Reason to have a Will?

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Kywildcat
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Reason to have a Will?

Post by Kywildcat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:10 pm

Is there any specific reason why I should get a will at this point given my current situation?

1. Single, early 30s (good health). No kids
2. Have reviewed beneficiaries on 401k, Roth, and work-provided life insurance policies.
3. Have a taxable account and home equity that would total mid to high five figures at this time.

I think that the only reason a will would be needed would be for my taxable account and house, but I think it would just by default go to my parents and that is fine at this time. Anything I am missing?

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flamesabers
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by flamesabers » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:33 pm

Here are some reasons to get a will in your situation:

1. If you die without a will (interstate), what happens to your estate depends greatly on the laws of your state.
2. Having a will means you'll be able to nominate an executor for your estate as opposed to relying on a judge to appoint an executor.
3. If your parents died suddenly in a car crash or something shortly after your death, who knows what might happen to your estate. If the state is unable to locate any of your relatives, it's possible your state might end up claiming your estate.

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dm200
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by dm200 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:34 pm

Kywildcat wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:10 pm
Is there any specific reason why I should get a will at this point given my current situation?
1. Single, early 30s (good health). No kids
2. Have reviewed beneficiaries on 401k, Roth, and work-provided life insurance policies.
3. Have a taxable account and home equity that would total mid to high five figures at this time.
I think that the only reason a will would be needed would be for my taxable account and house, but I think it would just by default go to my parents and that is fine at this time. Anything I am missing?
Since you have (or may have) some degree of assets, I would suggest a relatively (inexpensive) simple will. It is true the state has one for you, but wouldn't it be simpler and smoother if you named an executor to facilitate distribution of assets. I believe (in most states) the executor would need to pay or post some kind of bond and a will could delete that requirement. I would also provide for the situation of your parents predeceasing you and then it may not be that simple.

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dm200
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by dm200 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:37 pm

I would also, at the same time, have an advanced medical directive and durable general power of attorney documents done as well. I suspect doing the whole package at once would be less expensive.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:32 pm

Why don't you have beneficiaries on the taxable accounts? Most custodians support that.
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Kywildcat
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by Kywildcat » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:54 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:32 pm
Why don't you have beneficiaries on the taxable accounts? Most custodians support that.
Is Vanguard one of these custodians? I looked once to check if I could add a beneficiary, but I might have missed it.

Good things to think about, specifically about naming an executor and healthcare directives since it's probably cheaper to do all at once. I think I can sign up for a legal plan during open enrollment that covers these documents for free or a nominal fee so might consider doing that next year depending on pricing.

One reason I was thinking of holding off is I'm still at an age where I think life could change a lot relatively quickly so I wasn't sure that I wanted to risk paying for multiple wills in a shorter period of time if things did change.

Rupert
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by Rupert » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:01 pm

Kywildcat wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:54 pm
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:32 pm
Why don't you have beneficiaries on the taxable accounts? Most custodians support that.
Is Vanguard one of these custodians? I looked once to check if I could add a beneficiary, but I might have missed it.

Good things to think about, specifically about naming an executor and healthcare directives since it's probably cheaper to do all at once. I think I can sign up for a legal plan during open enrollment that covers these documents for free or a nominal fee so might consider doing that next year depending on pricing.

One reason I was thinking of holding off is I'm still at an age where I think life could change a lot relatively quickly so I wasn't sure that I wanted to risk paying for multiple wills in a shorter period of time if things did change.
You raise an important point. It's extremely important that you remember to update your will should you marry and/or have a kid. If I were you, I'd use some of the willmaker software, e.g., Quicken/Nolo Willmaker, legalzoom, on the market to make a will and living will right now and then use a lawyer to draft new documents should your family circumstances change in the future. And, yes, you can name a beneficiary for your taxable investing accounts at Vanguard.

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flamesabers
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by flamesabers » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:08 pm

Kywildcat wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:54 pm
One reason I was thinking of holding off is I'm still at an age where I think life could change a lot relatively quickly so I wasn't sure that I wanted to risk paying for multiple wills in a shorter period of time if things did change.
Depending on your state's laws, if you are married when you die your spouse may get some or all of your estate automatically as the surviving spouse.
Rupert wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:01 pm
And, yes, you can name a beneficiary for your taxable investing accounts at Vanguard.
I don't know if you have to sign up for the alert, but every year I get an email from Vanguard reminding me to review my beneficiaries for my accounts.

IowaFarmBoy
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by IowaFarmBoy » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:55 pm

Kywildcat wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:54 pm
Is Vanguard one of these custodians? I looked once to check if I could add a beneficiary, but I might have missed it.
It's not technically called a "beneficiary" on a taxable account. "Beneficiary" is commonly used on retirement accounts and life insurance. On a taxable account, it normally called a "transfer on death" (TOD).

