May 02, 2011,
H.P. asks from Winter Park, FL on May 02, 2011
Making a Will - Sorrento,FL
We need to make our will as far as our children go. We know who they are going to, just need to put it on paper. we also have life insurance that will go to their my sister for the care of my kids.
So my question is, where do we begin with this process? We don't have thousands of dollars to pay an attorney to do this. But we wants to know that our kids go to my sister & not in the states custody for one second! Also, we want to ensure the life insurance money gets to my sister.
Thanks in advance!!
C.K. answers from San Antonio on May 02, 2011
Dave Ramsey recommends U.S. Legal Forms. You can do a general will or one that is specific to your state. The cost is very low. It only costs $20 for a simple will for a married couple with children. You also have the peace of mind that your wills are done correctly and legal.
I've used the site for legal forms and it really is easy to use and no hidden costs.
Here's the website:
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B.K. answers from Chicago on May 02, 2011
I know you can do a will yourself, but I'm not familiar with how you do that. My attorney charged me $150 for mine.
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M.L. answers from Colorado Springs on May 02, 2011
Actually, an attorney is the person who can answer this question for you. My understanding is that a simple, basic will is not very expensive. However, it will be more than worth the money. If you don't have a legitimate will, your instructions are only wishes, and wishes don't count for anything.
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L.B. answers from Biloxi on May 02, 2011
For the life insurance, just contact your insurance agent and update the beneficiary on the policies. That will take care of the policy disbursement. If you want the money to go into an annuity to be paid out over several years, instead of a lump sum disbursement, ask your agent if they can set up also - if not you will need a financial adviser.
For the will, I strongly suggest getting an attorney. (I know that I paid very little to have mine completed.) Make sure that your sister knows that she is to have the children upon your death and list her as next of kin/emergency contact on everything. I keep a copy of my will in my files, plus, have given a copy to my child's guardians-to-be so they are "armed" with the appropriate paperwork in case anything happens to me.
It is really not as complicated as it seems.
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T.M. answers from Bloomington on May 02, 2011
you don't need to pay anything. the courts will respect any document that is signed with witnesses. they don't have to be notaries or lawyers or anything. we just wrote out something using a sample will found online, and changed it to reflect our plans and desires.
just write it. sign it. tell relatives where it is so they can locate it.
S.T. answers from New York on May 02, 2011
A.F. answers from Chicago on May 02, 2011
Life insurance pay out is determined by contract. My suggestion is to draft a simple will that complies with your state's testamentary requirements and have the Will include a Testamentary Trust (one created by your Will at your death). List the Testamentary Trust as your contingent beneficiary on your life insurance policy (I am assuming your primary beneficiaries are each other in case of the death of only one of you). That way the money will be in trust for the use for the kids (there is language you can include so the trusts uses can be limited). This all depends on how much you trust your sister....I would just not be comfortable listing any family member as the recipient of a large sum of money and then trust that they would use it only for the care of my kids. I posted another answer on this question last week....so check out my other post for my other advice. I drafted my own but I am an attorney....I am not sure how sophisticated those computer program wills have gotten and whether they can help you set it up as I am suggesting, but it is really the best way to go. Good luck!
PS- I just read another poster's response..you cannot make minors the legal recipients of life insurance proceeds -- that is the reason you need the trust!
S.W. answers from Minneapolis on May 02, 2011
Yes, you want to have a written will. It can be done online as several sites, but I'm not sure this is any cheaper than having an attorney review a will, depending how complex your situation is.
The best way to ensure that your children will be cared for the way you want and by whom you want is to make your wishes known to your entire family and deal with any disagreement ahead of time. After your death, no matter what you have in writing, any "party of interest" - any person who can prove they have an interest in the well-being of your children, so any family member or friend - can petition a court for custody. So do your best to get everyone you know on board with your plan now.