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Wills and things....

Wills and things....

Old May 3rd 2013, 4:18 pm
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Default Wills and things....

So, I’ve been in the US around 10 years now and am finally thinking I should make a will here (I just have one that I made in the UK at the moment). I’m a LPR with moveable assets in both countries.

I’ve read various articles and threads here about having two wills and it seems there are a lot of different opinions on the matter – I would have thought if they were identical it wouldn’t be a problem, but who knows? My UK solicitor doesn’t seem to and has suggested I contact a US attorney as it is all related to your current domicile.

I have approached a couple of attorneys, saying I’d like some advice just to make a very straightforward will and both have come back suggesting all sorts of additional things – powers of attorney, living wills, etc., etc. at a cost of around $2,000 (for me and my husband).

I think this sounds like a lot of money (especially if I move states I might have to do it all again?) – so I was wondering what other people had done and how much it had cost them?

Also, if anyone in the South Charlotte area had a recommendation for a good attorney, that would be useful too.

Thanks!
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Old May 3rd 2013, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

You can do your own on line Ray has a link, or do a living Will with a lawyer, anything from around $150 to $500....$2,000 is insane.

Go to www.legalzoom.com

Last edited by Poppy girl; May 3rd 2013 at 4:28 pm.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by Poppy girl View Post
You can do your own on line Ray has a link, or do a living Will with a lawyer, anything from around $150 to $500....$2,000 is insane.

Go to www.legalzoom.com
Yeah, unless your affairs are complex, or you're a millionaire, a few hundred USD should cover it. $2,000 is nuts!
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Thanks Poppy/Pulaski for your replies. I thought $2,000 was crazy too - sigh.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:06 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

I agree $2K is nuts...but we have experienced similar...if not worse because they wanted to bill us per hour. Our lawyer wanted to set up all sorts of trusts etc...wanted to know exactly how much money/assets we had...where it was etc etc etc. We declined...then we were hit with a $800 bill for a consultation.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; May 3rd 2013 at 5:27 pm. Reason: typo
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

My late husband wrote a will on his own, without legal help, back in 1987. In the will, he simply designated what I should do with the house, his money, his belongings, etc. Never had a problem with it.

In 2003, my elderly parents gave power of attorney to my sister and me. They also did a living will, listing my sister and I as executor. We did all the forms ourselves online, printed them out, had everything notarized, and it was all fine. Never had a problem with it. The hospitals and doctors all had a copy of the powers of attorney and the living wills. Nothing was ever an issue.

Cost was zero in both cases above.

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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

You can use online software to get a basic estate plan with a Will, HIPAA Authorization, Durable Power of Attorney for Finances and Living Will and Healthcare Proxy for around 60 bucks. I can't point to any sites that do this in the US because I am affiliated with them but someone like Legal Zoom or Rocket Lawyer could do a similar job for a bit more money.

Only one reason why you shouldn't go that route and that is the foreign assets - if they are substantial then that could complicate matters and mean an attorney is required.

$2k for estate planning and $800 for a consultation is utterly ridiculous and the reason why DIY law is the way to go - at least I hope it is or I have been wasting ym time for the last 7 years.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I agree $2K is nuts...but we have experienced similar...if not worse because they wanted to bill us per hour. Our lawyer wanted to set up all sorts of trusts etc...wanted to know exactly how much money/assets we had...where it was etc etc etc. We declined...then we were hit with a $800 bill for a consultation.
Americans, and especially American lawyers and banks, love trusts. IMO you can mostly do without them, and in any case once you're dead you're dead, and trying to control what your kids do with your estate after it has been divvyed up is pointless, unless you're providing for minor or disabled children or grandchildren. The primary beneficiaries of such complex schemes are the aforementioned lawyers and banks!
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Old May 3rd 2013, 6:08 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Americans, and especially American lawyers and banks, love trusts. IMO you can mostly do without them, and in any case once you're dead you're dead, and trying to control what your kids do with your estate after it has been divvyed up is pointless, unless you're providing for minor or disabled children or grandchildren. The primary beneficiaries of such complex schemes are the aforementioned lawyers and banks!
Exactly. We only have one child...so everything would go to him or me...or our daughter.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Americans, and especially American lawyers and banks, love trusts. IMO you can mostly do without them, and in any case once you're dead you're dead, and trying to control what your kids do with your estate after it has been divvyed up is pointless, unless you're providing for minor or disabled children or grandchildren. The primary beneficiaries of such complex schemes are the aforementioned lawyers and banks!
That they do and the irony is most don't need them as the state exclusions are more than enough for most people unless your a multi millionaire.

