Do you have a will?

Kathsgrdn

I haven't had one since my kids were young. When I divorced, I tore it up. Not very smart not getting another one made sooner, but I was super busy. I finally went today to get one made and POA in case I can't take care of my own finances for some reason. I was just going to do the will but decided to do both. I also bought a fire/water proof safe today to keep them in once I get them from the attorney. I just don't know where to keep the keys now. On my key chain that I carry with me? It came with two keys so will have to figure out somewhere to put them and then tell the kids. Now I need to find my car title, passport, etc...to put in there. So, do you have a will? This summer I'm also going to clean out the garage and closets. Don't want the kids to have to do that when I die. I don't have tons of junk but enough that it would be a pain in the behind to do. My garage is a carpet cleaner, vacuum graveyard right now.

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jim_1 (Zone 9A)

We live in a 55+ community in Florida. Our attorney specializes in "Elder Law". We took our old wills that we marked up and got new ones; we also updated HCPOA and living wills.

We travel a lot and now have in our possession cards from a local funeral home that informs anyone who needs the information, who and how to contact them. Part of that is a one-time payment that we made for our remains to be shipped to that funeral home.

All is planned, no one has to think. That includes my three sons, the missus' 5 siblings and their children. All have copies of the living wills and HCPOA. As far as we are concerned, we are set.

Getting the official papers set up did not take much time or money, but we have the peace of mind that no one will have any questions when the time comes to do anything.

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Kathsgrdn

I tried to contact a funeral home to find out how much cremation would cost but got no answer. This was through their website and e-mail. I guess I can just walk in and ask. All the local ones are on main street, which is right around the corner from me.

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Uptown Gal

Yes and a Living Trust

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maifleur01

For people on here be aware that what a document is called in one area may not be called the same in your area so when you go to an attorney be specific as to what you want. I wanted a limited Power of Attorney in case I became to ill to make financial decisions. Many sites will call it that but the attorney that I went to "explained" to me that in this area it is called a "springing" Power of Attorney. A name I have not found in other searches but I have found it called several things. I only use this as an example so that people can think about exactly what they want as far as paperwork.

Depending on the state and the bank that you use you also need to discuss titling of assets as some titles can make it more difficult to settle your estate.

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joann_fl

cremation here is less the $1,000. it varies $600. an up

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DawnInCal

Yes, but we want to make some changes.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

Yes, I have had all the necessary paperwork since my daughter was a child. A will, a trust for the assets that will go to my daughter, a durable power of attorney for health care decisions (with a written addendum spelling out exactly what I would and would not want done for me), a "living will" that references the DPOAHC, and a contingent financial POA (the same as Maifleur's "springing" POA).

My primary care doctor and my hospital both have copies of the DPOAHC and living will, not that I really expect them to realize it when needed.


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aok27502

Yes. Wills, POAs, living wills. We do need to change DH's executor. The person he wanted to name was facing a cancer diagnosis when we were having the wills done. He's fine now, so we need to get that changed.

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nickel_kg

We made our first will when our daughter was in grade school. Finally updated it a few years ago, along with POA's etc. Both times the lawyer said his office would file it for us in the local courthouse. Our latest will had the legal words making any previous wills obsolete.

We rent a safe deposit box for important documents. (Besides being more secure, it also ensures they don't get misplaced in our home!) Daughter knows where we keep the keys -- we don't carry them around. She's also a signatory on the box so she can legally get in it anytime.

Oh and you might want to look into "payable on death" and "transfer on death" for assets such as bank accounts and cars -- (in our state) they won't have to go through probate so your heirs have access to those assets quicker and easier.

As always, do your own research with a legal professional in your own state -- do not rely on internet advice for the details!


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maifleur01

A word of caution about only providing your doctor and hospital copies of living wills etc. Fewer and fewer doctors have admitting privileges to hospitals. Without admitting privileges unless your family/friends contact your doctor they may never know that you are in a hospital. A hospital may be able to find a copy but the way software changes it might not be readable by the current software when needed. I know when my husband went to the hospital I was told it would be several hours before the old file would be available and unless I had a copy the doctors could not give more that a minimum of information to anyone.

