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Old Yesterday, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Just west of the Missouri River
686 posts, read 1,335,773 times
Reputation: 949

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I have been putting this off forever, but I know I need to make a will. I will be a pretty simple one, leaving most of my assets (assuming anything is left) to charities and making some provision for the care of my dog--if she survives me. I'm not anywhere near wealthy, but I have a well-developed saving habit and may (or maybe not) be able to make a reasonable contribution to a couple of causes I believe in. And, there are relatives that I am not interested in enriching.

I doubt I need a sit down with an estate lawyer, but I've been looking a some of the online sites that say they will help with will and health directive preparation. I imagine they would be fairly inexpensive and adequate, but, I don't know anyone who has used an online site for this sort of thing. Or maybe there is some reason it is better to get an estate lawyer?

My question: have you used an online legal site to prepare a will? What was your experience?
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Old Yesterday, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
22,235 posts, read 14,604,119 times
Reputation: 31466
A simple will should not be exorbitant. Different states have different requirements. See an attorney to get your will done right.
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Old Yesterday, 05:53 PM
 
72,531 posts, read 72,428,525 times
Reputation: 50032
i would never ever do a will on my own after experiencing not one but two wills in life with defective wording
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Old Yesterday, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,455 posts, read 9,216,856 times
Reputation: 13248
If you want to do a will for free a will in your own handwriting and signed by is legal anywhere. Get it notarized for that extra layer of legal protection. A typed will, does require two witness signatures. Notarized for that extra layer of protection. We are talking up to $20.

Do note that a will does not eliminate probate and court costs to transfer estate assets. A will simply states your wishes. A trust however, will save your estate many $1000s of dollars and speed the process from a year or two to four months.

Last edited by Mr5150; Yesterday at 06:15 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 06:06 PM
 
1,060 posts, read 242,222 times
Reputation: 2182
Quote:
Originally Posted by treeluvr View Post
...leaving most of my assets to ...
Have I got a deal for you!
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Old Yesterday, 06:16 PM
 
72,531 posts, read 72,428,525 times
Reputation: 50032
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
If you want to do a will for free a will in your own handwriting and signed by is legal anywhere. Get it notarized for that extra layer of legal protection. A typed will, does require two witness signatures. Notarized for that extra layer of protection. We are talking up to $20.
legal and "error free " are two different things ...

i can tell you the two issues we had that cost us a lot of money .


first issue we hit was my ex wife inherited a house from her mother ...we were refinancing it and the title company asked to see the will at the closing .... they stopped the closing ... the poorly written will read " and to my child beth i leave my house and possessions ".....one word was missing , that word was ONLY as in only child ...

we had to pay all the attorneys for the day , lost our interest rate and had to get affidavits from relatives she was an only child ... rates jumped 1/2 a point by the time everything was resolved .


the other issue was with my current wifes father-inlaw from her first marriage ...they too had a poorly constructed document ....

her father inlaw specifically ruled out 2 estranged step children by name . they were to get no part of his business ....

well , he died and everything went to his wife ... in the mean time their son , my wifes first husband died ...

he died before his mom ... well when his mom finally died , the court noticed there was no sentence pertaining to predeceasing his mom ... the sentence was left out as to what would happen .

the judge said that the intentions are clear those kids are to get nothing , but this document is defective and the courts can not add missing verbiage or re-write history ...so the kids had to be notified , and a long expensive battle was on and we ended up spending multiple 6 figures to buy them out .


never confuse legal with the actual wording and construction . in many cases so much as removing a staple can nullify a will .

never assume you don't need good a , well constructed statutory documents . your death could be the result of an accident , medical malpractice suit , wrongful death law suit from negligence , etc and all of a sudden the estate has money where it didnt.

with wills nothing is a problem until it is a problem , then you learn there are no do overs and correcting these things can be brutally expensive .

if you can't afford to have this done properly by a good estate attorney , you can't afford free .
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Old Yesterday, 06:27 PM
 
Location: SoCal
13,752 posts, read 6,534,991 times
Reputation: 10281
It doesn’t matter, he leaves it to charities.
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Old Yesterday, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Just west of the Missouri River
686 posts, read 1,335,773 times
Reputation: 949
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
If you want to do a will for free a will in your own handwriting and signed by is legal anywhere. Get it notarized for that extra layer of legal protection. A typed will, does require two witness signatures. Notarized for that extra layer of protection. We are talking up to $20.
Mr 5150--This is helpful. Thank you. Maybe I could get the will vetted by online attorneys and then write it out in my own hand.

Mathjak-- I think the situations you describe are much more complicated than mine. While I have money in the bank, I do not have land or house--live in an apartment. (Some nice furniture, but that's easy to donate.)

NewbieHere--Right! A chance to do some good. My relatives don't need anything from me. I'd rather give to The Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth) and The Environmental Defense Fund.
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Old Yesterday, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,455 posts, read 9,216,856 times
Reputation: 13248
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
legal and "error free " are two different things ...

i can tell you the two issues we had that cost us a lot of money .


first issue we hit was my ex wife inherited a house from her mother ...we were refinancing it and the title company asked to see the will at the closing .... they stopped the closing ... the poorly written will read " and to my child beth i leave my house and possessions ".....one word was missing , that word was ONLY as in only child ...

we had to pay all the attorneys for the day , lost our interest rate and had to get affidavits from relatives she was an only child ... rates jumped 1/2 a point by the time everything was resolved .


the other issue was with my current wifes father-inlaw from her first marriage ...they too had a poorly constructed document ....

her father inlaw specifically ruled out 2 estranged step children by name . they were to get no part of his business ....

well , he died and everything went to his wife ... in the mean time their son , my wifes first husband died ...

he died before his mom ... well when his mom finally died , the court noticed there was no sentence pertaining to predeceasing his mom ... the sentence was left out as to what would happen .

the judge said that the intentions are clear those kids are to get nothing , but this document is defective and the courts can not add missing verbiage or re-write history ...so the kids had to be notified , and a long expensive battle was on and we ended up spending multiple 6 figures to buy them out .


never confuse legal with the actual wording and construction . in many cases so much as removing a staple can nullify a will .

never assume you don't need good a , well constructed statutory documents . your death could be the result of an accident , medical malpractice suit , wrongful death law suit from negligence , etc and all of a sudden the estate has money where it didnt.

with wills nothing is a problem until it is a problem , then you learn there are no do overs and correcting these things can be brutally expensive .

if you can't afford to have this done properly by a good estate attorney , you can't afford free .
Mrs5150 is an estate planing attorney and I am retired county worker. I did three things, one of which was Public Administration (dead people stuff). Staples don't make or break a will. A will tells intent. Nothing nullifies a hand written will or a witnessed typed will. That is a legal basis for distribution of an estate. Maybe its different where you live. But yea, greedy family can spend $1000s to contest, to no avail. But maybe things are different in NY.

With that said, pay the money to an attorney to do it right
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Old Yesterday, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Midwest
4,348 posts, read 7,195,824 times
Reputation: 7485
OP, if you need my name and address, I happen to be a worthy cause and I will remember you every July 4!

I have a close relative who's an estate attorney. Bear in mind, some estate attorneys are idiots. Like that relative.

And like doctors, they usually bury their mistakes and they don't come back to bite them.
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