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Will and Living Wills - not sure where to post

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ever since ds1 was born 4 years ago, I've been meaning to create a will. Since 9/11, I've wanted to create a living will. Yikes! I still haven't done this. Just wondering if anyone can relate. Or give advice... Hmmm, I wonder what a poll would show. I've never made one...
post #2 of 10
WE don't have one yet either! : We need to - I have read that in the state of WI if both parents died the child/children will potentially be put in foster care until the court decides who they go to. Not a good thought - I know a lot of foster care homes are great but its the last place I want my daughter to be put if her Mama & Daddy were to die -
THe hard part for us is deciding who she would go to - Everyone wants her. Someone gave us good advice on this though - Discuss it w/ the person you want them to go w/ to make sure they want the responsibility but don't tell anyone else - You'll most likely have a battle. & If its in your will its harder to contest. Plus you don't have to deal w/ people bitch*ng at you because you haven't picked them. You obviously won't be here.
We have un-officially picked DH's youngest brother & my best girlfriend (who live in the same town) to co-raise her - She'll live w/ who ever is most stable at the time (both are unmarried right now) But if she lives w/ dh's brother I want someone from my life playing an active role in her upbring (ie - someone that knows how I want her to be raised)
Its such a hard decision.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
didn't know where to post, but here's a link to the poll:

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi Kate. Yikes - a foster home? I should check out the law here in Texas. My parents are fabulous - very AP friendly, etc. They would be great except for one really bad reason: religion. We are adamant that the children are NOT raised in the church where my parents go, the way I was. That's the biggest obstacle. But my kids love my parents and I want them to maintain a great relationship, w/o the religion, if possible. The in-laws are fine religiously, but they would be about as opposite AP as you can get - as are the aunts and uncles on that side. It's so tough.

Plus, how do you take into consideration the financial / lifestyle adjustment necessary on the caregivers??
post #5 of 10
I have our wills and healthcare directives printed out, I just need to take them to the notary and have them signed - I keep forgetting to do that!

I just have Quicken Lawyer - you can get it for really cheap, I'm sure. An older version would work just as well.

As far as the financial burden of taking care of the kids, both Chad and I have life insurance policies, and of course the house and investments will go with the kids as per the will.
post #6 of 10
I would really caution against 'picking someone and not telling anyone' as far as setting up guardianship for your children goes. Look at it this way; you goal is that should (God forbid) anything awful happen to YOU that there be as little ongoing conflict about who cares for them as possible. If you don't talk to people about it before hand, they're more likely to freak out when they DO find out, and you're more likely to have a court challenge. And you are correct that at least in Wisconsin, if a gaurdian can't be found for minor children they'll go into state care until the court can appoint someone -- ususally, it's a really short procedure, but only if no one is contesting the guardianship and making a fuss.

Also, there are legal limits to what kinds of decisions you can specify when you're setting someone as the guardian of your children, since there's only so much control you can have from beyond the grave. If you're thinking of a complicated scheme with joint custody or something, see a good family lawyer and talk it over with them first!

Also, it's not always the best idea to specifiy who you want to be your children's guardian ONLY in your will bcause a will is only read after you're dead, sometimes days or weeks after-- what if you and your DP (again, God Forbid!) were in a catastrophic car accident and were seriously injured but not dead, but your children still needed day-to-day care.

My humble opinion (with the standard disclaimer that I'm not a lawyer, only a wanky law student, and so this should in no way be considered actual legal advice) is that a durable power of attorney for Health Care and Finances is SOOOO much more important than a will. The state has ways to handle guardianship and property when there is no will, but does not have good ways to handle health care decisions and decisions about finances without a legal document. Also, although all of us will die, hopefully most of us will live to a ripe old age and not die while we have minor children. However, nearly all of us have the potential to become incapacitated, even for a short time -- fall and hit our heads, serious illness, car accident, whatever -- and need someone to make health care decisions for us. Your Powers of Attorney are far more likely to be needed without advance warning than your will!
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay, this is good info. What is a durable power of attorney? I don't understand what this means in reference to "Health Care and Finances."
post #8 of 10
A durable power of attorney is a document that you sign appointing someone else to make certian decisions for you if you can't make them yourself.

There are two main kinds -- those that cover health care decisions (ie. If I'm incapaciatated, do I want feeding tubes? Do I want to be on life support? Who makes decisions about what treatment is best for me? What decisions are they allowed to make?) and those that cover financial decisions (Who has the authority to pay your bills, make medical or insurance claims in your name, pay for medical care, etc. What decisions do they have the power to make.)

The forms for these are different for each state. I know that partnershipforcaring.org has all the health care forms for every state, and those are reasonably easy to do yourself, or there are often people at your Dr.'s office or clinic who can help you if you're confused. I really, really recomend talking to a lawyer or a financial advisor before you do the financial one though... there's a couple of things in there that can trip you up if you're not careful.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
okay, I know what it is now. Thanks. I signed a power of attorney over to my dh when our home sold while we were out of the country and I couldn't leave due to having just had a baby. I guess I hadn't heard the word "durable" before.

wow. it's a lot to consider.
post #10 of 10
We did all this last spring. It was pricey, but we got a will, plus the financial and healthcare power of attorney.

I feel much better about all that now.
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