The attorney that I asked to write my will requested two names for executor in case the first one would decline there would be someone willing to accept the task. I have no idea how common this is but it was something he suggested.

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rockypointdog

Yes, we have a trust as well as a pour over will and other estate-planning documents. Originals are kept in a safe; my trustee has a key to the safe. Keep in mind that "fire-safe" safes often have a plastic dial, so make sure your trustee has a key to be able to get into the safe. Of course, my trustee also has copies of all necessary documents anyway, as well as the contact info for my lawyer. It will really help out your kids if you make sure all of your POD (payable on death) documents are up to date. I know it seem like a lot of people are overwhelmed at the thought of drawing up estate documents - I hope this discussion encourages them, and helps them to realize it is not as overwhelming as it may seem.

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phoggie

Yes....a revocable trust, etc. also since 1996. I also have my obituary completed, music, pallbearers, casket, clothing , etc all picked. I am ready!

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Chi

No, we probably should though.

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dedtired

Yes, and an Advanced Medical Directive.

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bpath reads banned books too

We had a will made when our children were small, after our neighbors suddenly became guardians of their teen nephew, and summer home of the "of age" niece. We should have updated our will when our guardians divorced. That's one thing we hadn't realized: you shouldn't name a married couple, just in case that happens, before or after the guardianship is needed. Our children are now of age, thank goodness.

My cousin called me a little while ago to tell me he'd made his funeral arrangements. My first thought was "what are you telling me??? Is there something I need to know???" But really, it makes sense. We are early 60s, in good health but you never know. He is divorced with one adolescent child, so who else would plan it for him? He was letting me, and a couple other people, know who his plans are with (long-time friends are the funeral directors), and he'd already picked out and paid for everything. Smart. So I asked my dad if they had done that. Nope. They are 90s.

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lindaohnowga

Yes, we have a Living Trust/Will/Medical Directive and a POD on our checking account with the one who is also the executor of our whole will. She has a copy and knows where everything is located that we have. We want to make a change to our will part, and hope to do that soon. Our hospital has a copy but I carry a copy with me at all times.

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OutsidePlaying

Yes, we updated ours a few years ago and have an advanced directive and a living will. Our attorney, who specializes in these affairs, made many copies. One for our each of our two executors (two of our kids), and several for us. She advised us to keep one in our car trunk, one easily accessible in the house, one in our safe deposit box, and one in our personal safe.

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Suzieque

In my opinion, it is careless and Inconsiderate to not have a will or a trust or something of that type. And a power of attorney and health care proxy. When my parents were in their final days I learned how important those things are. During the grieving process while one is dying last thing you want to do is be running around trying to get legal things in place such as power of attorney, etc. And to not have things in a trust or I will need to probate.


The kindest and easiest thing is you can do for your heirs or anyone left behind is to be prepared.

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colleenoz

Both my mother and stepfather (in addition to having wills) planned and paid for their funerals years before their deaths. Apart from anything else it meant we _knew_ what they wanted instead of having to speculate. And we would have got it wrong, because as it turned out, neither wanted a service.

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terilyn

Yes, everything set up in trusts, I really want to change a major beneficiary but DH won’t. He remembers the adoption judge saying if you buy one an ice cream cone you buy one for the other. Frustrating.

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marilyn_c

Yes, but there are a couple of things that are more pertinent now that we need to include.

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maifleur01

I understand that state laws are different but here if you title things correctly you can pass most things through to who you want to have them by simply adding them to your accounts as payable on death. If you have bequests to others than your family then you need the will at a minimum to pass things to others that you would not want to do a transfer on death to. As an example I need a will to direct that my house be sold and long term friends and a couple of charities receive amounts but everything other than the house is passed either as beneficiaries or transfer on death designations on accounts.

My biggest problem with trusts besides the expenses has always been the IRS taxes on withdrawals. Some states you really need a trust but not in this one unless you have a very large amount of assets or part of those assets is a business.

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Elizabeth

Yes, DH and I have a Living Trust/Will/Medical Directive. There are copies with our first named executor and attorney. Our copy is in the safe and one key is with one of our children.....just in case. I have no qualms about giving them a key to the safe though some folks are shocked to hear that I have. I trust them with my life why not with money or possessions?

