questionsdo you have a will?

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vote-for14vote-against

Yes, I have a will and I only have one child and I don't have much to leave behind. Everyone should have one; I know it's a scary thing to do and requires an acknowledgment (subconciously, at least) that one is going to die some day. However, leaving it for the family to figure out is really selfish. It's not all that hard to do. I had a lawyer do mine; it cost 75.00, although that was 20 years ago. At the same time, I had a living will and I don't remember what it's called now, but the papers for my daughter to take over for me to make legal and financial decisions should I become unable to do so. Of course, it helps that I trust my daughter completely. Having to choose between several children or friends would have made it more difficult. I'm retired now, but as a social worker, working with grieving families, I saw what a mess there was when there was no will. So, please, if you dont have one, just do it!

vote-for9vote-against

Since this is a branch off of the question I posted earlier, I would like to point out my aunt who passed had an appointment scheduled next week to have a will done. That is pretty sad in itself...

I myself have a will, but I need to update it as I had it done many years ago....

vote-for8vote-against

You mean, I'm going to die someday?

But no, I don't have a will. It's also just me and my cats, so if something happened to me, I'm sure surviving family would just sell all my junk, and throw the cats to the SPCA.

Shoot, is it possible to leave the cats to someone, or name a guardian or something for them? I don't want my babies going to the shelter :(

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@baybei: before I got married, I originally had an agreement (not a will though) with my brother for him to take care of my cat. I actually had him as the beneficiary for all of my life insurance, 401k etc not only because he was the most likely candidate but also to help provide for the cat's bills. My understanding is you can do that sort of thing, but it probably helps to not have it come as a surprise.

vote-for10vote-against

@susan11125: What originally prompted me to push my parents and myself to do this was a friend whose wife died without a will. He said that in addition to the grieving, dealing with her estate without a will was so difficult even though in theory it should have been straight forward that no one should ever do that to a loved one. It really stayed with me. My husband is convinced it is no big deal, but he has the most complicated family situation out the whole thing, so I know our will is probably the most important. I'm putting a reminder in my phone to make an appointment on Monday.

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Yes, I have a will. It explicitly names my precious and adored daughter as my only legal heir, even though, by law, if I had no will, she would automatically be my heir. I leave nothing to chance. It also has a clause that, should she not survive me, that the estate will be divided equally between a local abused women and children's shelter, and the EFF. I have also made provision that, should the shelter be out of business, that the entire sum will then go to the EFF. In addition, as part of the will, I have a very clear and explicit "Do Not Resuscitate" section, which attests to my desires in that matter.

When my daughter was a juvenile, I had a different will, naming my brother and his wife as her guardians. Please consider this, at least, if you do not have a will. Consider who will best look after, and love your children, in the event of your death.

You may specify that someone look after your animals, but then consider making them your beneficiary as well.

[More]

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I have a will and I believe everyone should have one whether you have family to leave things to or not. I had mine set up when I was in my 20's and I took my parents to set theirs up. It was done at a lawyer's office, he wrote it up, we signed, and he filed it at the courthouse with the Register of Wills. It cost me around $100, and each time I have it changed, I think I get charged $25 (changed it when I got married).

@baybei - yes, whether you would want it to go to them or not, if you don't have a will, your things will go to your closest relative, and they will be able to do with things as they please, so if you want someone to take after your cats then you should name them in your will.

vote-for14vote-against

[Continued] This is an excellent question, and I'm hoping that you all consider at least a brief visit to the web site mentioned, where (as long as your estate is simple) you can simply draw up a legal document stating your wishes, and have it notarized. You should also let others know of its existence.

If you have special items that are family treasures, please consider naming them out specifically. Consider family feelings (you should know your own family best), and try to consider whether Cousin Mabel expected the ancestral china (that none of your children want anyway) to go to her.

A death in the family tends to bring out the worst in people It's sad, but that's just the way it is. Emotions are raw, and people lose a bit of what makes them civilized. Try to leave a little statement of love behind, if you can.

When you've finished this will, put it (or at least a copy) in a safe deposit box.

[More: Estate Planning]

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Yes. Had to have one while in the Air Force.

Updated ours just before tiring and (so far) no updates needed.

