most banks for free. My bank doesn't even ask if you have an account (supposed to be for account holders only).
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:14 PM
 
9,676 posts, read 15,852,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akck View Post
I think directives work as long as no one contests them. My mom died with only a directive and since no one in the family contested, it was followed without going to probate (no probate assets). A will or trust is the better option though, assuming it was done properly.

As mentioned before, you can get notary services from most banks for free. My bank doesn't even ask if you have an account (supposed to be for account holders only).




Believe it or not---our bank--Wells Fargo--would NOT notarize our will. They would not notarize anything of a financial nature, because it would be a "conflict of interest" I suspect other banks have similar policies. That's why we ended up finding a notary on Craig's List.
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Old 03-29-2016, 03:00 PM
 
Location: NC Piedmont
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
Believe it or not---our bank--Wells Fargo--would NOT notarize our will. They would not notarize anything of a financial nature, because it would be a "conflict of interest" I suspect other banks have similar policies. That's why we ended up finding a notary on Craig's List.
Interesting. I am a WF customer. I have never had any trouble with them notarizing anything, but I have not done a will that way; just did one at a lawyer's office. I did have a form I wasn't completely certain about once and the lady who did it that time told me that she could not offer any information other than to say whether or not the the notarized signature section met guidelines and that if it did she needed to see it signed and see a photo ID from each person signing and that she could then notarize it. She said notaries certify signatures on documents not documents. It was pretty obvious she had repeated the little speech many times. It was a polite but firm refusal to offer any opinion on the value or usefulness of the document. It was a tax related matter.
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:02 PM
 
Location: SW US
2,216 posts, read 2,033,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
[/b]

Believe it or not---our bank--Wells Fargo--would NOT notarize our will. They would not notarize anything of a financial nature, because it would be a "conflict of interest" I suspect other banks have similar policies. That's why we ended up finding a notary on Craig's List.
I found I could not get my Advance Directives notarized either. At first I thought it was because I called it a living will, and they said they would not notarize wills, but then, after visiting multiple banks, I found that none would notarize them at all.

Does anyone have any tips on finding a good attorney to do an estate plan and the other paperwork, other than just looking online?
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Ohio
19,875 posts, read 14,221,081 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zelpha View Post
Was talking with a friend last night and he mentioned his extended family has been quarreling over his father's estate since he unexpectedly died two years ago without leaving any will or directives whatsoever.

This got me wondering, Hypothetically, What if someone dies without a legal notarized will, but has written directives on paper kept in a file, could that be considered better than leaving no directive at all, and would the written directives be legally honored? (Assuming of course that the informal directives weren't plagiarized by an acquaintance of the deceased. Yes I realize that's why legal wills are strongly advised.)

Keeping it simple, I for one don't own anything of value whatsoever, so I told my friend that if he ever happens to be the only one close to me when I die, just donate my stuff to Goodwill and use my military DD-214 to get me a free burial/cremation/whatever.

Can informal directives be honored? Or does everyone need a will?

I suppose people with any estate and valuable items would be wise to update a legal will every year or so. But if they weren't prepared and died young & unexpectedly, but had verbally told a friend their directives or informally wrote it on paper, would it be better than nothing? Especially if the directives were realistic, and not favoring the messenger over anyone else?
Get a Will, otherwise you may end up in Potter's Field with no headstone at all. A Will doesn't cost very much and it's worth it for "peace of my mind."
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryleeII View Post
What if you can't afford the "modest fee" lawyers charge? We didn't use LegalZoom to "beat a lawyer out of $400". My dh had been diagnosed with cancer. Even with medical insurance, we still owe MD Anderson thousands. We simply didn't have money for "extras" such as a will, when we leave a very small estate, anyways. In Texas, if a parent of a minor child dies intestate, the homestead does NOT go automatically to the surviving spouse. In the absence of a will, the homestead goes to the minor child(ren), held in trust by their guardian. Usually that guardian is the remaining parent, however, that parent cannot sell the house even if its in the best interests of the children and parent. The law was written to keep a surviving spouse from selling the homestead and, essentially, running off from the children. However, many a surviving spouse has been stuck with a home they can no longer afford.