Here is a link to Vanguard's TOD kit: https://vanguard.com/pdf/bdbp.pdf?2210039149

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Sandtrap
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:21 pm

Kywildcat wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:10 pm
Is there any specific reason why I should get a will at this point given my current situation?

1. Single, early 30s (good health). No kids
2. Have reviewed beneficiaries on 401k, Roth, and work-provided life insurance policies.
3. Have a taxable account and home equity that would total mid to high five figures at this time.

I think that the only reason a will would be needed would be for my taxable account and house, but I think it would just by default go to my parents and that is fine at this time. Anything I am missing?
It depends on your unique situation. You could have a beneficiary deed on your home. Beneficiary title on your car. POD or TOD statements for your financial accounts. And so forth. And. . . a will to cover all bases.

JBTX
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by JBTX » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:35 pm

IowaFarmBoy wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:55 pm
Kywildcat wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:54 pm
Is Vanguard one of these custodians? I looked once to check if I could add a beneficiary, but I might have missed it.
It's not technically called a "beneficiary" on a taxable account. "Beneficiary" is commonly used on retirement accounts and life insurance. On a taxable account, it normally called a "transfer on death" (TOD).

Here is a link to Vanguard's TOD kit: https://vanguard.com/pdf/bdbp.pdf?2210039149
This. TOD account. Bypasses probate.

I'd recommend having at least just a simple will, although truthfully, I never did until I got married and kid on the way. Went from no will to complicated wills/trusts/etc.

avalpert
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by avalpert » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:40 pm

If you don't care what happens to your assets after your dead and have no one who is counting on your assets for your support then no you don't need a will. The will isn't for you, it is for those who would inherit the assets and if there is no one who needs it then don't worry about it - you'll be dead after all.

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samsoes
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by samsoes » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:22 am

avalpert wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:40 pm
If you don't care what happens to your assets after your dead and have no one who is counting on your assets for your support then no you don't need a will. The will isn't for you, it is for those who would inherit the assets and if there is no one who needs it then don't worry about it - you'll be dead after all.
Single, no kids here, therefore no heirs. I was thinking of having a bit of posthumous fun. How about specifying in a Will that (for example) the third person to sign page two of the funeral guest book gets the whole boatload? Of course, this would be a secret until the big day.
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aristotelian
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by aristotelian » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:30 am

My uncle died intestate. While he named by kids as beneficiaries and we appreciated his generosity, this created a major headache. With no executor or surviving family, we had to wait for a court appointed public administrator to be able to get a death certificate and move forward the whole process, including having the body disposed of and transfer of assets. At the very least you want a will in order to name an executor so the process can be triggered smoothly and without delay.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:34 am

IowaFarmBoy wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:55 pm
It's not technically called a "beneficiary" on a taxable account. "Beneficiary" is commonly used on retirement accounts and life insurance. On a taxable account, it normally called a "transfer on death" (TOD).
What do you base that on? While Transfer On Death is the mechanism for designating the beneficiaries, they still are that. The word just means someone who benefits from whatever the situation is.

In fact Vanguard specifically refers to them as such.

https://investor.vanguard.com/beneficia ... retirement
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dm200
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by dm200 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:19 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:34 am
IowaFarmBoy wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:55 pm
It's not technically called a "beneficiary" on a taxable account. "Beneficiary" is commonly used on retirement accounts and life insurance. On a taxable account, it normally called a "transfer on death" (TOD).
What do you base that on? While Transfer On Death is the mechanism for designating the beneficiaries, they still are that. The word just means someone who benefits from whatever the situation is.
In fact Vanguard specifically refers to them as such.
https://investor.vanguard.com/beneficia ... retirement
Yes - those named with TOD are called beneficiaries, as are those named in the similar (near idendical) POD (Payable On Death) used for bank and credit union accounts.

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Watty
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by Watty » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:53 am

You may also have work provided life insurance so be sure to keep the beneficiary on that updated too.

Be sure to let people know where the important paperwork is too, especially things related to your medical care that they might need to get in a hurry.

Keep a list of your assets. Someone might be named as a beneficiary on an IRA but if they don't have anyway to know that the IRA exists that it would complicate things.
dm200 wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:37 pm
I would also, at the same time, have an advanced medical directive and durable general power of attorney documents done as well. I suspect doing the whole package at once would be less expensive.
+1

These may be more important to you than the will.

With a will you can also name a person or charity that will get the assets if your parents are not living when you die. If you don't then in some situations it might might go to the state or some relative you have never meet.

avalpert
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by avalpert » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:13 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:22 am
avalpert wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:40 pm
If you don't care what happens to your assets after your dead and have no one who is counting on your assets for your support then no you don't need a will. The will isn't for you, it is for those who would inherit the assets and if there is no one who needs it then don't worry about it - you'll be dead after all.
Single, no kids here, therefore no heirs. I was thinking of having a bit of posthumous fun. How about specifying in a Will that (for example) the third person to sign page two of the funeral guest book gets the whole boatload? Of course, this would be a secret until the big day.
Or something along the lines of Brewster's Millions - but you have to fake your own death to make it worthwhile so you can at least watch it unfold.

