How to create a will? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-18-2009, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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We would like to make a will but don't have a lot of money. I read about will kits in another post - what is this? Is there any free/cheap format that we can use?

Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this.

Mom to DS 12/07 and DD 11/13, plus a bunch of chickens, dogs, and cats.

Moving past many years of infertility and always thinking of my friends in the infertility forums.

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Old 02-18-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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These kits are about $20, and are DIY: you fill in the relevant names etc, and either they send you an official document (if online) or...I don't know how the kind you buy at Staples works. But I'm interested in people's opinions/BTDTs about this as well.

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Old 02-18-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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In most states, wills are pretty easy to do, especially if you have no assets and you have a bio-relative that is "logical" for a guardian choice. There are many services where essentially you get a template, fill it out, type it up exactly as directed, and then take it to your bank to get it notorized.

If, however, you have significant financial assets or think that there may be legal challenges to your choice of guardian for your children, I do think it's in your best interest to perhaps do the quickie will now so you have *something* but to save up the money for a real face to face estate planning attorney. But I would only drop that amount of cash if there was reason to.

Have you checked with your state bar association? Lots of times they'll have links to pages of information about what probate in your state is like (some are more friendly than others, that's for sure), and some free resources as well. Then once you know about your state, you'll be able to shop for low cost services more successfully.
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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We did a DIY on the computer. We had to get it notarized and send a copy to our state, I think. It was pretty cheap and as far as I know, it's legit.
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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When we had our will done, our lawyer spent much more time with us on a 'living will' and medical directives than on the actual division of assets (which are pretty minimal). His reasoning was that for people in our stage of life, we're much more likely to have something medically go wrong than we are to die. What kind of extraordinary measures do you want (if any)? Who's going to make medical decisions for you if you're incapacitated? If both you and your spouse are incapacitated?

So, if you go the DIY route, I would strongly encourage you to think about the whole package and do the medical stuff too.

Make sure too that you check with the people you're putting in - are they OK being guardians for your children? Are they OK with being your medical decision maker? Are they OK being the executor?

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Old 02-18-2009, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, this is a lot more to think about than I anticipated. Could you suggest a DIY package that includes the medical stuff - I had not thought of that. We are planning to leave our kids with friends - not family - even though we have perfectly reasonable siblings (we just don't think that they would raise our kids the way we would, and they would not make them go to college). We are actually quite certain this will piss off DHs brother, but we don't really care . I guess that means that a lawyer makes more sense?

Thanks for the replies. We actually do have the money to make one - it is just money that I don't want to spend. But it sounds like it would be better to be safe and spend it?

Mom to DS 12/07 and DD 11/13, plus a bunch of chickens, dogs, and cats.

Moving past many years of infertility and always thinking of my friends in the infertility forums.

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Old 02-18-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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Hire a lawyer. Do you drill your own teeth?

No, seriously. DH and I are both attorneys. Every.Single.Case in law textbooks seem to start with someone trying to save money by writing their own will, contract, etc. It is well worth it to use a professional for something so important, *especially* since you have children. Contact your state bar or ask friends and family for recommendations to someone reputable in your area. The peace of mind is well worth the price.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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Even without many assets it is really complex. I recently got all my ducks in a row since I wanted this all figured out before baby comes. I believe it is worth the money to hire a good estate planning lawyer.. I was really pleased with mine, but found that everything was a lot more complex and involved than I ever imagined, and these documents have HUGE ramifications if and when they are needed- especially with children. I would say, go with a lawyer, and get it all done- will, power of attorney for healthcare, " for finance, guardian of remains, power of atty for healthcare of minor child, nomination of guardian (this one is not binding, at least in many states, but it is helpful to make your wishes known- especially if that might be controversial or go against expectation as you mention- in my case the nomination of guardian is not the bio father so we had to include specific case law as to why and examples and all) Good luck!

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Old 02-19-2009, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. Sounds like good advice, You have all convinced my to hire a lawyer.

Mom to DS 12/07 and DD 11/13, plus a bunch of chickens, dogs, and cats.

Moving past many years of infertility and always thinking of my friends in the infertility forums.

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