Echo what others said. $2000 is extortion - its fair based on what they think you will pay but no need and can be done for a lot less using simple software like legalzoom. Also, I suggest checking your company if you are working often they have legal plans which you can sign up for if not already automatically signed up, and simple wills/trusts are very often free in most plans.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I agree $2K is nuts...but we have experienced similar...if not worse because they wanted to bill us per hour. Our lawyer wanted to set up all sorts of trusts etc...wanted to know exactly how much money/assets we had...where it was etc etc etc. We declined...then we were hit with a $800 bill for a consultation.
Sounds familiar - the $2K guy was asking all about our assets etc - thanks for letting me know!

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Americans, and especially American lawyers and banks, love trusts. IMO you can mostly do without them, and in any case once you're dead you're dead, and trying to control what your kids do with your estate after it has been divvyed up is pointless, unless you're providing for minor or disabled children or grandchildren. The primary beneficiaries of such complex schemes are the aforementioned lawyers and banks!
Couldn't agree more.... trouble is they prey on your worries and insecurities about such things, of which I have many!

Impressed at everyone who has 'done it themselves' - don't think I've got the confidence to do that - but it seems like if you have it might be the way to go. As to HIPAA - I have no idea what that is (I'll google later) or why I should want it....
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Old May 3rd 2013, 6:38 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by pooks View Post
.... don't think I've got the confidence to do that - but it seems like if you have it might be the way to go. As to HIPAA - I have no idea what that is (I'll google later) or why I should want it....
Start with a list of what you have, and a list of who you want to leave something/ anything to.

Match off specific assets to specific beneficiaries, until you have whatever's left, then say all other assets to be sold/liquidated and shared e.g. x% to A, y% to B, z% to C, etc. Or specific amounts e.g. $50,000 + p% to A, $25,000 + q% to B, r% to C, etc..

A spreadsheet is a great tool to use. A piece of paper will also work!

Last edited by Pulaski; May 3rd 2013 at 7:06 pm.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 7:22 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Start with a list of what you have, and a list of who you want to leave something/ anything to.

Match off specific assets to specific beneficiaries, until you have whatever's left, then say all other assets to be sold/liquidated and shared e.g. x% to A, y% to B, z% to C, etc. Or specific amounts e.g. $50,000 + p% to A, $25,000 + q% to B, r% to C, etc..

A spreadsheet is a great tool to use. A piece of paper will also work!
Think I might be able to manage that! but does anyone have any thoughts on the two wills (one UK/one US) issue?
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Old May 3rd 2013, 7:33 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by pooks View Post
Think I might be able to manage that! but does anyone have any thoughts on the two wills (one UK/one US) issue?
I'm in two minds, because while I know people do it, it may open up unintended ambiguities, as a will is, to give it its full title, your "last will and testament", and usually includes wording that this will replaces all prior wills. So you could inadvertently void your British will by writing a subsequent US will, or vice versa. Also you can't have two different documents that are both "the last ... ".

If the beneficiaries under both wills are mostly the same, with the same remainder man, then the risk might be small, but the remainder man (person who gets "everything else") under the later dated will could try to challenge the earlier will in the other country, arguing that what is listed in it is part of the "everything else".

Personally I lean towards a single will, but then I have few assets left in the UK.

PS. Pooks, do you have PMs blocked?

Last edited by Pulaski; May 3rd 2013 at 7:47 pm.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Wills and things....

Originally Posted by pooks View Post
Think I might be able to manage that! but does anyone have any thoughts on the two wills (one UK/one US) issue?
We have one will but have property and assets in 3 countries...this may change in the near future. Ours is relatively simple as to who will be the beneficiary...either him, me or our daughter.
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