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Is a will enough?

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  • Is a will enough?

    Late to the estate planning game and frankly don't understand much of it- would appreciate your help.

    We are low 30s with two young kids (maybe more?) with a NW~500k that is all in primary home, savings accounts, and tax-advantaged retirement accounts- no taxable investing or additional real estate. At this point, is a simple will enough? Educate me, please... Thanks.

  • #2
    no as a will does not avoid probate technically.

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    • #3
      Even with appropriately named beneficiaries?

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      • #4
        You have minor children, so you need a revocable living trust. Besides, your beneficiary designations won't take care of transferring the house.

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        • #5
          see an estate planning attorney who also helps with tax planning to set up a revocable trust. We were late to the game too...did it after we had 3 kids and mid-30s and NW around yours. The costs are $3-$5k generally although my place of work gave us a legal advice benefit which I took advantage of last year for this exact purpose so we got it set up for less than $1500. totally worth it. not hard to set up, as the attorney does the work. you meet once to explain your assets and wishes and then one more time to sign the paperwork

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          • #6
            No life insurance?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by FIREshrink View Post
              No life insurance?
              It is in place

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JBME View Post
                see an estate planning attorney who also helps with tax planning to set up a revocable trust. We were late to the game too...did it after we had 3 kids and mid-30s and NW around yours. The costs are $3-$5k generally although my place of work gave us a legal advice benefit which I took advantage of last year for this exact purpose so we got it set up for less than $1500. totally worth it. not hard to set up, as the attorney does the work. you meet once to explain your assets and wishes and then one more time to sign the paperwork
                Thank you

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                • #9
                  A testamentary trust will be less expensive and simpler than a revocable trust. With a will and a testamentary trust, you can avoid probate and ensure your assets get placed in a trust after your death. The most important piece is to get the will worded correctly in terms of guardianship, funding until 18, and then eventual distributions and dissolution of the trust. Having been through estate dealings with both revocable trusts and probate (went through probate in two states for the same person) the cost and hassle were about the same. If I am an attorney, i will sell you the revocable trust now instead of waiting until you die to (maybe) get the probate revenue.

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                  • #10
                    • Anyone with minor children needs a LW&T to establish guardianship, especially since you have life insurance (think about it).
                    • You may also want to make specific bequests. These can be incorporated into the will or incorporated by reference to a list.
                    • Important to understand the probate laws in the state in which you plan to die. If you die intestate, the court will decide who gets what.
                    • Not a huge fan of RLTs except where appropriate.
                    • Suggest separating guardianship from conservatorship
                    • If you have RE in a state in which you're not a resident (and you might someday), it will be subject to ancillary probate - try to avoid.
                    • Usually get your POAs and medical directives taken care of during estate planning - don't forget (they may be state-specific if you travel much)
                    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MWPT View Post

                      It is in place
                      then your estate is larger (probably substantially larger) than the $500k quoted.

                      If you choose a will it means you want all of your estate turned over to your heirs without restrictions when they reach age of majority.

                      If that’s not what you want, you need a trust - an RLT or testamentary trust most likely (IANAL).

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                      • #12
                        +1
                        "Suggest separating guardianship from conservatorship"
                        This takes a ton of thought usually. Not only the first, but an alternate. The time frame, raising kids in two years as opposed to 10-15 years may alter your choices. Some would choose parents now but not in ten years. Hard to forecast. Things change and then your will and trust do as well.

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