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dm200
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by dm200 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:26 pm

If the beneficiary of an account (life insurance, retirement, TOD/POD) predeceases you, then the balance would become part of the estate and you would probably want to have a will to have your wishes accomplished for that money.

nova1968
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by nova1968 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:25 am

I am also single, no kids, close to retirement and have questioned putting a will together. I had one done at no charge when I was working for a contractor on a military base in 1991 leaving the assets to my parents. Now almost 30 years later my mother is aging and I have siblings who are well off financially and I don't want to leave them the bulk of my assets.
I contacted various Will and trust Attorneys to make changes leaving the assets and my home to charity and I was quoted 3 to 4 k to make the changes. I'm not sure what that difference fees is between a simple will to charity for 10k vs 1M in assets. It seems that beneficiaries on investment accounts is the way to go. Unless there is a spouse or kids involved I am reluctant to pay the 3k to have a will drawn up.

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dm200
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by dm200 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:53 am

nova1968 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:25 am
I am also single, no kids, close to retirement and have questioned putting a will together. I had one done at no charge when I was working for a contractor on a military base in 1991 leaving the assets to my parents. Now almost 30 years later my mother is aging and I have siblings who are well off financially and I don't want to leave them the bulk of my assets.
I contacted various Will and trust Attorneys to make changes leaving the assets and my home to charity and I was quoted 3 to 4 k to make the changes. I'm not sure what that difference fees is between a simple will to charity for 10k vs 1M in assets. It seems that beneficiaries on investment accounts is the way to go. Unless there is a spouse or kids involved I am reluctant to pay the 3k to have a will drawn up.
That seems a bit high for what sounds like a fairly simple will.

harvestbook
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by harvestbook » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:59 am

Our will and medical directive cost around $550.

If nothing else, do it in kindness to whomever has to deal with this stuff after you're safely off the hook.
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.

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Watty
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:57 am

nova1968 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:25 am
I am also single, no kids, close to retirement and have questioned putting a will together. I had one done at no charge when I was working for a contractor on a military base in 1991 leaving the assets to my parents. Now almost 30 years later my mother is aging and I have siblings who are well off financially and I don't want to leave them the bulk of my assets.
I contacted various Will and trust Attorneys to make changes leaving the assets and my home to charity and I was quoted 3 to 4 k to make the changes. I'm not sure what that difference fees is between a simple will to charity for 10k vs 1M in assets. It seems that beneficiaries on investment accounts is the way to go. Unless there is a spouse or kids involved I am reluctant to pay the 3k to have a will drawn up.
I would suspect that their minimum charge to do anything.

I used a LegalZoom bundle to set up my will and the related documents and it was only a couple of hundred dollars for both of us. That included a half hour phone conference with a lawyer and we could have had followup calls with the lawyer without any additional charges if we had more questions. We had a fairly simple situation since the we only have an adult kid and most of the assets are in retirement accounts with a beneficiary. I felt real comfortable with the process since we don't have any minor kids or any complex situations. My impression is that is was just as good as if we had used a local budget lawyer.

If you will be leaving your estate to a charity then you might look at setting up a charitable remainder trust since you can get a lot of tax breaks while you are living. A big question with doing that is what happens if you get married or have or adopt a kid so be sure to consider that possibility.

jlcnuke
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by jlcnuke » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:25 am

nova1968 wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:25 am
I am also single, no kids, close to retirement and have questioned putting a will together. I had one done at no charge when I was working for a contractor on a military base in 1991 leaving the assets to my parents. Now almost 30 years later my mother is aging and I have siblings who are well off financially and I don't want to leave them the bulk of my assets.
I contacted various Will and trust Attorneys to make changes leaving the assets and my home to charity and I was quoted 3 to 4 k to make the changes. I'm not sure what that difference fees is between a simple will to charity for 10k vs 1M in assets. It seems that beneficiaries on investment accounts is the way to go. Unless there is a spouse or kids involved I am reluctant to pay the 3k to have a will drawn up.
My will, financial POA, medical POA, and health directive combined was $500. Not sure where you are, but those quotes are outrageous imo. The trust I had setup at the same time also cost me $500 fyi.

For anyone who cares about the disposition of their assets after they're gone, a will is the way to go imo. You should also have the other documents I mentioned and every attorney I talked to that does wills also does the rest of them (generally together). You can also make a free will, and honestly it's a good option for many people and I don't see any problems with them based on my review of my brother's will (done for free online) and comparison of it to my will (done by an attorney) which revealed no significant differences in makeup, wording, etc that I could find.

JBTX
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Re: Reason to have a Will?

Post by JBTX » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:43 pm

One thing I noticed in TX, and possibly other states, if if you have a properly executed will, probate costs of the will after you die are fairly low ($2500, give or take). If you don't have a will, probate costs are higher.

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