State laws vary. In my opinion, it is worth the cost to have a lawyer that specializes in estate planning draw up your documents. Better to spend a few bucks up front than to maybe cause unnecessary confusion and or legal challenges after you are gone.
If you only need simple documents, I am sure an experienced lawyer could have that drawn up with minimal hours.
Yes, providing they meet State law criteria. Check with your local State laws for requirements in content, notary/witness and filing. There are some things you can do in same States and not others in regards to wording. Just remember even with a LW&T, anyone can protest and throw it into probate. Some States automatically put estates into probate at a dollar threshold amount. Along with a will you should look at a trust. You can find web sites that list State requirements.
I had a last will and testament,power of attorney and a living will made up for our daughter, my wife and myself about 5 years ago. The cost was about $600 but they are done correctly. I have been an executor for my mom's estate and helped my mom with her husband and her sister's estate. A will is a critical document.
My dad died from lung cancer in 1974. He did not have a will until a few days before he died. He was unable to get out of bed so our attorney dictated a simple will over the telephone to me. My dad was able to write out the will in his own handwriting and to sign and date it. I had his doctor sign the will as a witness. After he died, the hand written will was sufficient to pass probate and transfer all of their joint assets and his individual assets to my mom with a minimum of effort.
I have a will. Also I have put my kids on all my financial assets as
beneficiary. That way there is no probate or cost to wait on.
I have given them a list of all financial accounts, computer passwords,
and anything else they need to know about.
When my wife died, it was quite a job taking care of all her finances.
The hardest was her life insurance that she had taken at her job. She
left me no paper work on it. I knew she had the insurance because
she told she did, but with no paper work, who do I call to collect it?
Yep, she insisted on a will but then left no trace of her life insurance.
It took me several days of calling various departments of her employer,
but I finally ran it down. I had told her to make the kids the beneficiary
of the policy, but for some reason she made me beneficiary. It was
okay though, a lawyer told me that in our state I could just sign it
over to the kids, and make them the beneficiary.
A will is good, but you should leave complete information like I have
with all my financial accounts, the account numbers etc. Just things
like computer passwords can help. That way they can get on to online
services that you have and that help takes care of things.
You should put more thought into this than just a will.
Why be silly or cheap. Get it done with a lawyer, explain your circumstances and assets. They will advise you how simple you can do what you want. Ya think folks with a bit of a bigger pile don't do this.....you'd be wrong. Do it right and update as time passes and circumstances change. On line stuff is not on your side. Why make problems for your heirs?
Probate is the orderly distribution of a decedents assets. What's to avoid....enter the will and the testamentary documents to the court and you should be able to proceed. Accounts with beneficiary designations pass outside of probate, meaning the beneficiary takes title upon the death of the owner. You'll need to provide death certs for some of these AND that can be a problem but it's a state issue, you can't fix their procedures. But make it as easy as you can.
See your lawyer, not your on line browser. From an experienced, practiced guy.
Well, you may just not get the right thing from seeing a lawyer. Lawyers
like wills, they get paid to do them, they also get paid when the will is
distributed by the court, so why would Lawyers not like wills.
I remember when my wife's parents made up their will. I went along
with them to the lawyer. They laid out all the details and I asked the
lawyer if he could set it up as a trust, as easily? I forgot the type of trust
that I was asking about. He said yes, he could set it up either way. So
I said to the parents. why don't you set it up as a trust, that way probate
will be avoided, and the proceeds can go to all the kids (5) right away.
They did not know which way to set it up even with probate being avoided
with the trust so to give them a clue, I ask the lawyer, "If this was your
estate decribed here, which way would you set it up?", He replied "I
would do the trust". This just bounced off my father-in-law and mother-
in-law. They chose the will.
When they died, my wife, the oldest of the 5 kids was the executor and
she had lots of stuff to accomplish, for the probate, kept her pretty
busy. and it took more than half a year as I recall.
My kids will have everything laid out and take care of it just a few days.
A will is there, but everything will be pretty much distributed before
anyone even reads it. By the way a lawyer did the will, and this was
the second we had done by a lawyer, and as it turns out, we did not
use either one when she died, everything was just transferred to me
because of the way we had things set up. Two wills, and neither one
ever used yet, when I die, maybe one will get used, but I really can't
think of much that is not taken care of already. About the only thing
they might need it for is my car, which is in my name only. That one
might cause some delay. I guess I could sign the title on that one
and they could fill in the other stuff like the date later, and have that
taken care of, but I plan on living quite a while yet, so I probably
won't do that.