Preparing a Will

Updated on January 21, 2007
J. asks from Minneapolis, MN
4 answers

I know that once you have children it becomes important to have a will prepared so that your children will be well taken care of if something happens. I don't want my mom and in-laws fighting for custody. Who do I contact about preparing a will? I was going to do a class through the adult community education, but they want my husband and I to prepare one individually. I know my parents always did one jointly. Basically because if one of us dies the other gets everything, if we both die is what we want on paper (although I know that it would be good to have the first part on paper too.) I hope you understand what I am asking. I just need to be pointed in the right direction. We have a very limited budget as well.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I've heard that some of these forms, like living wills, can get at the library(big ones, like minneapolis, not small brances). That might be a start as to what type of wills you'd want, and what the differences are. Also, if you do your homework and have identified what you need, and all the neccessary guidelines, some attorney's will examine them to look for mistakes, and sign for a nominal fee. That way, you cut them out from most of the process except for at the end when you need a signature. We have life insurance, which has some will intestimate language in it, like...if we die, then whoever (we name) gets our daughter, they will also get the money, with the contigency that they don't ship her off to someone else, or a boarding school and collect the money for a shopping spree. The money will be disbursed either when she's 18, or in monthly installments upon maintaining custody. Of course, I'd hope that the people we choose to care for her in our untimey death, would be of good moral quality and wouldn't do that anyway, but it's nice to protect our children when we can, even if we're dead. Good luck, and be ready to read, read, read. It's not pretty work.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My husband had legal insurance through his job, so we just used the closest lawyer that was part of the program, so I can't really help you with choosing a low-cost lawyer. If you really want to have someone prepare it for you, I could dig out the contact info for the guy we used in Roseville. Let me know.

I know that most office supply stores will sell a do-it-yourself kit for (I think) around $25. There are books on preparing your own will too--you might even be able to get one from the library. You and your husband should have separate wills, even if they basically say the same thing. That should help out the surviving spouse, assuming one of you goes first. You should also look at setting up a durable power of attorney so that you can handle each other's accounts and medical decisions. Good luck!!



answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I just went through the process of having a lawyer draw up separate wills, POA, healthcare directives and a revocable living trust. The whole thing cost $1100. If you aren't at a point in your life that you have $1100 to spend on this, I would, at minimum, get a software program (like Willmaker) and do the minimum: wills, durable POA, & healthcare directives. The Will at least will have a guardian for your kids, which is better than nothing. However, please be prepared someday soon to have a lawyer do all of the docs for you, especially a revocable living trust. Your goal should be to protect your kids by protecting your estate & keeping it out of probabte court. A Trust does this. I sleep so much better now knowing that we have it all in place in the event of our deaths. It is the least we can do for our kids. Losing both of us would be horrible, but not having the docs in place to protect them seems to me like another kick in their little faces. Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

If you are looking for inexpensive services, you could try Legal Aid or other county legal services. But I wouldn't rely on the forms that you can pick up from the library and such because they are basic and if your family doesn't fit the "norm," the will could be invalid and then the laws of intestacy would determine what happens to your estate and possibly child(ren) and it sounds like that isn't what you want. Try one of the legal services - all the major counties have them - they are in the phone book. Good luck!

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