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2011-03-24 4:42 PM

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Elite
3090
20001000252525
Spokane, WA
Subject: Do-it-yourself will advice
I'm recently divorced and 46. I have a very simple estate consisting of my car, my debts, the stuff in my apartment and my life insurance policies. I asked my brother if I could name him as beneficiary of the life insurance policies--totalling about $300,000. He agreed. I asked him to give the money to my daughter. She's still a minor so I thought it best to channel the funds through my brother--whom I trust completely to do as I've asked.

But after doing a little research, I learn that the life insurance is indeed part of the estate. When I was married, it seemed much simpler--my wife gets the insurance and handles the estate. Now it seems a bit more complicated and it appears I need to do a will to prevent probate. I think.

With such a simple estate, it seems I could do the will myself online. So looking for a little advice. Should I name my brother as executor? I haven't asked him yet, but I'm sure he'd do it. I'd be happy to pay him for the effort. From what I've seen online, 15 or 20k would be fair and would still leave something significant for my daughter. It appears the estate is small enough to be exempt from all estate taxes.

I'm completely heathly, so it's probably unlikely that he'll have to anything. The term policy expires in 15 years when I'm almost 61. Any help or advice would be appreciated--even if the advice is have a lawyer do it.


2011-03-24 5:14 PM
in reply to: #3412976

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Expert
1207
1000100100
Liberty Lake, WA
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice

Have a lawyer do it.

If you want to make sure that your daughter get your money then leave it to her not someone else.  I do not know you or your brother but things happen and sometime people change.  Not to be morbid but suppose your brother gets hurt, up to his neck in medical bills, files for bankrupcy, and then you die and leave him $300K.  I would bet in this case the bill collectors will get their cut before your daughter does.  



Edited by T in Liberty Lake 2011-03-24 5:16 PM
2011-03-24 5:25 PM
in reply to: #3412976

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Elite
3277
20001000100100252525
Minnetonka
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice
We did ours through a community ed class.  Easy, and they had a notary there done in about an hour...
2011-03-24 8:34 PM
in reply to: #3412976

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Champion
7499
50002000100100100100252525
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice
You can name your brother as executor.  You should be able to name your daughter as beneficiary for the life insurance, but you may need to include a guardian or someone to manage the funds for her or establish a trust.  The trust documents could specify a disbursement timetable to address college and guardianship expenses.  I'd say a couple hundred bucks for a lawyer to draft these documents is money well spent. 
2011-03-24 10:26 PM
in reply to: #3412976

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Champion
4942
2000200050010010010010025
Richmond, VA
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice
the other option is to set up a trust, the money is held in a trust and then the trust passes to your daughter when she turns 18.  you have an executor of the trust who can access the money for the daughter on an "as needed" basis.

would think the piece of mind of having a lawyer prepare the documents would be worth the $$ amount.

granted, I'm a lawyer so I'm biased on this - but in my experience, a fair number of clients come to us because they tried to do something on their own, they are now in a pickle and we end up costing them more money b/c they tried to "save on costs" at the outset.

eta: doh - should have just gone "x2" or "+1" on McFuzz...


Edited by condorman 2011-03-24 10:27 PM
2011-03-25 10:32 AM
in reply to: #3412976

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Expert
3126
2000100010025
Boise, ID
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice

 

As long as the beneficiary is not the estate but an individual you shouldn't have to worry about probate. So I would make your daughter the beneficiary if I were you.

That said you should set up a trust so you can decide how the money is spent. Giving $300,000 to a 17 year old kid is a recipe for bad choices on behalf of the kid. A kid with a lump sum like that is most likely going to drop out of school then blow the cash and be in a bad position. A trust could specify where and when the money is spent. So if your daughter getting a good college education is important to you, you can make sure it happens through a trust.

Put your brother in charge of the trust so he can remove a small discretionary amount on behalf of your daughter if she needs it for an emergency.

 



2011-03-25 12:07 PM
in reply to: #3412976

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Elite
3090
20001000252525
Spokane, WA
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice

Thanks for all the input, guys. I like the sound of setting up a trust. And I agree with the notion that I don't want to just drop that kind of cash on her in one lump sum.

And good to know that I don't have to worry about probate, thanks Aaron.



Edited by zed707 2011-03-25 12:08 PM
2011-03-25 12:20 PM
in reply to: #3414144

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2011-03-25 12:29 PM
in reply to: #3412976

Pro
4206
20002000100100
Los Angeles, CA
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice
Talk to a lawyer or read a nolo book or something. Your information is all mixed up especially the part about preventing probate and a will. also, I cringe at your setup with your estate going to your brother, for your child. There are better ways to guarantee this happening properly besides just based on that you trust him. What if your brother is in dire straights and lost his job, is on the street, can't feed his children, and about to file bankruptcy. Can you guarantee, given the circumstances, he won't raid the coffers?

Anyways,like I said, your info is all mixed up and you need clarification before you proceed with either an attorney or do it yourself. If you were in los angeles, I would offer you a free 1/2 hour consult

2011-03-25 12:35 PM
in reply to: #3412976

Champion
7036
5000200025
Sarasota, FL
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice
Talk to an attorney. 


Mark
2011-03-25 1:27 PM
in reply to: #3414221

Extreme Veteran
745
50010010025
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice

auto208562 - 2011-03-25 1:29 PM Talk to a lawyer or read a nolo book or something. Your information is all mixed up especially the part about preventing probate and a will. also, I cringe at your setup with your estate going to your brother, for your child. There are better ways to guarantee this happening properly besides just based on that you trust him. What if your brother is in dire straights and lost his job, is on the street, can't feed his children, and about to file bankruptcy. Can you guarantee, given the circumstances, he won't raid the coffers? Anyways,like I said, your info is all mixed up and you need clarification before you proceed with either an attorney or do it yourself. If you were in los angeles, I would offer you a free 1/2 hour consult

Without offering legal advice here, I concur with this post.  There are some major issues with what you intend to do as stated in your original post and I don't think that you will accomplish what you intend.  Go to the library and spend an hour or two with a Nolo book (they are like "XYZ for Dummies" books but with legal themes).  At that point you can decide if you want to go on your own or with a lawyer.



2011-03-25 1:53 PM
in reply to: #3412976

Master
1732
100050010010025
Delafield, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice

As an estate planning lawyer, add me to the list of people who think it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer. Most estate planning lawyers will give you a free consult, to see what you need. Even if you end up doing something on your own, at least you will have notion about what your options are to accomplish what you are trying to do.

'Favorite' do-it yourself will story: Woman who named herself as executor of her own will.

2011-03-25 4:13 PM
in reply to: #3412976

Elite
3090
20001000252525
Spokane, WA
Subject: RE: Do-it-yourself will advice
Thanks again for all the replies. I went ahead and made an appointment to consult with an attorney. I feel less dumb already
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