BTW, the lawyers I contacted wanted about $2000+ for a will. MD Anderson wanted $800 up front just to see my dh for a consultation, then, travel costs, copays, etc---we did what was best for all concerned. BTW, DH is cancer-free...money well-spent!


Well, at the time, we considered living to be more important than dying! We put our money towards seeking the best medical care. We figured dying to be secondary. I've been through the "inheritance process" 3x now. For example, my grandfather just handed me some jewelry that belonged to my grandmother and g-grandmother. Total appraised value was 100K at the time. I just put it in my safe deposit box. No will/probate needed! Although in each case wills were available, we didn't need them. I know, we're all supposed to live perfect lives, etc, etc, but we had to decide what to do with our finances, which were limited. Having the world's greatest will doesn't matter as much as living a good life.


BTW, probate comes from the Latin probar = to prove. To probate a will means to prove its validity.
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:12 AM
 
71,463 posts, read 71,652,652 times
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nothing is a problem until it is a problem .

unfortunately i already had two instances of missing verbiage costing us big dollars because there were things that had to go through probate or were found to be a problem .

both sets of documents were different people with one common denominator . they used a cheap general practitioner and not a knowledgeable estate attorney .
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,699 posts, read 23,651,778 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windwalker2 View Post
I found I could not get my Advance Directives notarized either. At first I thought it was because I called it a living will, and they said they would not notarize wills, but then, after visiting multiple banks, I found that none would notarize them at all.

Does anyone have any tips on finding a good attorney to do an estate plan and the other paperwork, other than just looking online?
A paralegal cannot represent you in court but he or she can, in many states advise someone if their will is intact. They can help with the paperwork too depending upon what the law allows them to do in their state. That is if all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. This would be for more simple wills. But before someone uses their services, they must make sure their state allows it.

A friend of mine had a Conservator handle her affairs when she was told she had terminal Cancer. She had her will notarized and gave away everything worth giving before she passed. Of course not everyone has the opportunity to do that but anyone can get their affairs in order at any time. I don't know what the cost of this would be but she was a single working woman who did not earn a great deal so I doubt it was terribly expensive.

I have a couple of small annuities that have my sisters' names on them as beneficiaries. Those do not go through probate or need to be mentioned in a will. There is nothing else of value in my possession. I doubt if there will be any arguing over my used computer, 14 year old TV or four year old flip phone. Those are the most expensive items I own. A checking account also has both their names on it besides mine. My jewelry is mostly costume and my nieces, two sisters who I want to have it always share everything anyway so they can take whatever they like. Anything else can go to Goodwill or wherever. Both my sisters, my only close relatives, have way more than I so there isn't going to be any arguing over Minerva's stuff other than who will be in charge of getting rid of my vast ceramic cat collection.

If I were worth more, I would be sure to consult an actual Estate attorney. But in my case that is not needed.

The point is, if there are valuables involved in your Estate, get a good estate attorney who knows what he or she is doing. If you can't afford one there is Legal Aide or some attorneys who will do Pro Bono services if you earn below a certain amount. But that's only if you actually have enough to warrant the hiring an attorney.

The American Bar Association in your area can recommend one to you if you can afford and need one. It's always best to go with a specialist. If your legacy is a simple one, get your forms off the Internet and/or your advice from a paralegal if your state allows it and find a notary public who can make it official. One size does not fit all for everyone.

Not all wills or simple bequests have to go through Probate. If someone dies without a will and the deceased's relatives start to argue about who gets what, his or her estate will go through probate. If there is any question about a will or it is contested, it will go through probate. Each person should know what they have and decided what is needed for themselves.
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