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Mystical Manns

I have all financial accounts set up to pay to my son at TOD (time of death). The car is titled in my name and his at TOD.

I went through the military to have my will and associated documents done, at no cost. Then created a package which is in my safe, with color-coded tabs (which my son got quite a kick out of when I showed him).

The first one is ... Do this first ... contact the Army, SS, and retirements (and of course listed all phone numbers, personal identification numbers, account numbers) to stop incoming checks. Then the directives and will. With the directives and what they each have the power to do, I have my instructions for what I would PREFER he do (ie: my idea of what Quality of Life is, to be considered before a DNR).

When my DH died, he wasn't quite THAT meticulous in leaving me able to maneuver through the legalities. But we'd talked a lot about what to do and when, so I was semi-prepared. When it hits you, (or anyway, when it hit ME), I was in a just-get-the-next-thing-done state, and not thinking clearly, so the advance preparations were helpful. Since my son doesn't live with me and we don't talk daily, I didn't want him to be clueless.

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matti5

It's really important to review your trust/will/directives every few years. Most people think it's a once and done thing, never to look at it again. DH and I just updated ours. Tax laws have changed since 2009 when we initially set up our trust. What made sense then, doesn't now. We also updated other things, such as wanting the cremated remains of our past labs, cats buried with us in our caskets. The trust language states them as "property".

Our kids have a copy of our trust and access to all of our important documents.

Our current attorney had us fill out info for our death certificates which I thought was a great idea.

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rob333 (zone 7a)

I'm trying to do mine as I work on Mom's stuff. She did a lot of her stuff as she did a lot of her mother's. Paperwork and accounts, we got right. She never got around to cleaning out her stuff. That part I keep scaled down and would not be embarrassed, Godforbid, if I died in a car accident today and someone had to clean it all out.


She loves clothes. More than you can imagine. A walk-in closet. A bifold door closet. And, get this, 2/3 full garage with boxes of clothes, about five feet tall. We are NOT looking forward to clearing it out. We, the children, have discussed (almost arguing) about what to do with it. We took out the best of the best summer stuff and will shortly do that with winter stuff. That won't even put a dent in it. Shoes to match. Undergarments to match. We took the basic ones out and put the majority in her new place. That leaves an entire chest of drawers and three more drawers in a dresser, just of foundation garments/lingerie. It's a nightmare. It's why I focused on the easier stuff first, makeup, toiletries, and jewelry. That, is almost pared down. I have an entire chest of drawers left to go through on jewelry, and I bet we'll come across more, but the rest, I tossed the worst, gave her more than enough to have for months to come, and it's done.


Let's don't talk about the mountain of paper she has in my office that I'll tackle once she's all settled in. It's a literal mountain. May name it Mount Louise. She never threw anything anyway. I guess we're lucky she tossed empty containers, most of the time.

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maifleur01

To go with Mystical's comment about contacting the various places to stop checks, I am making an assumption that will also be direct deposit. Many of those type of things are prepared at least a month in advance and cannot be stopped. When calling try to asked if they need to be returned. Some will, some may not especially if there is a spouse.

Check with your bank about how they handle deaths and be aware that things change. My husband added me to his safe deposit box as a signature shortly after we married but not as joint. If he had had a will I would not be able to access the box until an Executorship was granted. Some banks grant spouses rights that other people with signing rights are not granted. Being only a signer does not mean that a person can access and account after the owner is dead.

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Kathsgrdn

Maifleur01, the lawyer told me not to put it in a safe deposit box, for the reason you stated.

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maifleur01

Katsgrdn thank you for the confirmation. Many years ago I ran across a listing of things you should and should not keep in a safe deposit box and wills were number one on the list along with your birth certificate, Social Security and Medicare cards, and proof of insurance. Once retired the Social Security card would have less importance than when it used to be used as your Medicare card. They were all things that people would need immediate access to when they needed to provide them. Will see if I can find a current list and post that as a new thread.

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nickel_kg

I learned something new -- I need to ask the credit union about access to the safe deposit box upon my &/or DH's death. Thanks for mentioning it.

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