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jon4pres 09-01-2011 9:33 PM

Making Last Will and Testament
Making this is something that I have put off for way to long. Any suggestions about ways to go about it. I have a daughter and I just want to make sure that all of my assets go to her and that my brother is the conservator over them until she is older.

My worry with not having a will is that if I were to die she would get the assets and her mother(my exwife) would squander anything that she would get away before she got to use it for useful expenses.

Do I need a lawyer?
Is the $69 form from Legal Zoom good enough?
Is there somewhere that I can download a form for free?
Can I just write it on the back of a napkin and have it notarized?;)

Do I need to set up a trust? At this point I don't have very many assets but hopefully if I live a little longer that will change.




shawndoggy 09-02-2011 5:10 AM

Disclosure: I am a lawyer.

I've seen corporate docs from legal zoom and they are garbage and create more problems than they purport to solve.

Ask friends and family for a legal recommendation... Especially if you know someone wealthy. Pay once, get it done right.

No, you probably don't need a trust yet.

bendow 09-02-2011 5:11 AM

I suggest a living trust instead of a will

If it were me, I'd want to visit a lawyer in person to ensure no mistakes were made and for peace of mind.

brettw 09-02-2011 11:38 AM

If you're just going with a basic will, I'd say just go with something like willmaker. I've use it before, and it's very easy to go through. It'll serve the basic purpose you need.

jaybee 09-02-2011 12:31 PM

+1 for a living trust.

shawndoggy 09-02-2011 2:02 PM

a trust can serve two functions... to allow you to avoid probate and to get better estate tax treatment. It only works if you title assets in the trust (everything... your car your house your bank accounts etc). If you don't get all of your assets into the trust, then the trust is ineffective as to those assets, and the default rules (your will or intestacy) will apply. So it's not really an either-or choice between a will or trust it's a choice between just a will or a will and a trust.

Trusts are more complicated and more state law specific. Pay once, get it done right.

brhanley 09-02-2011 3:02 PM

Let's just say that you get what you pay for. For instance, though state laws vary, wills are typically "witnessed" and are not "notarized." Maybe you make that mistake if you do it yourself, causing uncertainty and a potential fight down the road...eating up any "savings" from DIY. You can probably also get documents to establish your health care directives in the event you are incapacitated (remember Schiavo woman from Florida and all the fight/cost over what to do with life support?), etc.

puckinshat 09-02-2011 6:18 PM

2 items in this world you get what you pay for:
1. Suits
2. Lawyers

Buy cheap, you buy twice.

three6ty 09-02-2011 8:42 PM

True or false - Do you even bother with will's / Trust's or do you let your staff ( paralegals) handle them. esp in this case where there is not much to it.

shawndoggy 09-02-2011 9:20 PM

I don't do them at all.... I am not an estate planner. I didn't do MY OWN will -- I had someone who specializes in that area do my estate planning documents.

I can assure you that in my firm a lawyer is responsible for the output and it's a good document set. I cannot speak to other firms' practices.

jon4pres 09-07-2011 9:06 PM

Looks like I need to call a lawyer.

My parents have a trust that transfers my part of their estate to my children in the case of me dying before my parents do. Will my will/trust have any power over their assets in the situation that I die before my parents?

Again my fear is protecting the assets for my daughter from my ex-wife.

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