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@shrdlu: great point about family treasures. I had a great-aunt who had no children of her own. She divided her estate among her nieces and nephews, but she also took the time to will small items of specific meaning to all of her great-nieces and great-nephews. Little household items that hold little monetary value but something to remember her by - and knowing that she picked it out special for me makes it that much more valuable. Both of my grandmothers (each long survived their husbands) moved into retirement homes, so when they did, they divided up the majority of the family treasures at that time, while everyone was alive and in sound mind. Still some contentiousness, but much better than other circumstances.

vote-for13vote-against

[continued] Not everyone has a simple estate, and web sites are just not going to accomplish what you need. I have a lawyer, and I really recommend lawyer.com for finding one, if you don't already have one. It's a pretty good resource. Of course, I still checked on the firm. As I'd said, consider family treasures. You may also want to make provisions for your spouse, with a codicil that specifically takes care of things like:

Remarriage (you might want a trust set up for your children)
Incapacitation (the estate might be put in a trust to protect the surviving spouse)
Children (as I'd said, who takes care of them, and whether money is to be divided equally, or set up in blind trusts, etc)

Consider who is the executor of your estate. My daughter would be the primary, and I've named a close friend as the second.

Family trusts are popular, but they can have real disadvantages. Don't be talked into one until you've talked it out, and considered all its effects.

vote-for8vote-against

Oh, good to know, guess I better look into finding and naming some people to take care of my babies if I were to pass on. I love them too much to think of them going to a shelter. As far as most of my possessions go, my family selling them would benefit them greatly, and I wouldn't mind. But, I must look into setting up a fund for the kitties so the person I ask to take over their care can take care of them. I wouldn't want to burden them with that, especially the cat who is on a special diet, it's too expensive to just leave him to someone without some money to pay for it all. So, can the website help with that, or am I better off finding a lawyer? It's creepy to think of writing a will, but I know of at least one family member that didn't, and I know she wanted me to get her engagement/wedding rings. Instead they went to her son. So, I guess it's definitely something I should look into, no matter how much it creeps me out.

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I have a will to live, thus negating my need for a will.

vote-for7vote-against

Get a will and establish a trust. Especially with a mixed family and multiple assets. I've been through this personally now 3 times. One even ended up in a lawsuit. People's emotions and/or true colors seem to come out in full force in the wake of a passing. Setting up a trust that dictates your exact wishes and assigning one executer trustee (or one co-executer trustee from each side of the mixed family) will really help to limit the bickering and ensure your wishes are carried out as you want them, as well as cut down on the level of paperwork and decisions. Don't be afraid to ask the children what heirlooms, artwork, etc the personally want and write it in to the will. It is written in to my father's will that I get his slot machine. None of my step-siblings, or even my step-mother, can argue about that so it is mitigated up front. It sucks to think about, but after going through what I have I don't want to leave any room for drama after my passing.

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@coreyking: I was thinking along that line. I'm one of the anomalies....I don't have a will, but I have a way. :)

Seriously, everyone who has stuff to leave someone or "kids" to take care of should have a will. Tomorrow could be your last day.

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I originally planned to life for eternity, but having walked away from at least one accident where someone asked where the bodies were I expect I have used up a fair number of my 9 lives and need to consider others and that time when I run out of lives....

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Absolutely. And if you want to see a family get estranged, watch what happens when a parent dies without a will or a current will.

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Don’t put your will in your safe deposit box unless you consult with an attorney and make sure that your state will allow your executor to open it after your death to retrieve your will. Some states put a freeze on safe deposit boxes when the owner dies and your executor would need a court order to get it opened.

vote-for7vote-against

I have not only a traditional will but a living will. Everyone, even those who are single with no kids should do this. About three years ago, I had a very serious surgery that I had a chance of dying from. When I was going into surgery, I made sure to tell everyone "do not resuscitate," if there were any major complications. Because I did not have a living will, my family would get to make the decision on what to do if there were any complications. My family did not agree with my views and were prepared to do what it takes to keep me alive. Ultimately, I survived so they did not have to make any decisions, but as soon as I was able to walk and talk again, I went to see a lawyer and put together the traditional will and living will.

Sorry if I kinda veered off here, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew how important these documents are.

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We need to update ours. My youngest son keeps telling me to be nice to him as he will be picking out our nursing home and we get back at him by telling him he is not mentioned in our wills (our wills only mention our oldest by name, even though it covers any children we would have).