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Old 12-27-2016, 10:53 PM
4,315 posts, read 2,523,101 times
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I recently had a lawyer draw up my will.

I came in with all my beneficiaries clearly listed on a tablet and who gets what.

When he called me in to pick it up and sign it, I read it and it was full of mistakes.

His excuse was............"I guess I got your kids mixed up "

It was all written out by me on a tablet so even a 1st grader could understand it.
He called his legal secretary in and told her to make the corrections.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:09 AM
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Originally Posted by WRM20 View Post
If you have children or much in the way of assets, get a lawyer to do the will. It may look boilerplate, but it will include everything necessary to get your estate through probate in your state without a lot of hassle. In Texas, if you lack the self proving affidavit, probate is far more difficult. In addition, some places require an attorney to probate the will, and will not let the executor act on their own behalf in court. Harris County, the county for Houston, has that rule.
my feeling is there is no such thing as a simple will in most states.

i firmly believe when it comes to this stuff with no do overs allowed do not use internet canned documents , see a specialist.

i have dealt with one defective will and 1 defective trust already in my lifetime.

much of what protects your wishes is not even in the documents. it is protocol and is the questions asked at the signing in front of witnesses.

state laws change on the fly . we had a co-worker hit a snag because the internet form used was not the new statutory form required as mentioned below.

we hit a snag on the refinance of a house we inherited through a simple will.

it read i leave my house and possessions to my child beth.

the title company stopped the refinance since a word was missing. that word was ONLY " as in only child.

well i had to pay all the attorneys for the day and lost my rate while we got affidavits there were no other children.

we had a court rule a trust defective as well as it lacked a sentence relating to predeceasing the parents.

as the judge told us , it is clear what the intentions were but he cannot re-write history or add missing words.

some of the issues those who use canned documents in our state ,ny run in to are :

Preparing and executing a valid health care proxy provides a good illustration. The health care proxy is a document that allows an individual (the “principal”) to appoint an agent to make health care decisions in case he/she becomes incapacitated. The main purpose of the health care proxy is to appoint an agent. There is a presumption that the agent knows the principal’s wishes. Nonetheless, according to New York State case law, if a principal’s wishes regarding the withholding of artificial nutrition and hydration are not articulated, an agent will not be able to make such decision. Based on this case law, it is imperative for the principal to set forth his/her wishes regarding the administering of artificial nutrition and hydration either in the actual health care proxy or in a separate living will. Failure to do this can result in unforeseen consequences – which is exactly what the principal was trying to avoid in the first place. Secondly, many individuals erroneously believe that they can appoint more than one agent at a time on a health care proxy. This would make the document faulty because only one agent at a time can make medical decisions. A person drafting a health care proxy can add language to avoid insulting other family members, but again- this requires the help of someone with experience. Finally, the document must be witnessed by two individuals in order for it to be validly recognized. A person should not have his agent, spouse or child be a witness to the signing.

We see even more problems in the area of powers of attorney. The main thrust of a power of attorney is to appoint an agent to act on an individual’s behalf with respect to financial matters in case such individual becomes incapacitated. Many people innocently refer to this document as one that is “simple” to prepare. This could not be further from the truth. Firstly, New York State passed legislation effective September 2009 in an attempt to create a statutory form that would be uniformly accepted. This legislation was the result of tremendous abuse that was found in this particular area, with some appointed agents taking advantage of the disabled and elderly.

The new power of attorney law results in a much lengthier document, and significantly restricts the actual power given to the agent over financial matters. If transfers are to be made on behalf of the principal, a separate gift rider must be executed. The gift rider must specifically articulate the agent’s power to make gifts to himself/herself or to third parties. Further, any additional powers beyond those enumerated in the statute, must be added to a modification section. Finally, while the law mandates banks, brokerage houses and other financial institutions to recognize the power of attorney, the form utilized must be statutory. Accordingly, if someone decides to cut corners and download a form from the internet, this may result in a tremendous disservice because if the form is not statutory, it does not have to be legally recognized. The power of attorney is an extremely important tool for estate and elder law practitioner. If the principal incorrectly drafts and/or executes this form, his/her ultimate plans regarding Medicaid eligibility or gifting to loved ones could be completely stymied. It is imperative to have this document prepared by an experienced practitioner.

A last will and testament is yet another document that must be prepared under the supervision of any experienced attorney. After the person who executed the will dies (the “decedent”), the will gets admitted to probate through surrogate’s court so that the decedent’s wishes can ultimately be fulfilled. Through the probate process, the will is reviewed and the court checks to make sure the will was drafted and executed properly. The number of witnesses, the affidavit they sign and the way the will is fastened are some examples of what the court reviews. Any mistakes, such as the removal of a staple or an ambiguous bequest can result in unnecessary delays, costly legal fees, and at worse, an inability to complete the probate process.

we had a trust document where a sentence was omitted about the children predeceasing the parents as to what happens then . some estranged step children were ruled out by name but the omitted sentence gave them claiming rights despite the wording clearly excluding them .

the words " nothing is a problem until it's a problem " were never truer than when it comes to will's ,trusts and the associated documents .

Last edited by mathjak107; 12-28-2016 at 02:38 AM..
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:12 AM
4,315 posts, read 2,523,101 times
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something that sounds strange.............after paying a lawyer to write up my will, I asked if I have to come back if I ever make changes.

He stated.........." no, all you have to do is pencil in the changes and initial them."

That sure didn't seem right to pay a lawyer. notarize my will, but yet I can make changes to it at anytime w/o my signature or having it notarized.
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:31 AM
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In North Carolina , can executor be also the heir? Does anybody know?
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Old 12-28-2016, 10:02 AM
Location: Center City
6,855 posts, read 7,802,585 times
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I think those who are looking to do-it-yourself wills are being penny wise and pound foolish. Questions about old wills, status of ex spouses, heirs, charitable donations, executors, powers of attorney, living wills, new states, etc.? I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to muddle through with anonymous advise from an internet forum.

I recently assisted my parents in updating my their documents. The $1500 was well spent. The lawyer helped us address several issues we never considered. Importantly, he helped simplify several matters by pointing out ways we could avoid probate. I know $1500 is a lot for some here, but I imagine for most, it is a worthwhile investment that will reduce the burden for our heirs when the time comes for settling our estates.

I have piece of mind with end of life decisions for me, my husband, my parents, and his parents. Money well spent.
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