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Fisher's Mom 06-20-2008 11:45 AM

Planning For Our Final Destination
Since we have had such a huge loss here at DC with Buck's passing, the topic of how our loved ones go on has been on everyone's mind. I was thinking this might be good for us to discuss things we can do to make it easier on those we leave behind when we go. If you've lost someone with or without a will, can you share your experiences handling the paperwork, etc., after they passed? Those that have a will, could you share with us your experiences with finding the right attorney, etc? Also, does anyone leave directions for what they want as far as a funeral or a cremation, etc?

kitchenelf 06-20-2008 11:54 AM

My husband and I have Wills/Living Wills and have had for quite a few years. We have specific directions/instructions in them AND we have spoken in detail with each other about what we want/songs played/even parties to be had! If you don't drink you might not like my husband's ummmm......"service" :lol:

My husband has very specific instructions that will probably cause his family to hate me, but, I have to go by his wishes.

Our account will be frozen even with these steps in place. My attorney can get me $10,000 for immediate expenses though.

I suggest going through an estate attorney (is that the right name for them?) and getting something in place. "You" won't be here to deal with it but it causes such turmoil in families when nothing is in place. Surely "you" don't want your family going through that.

VeraBlue 06-20-2008 11:58 AM

Leaving?? Who's leaving??? I'm not going anywhere:wink:. Take a gander at my avatar...it's evidence that I've already been here for about 547 years. I see no reason to ever have to leave. I like it here.

However, in the unforseen event of my untimely demise, burn what's left after taking anything that anyone else can use, and scatter the rest in the wind in New Orleans....Lou knows the spot.

Loprraine 06-20-2008 11:59 AM

My parents pre-planned (and paid for the basics) for their funerals about 10 years ago. Caskets, plot, headstones,flowers,hymns, newspaper obituaries etc, were all decided upon. When my Dad passed away, not having to deal with that end of it made it much easier on the family. In Quebec, any bank account (including joint ones) are frozen until after probate. My Mother had no access to any funds, as all accounts were joint.

I have a will, including a living will. I have stated exactly what I want done when I die. The living will names an executor to look after my affairs should I become incapacitated.

Andy M. 06-20-2008 12:00 PM

I was the executor of my uncle's estate. He had a lawyer who drew up his will and the estate hired him to take care of the legal matters. It was a good decision. He was a great lawyer.

There were a lot of investments to transfer and sell at the right time. My uncle had stacks of bank books so I had to contact every bank to verify account info (they were almost all empty). I had to sell his car, house and furnishings. Dealings with a CPA to file tax returns.

Uncle left vebal instructions for his remains. I have prepared written instructions for mine.

TATTRAT 06-20-2008 12:04 PM

Carrie does not like discussing the topic, at all. I, on the other hand, have been trying to figure it all out for some time. All i want to ensure is that when the inevitable DOES happen, I am not leaving any one high and dry. I plan to ensure that everything will be in place financially, and that family is taken care of. I know I want to be cremated and have some of my ashes shot into outer space and the rest scattered among my favorite places on this earth; Bermuda where I am from, Hawai'i where I loved, and perhaps Amsterdam, my other favorite place I have lived. that way, the fam can make a real journey out of things and have fun doing it in my memory. Of course, this means saving a lot of money now.

Either all that or I have always said, open casket, open bar.

jennyema 06-20-2008 12:14 PM

There seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding here about wills.

Wills are primarily about who gets your property when you die. They are not really vehicles to avoid taxation. Dying intestate does not, as far as I know, obligate you to pay additional taxes. You pay estate taxes with or without a will - same amount.

If you die without a will, your state has a longstanding scheme in place to distribute assets. Generally a spouse comes first, then the children or parents, but states can be different on that (sometimes spouse and children both take, sometimes just the spouse). Then other blood or legal relatives.

Your estate is probated with or without a will. A court is always involved and generally so are lawyers. A will makes it faster and easier, but does not eliminate the court.

A will won't automatically transfer a car title either. It just directs ownership to someone. They may still have to hire a lawyer to get the clear title. Same with real estate.

If property is jointly owned, you should probably be able to continue to own it and access it, but again, state laws may be different on this.

Plenty of people don't need wills, though it's always a good idea to have one just in case.

expatgirl 06-20-2008 12:39 PM

Believe me when I second jenny's motion that state laws vary...........if you have anything of value at all.......a car, boat, old house..........it's taxable and worth something to the state........have a will or they get a huge chunk of it.......if you have stepsister, brothers, mothers, fathers then it gets even more confusing as to whom gets what and you don't really know people until someone passes away......truly trust me on this one..........so please be kind to your kinfolk and leave a will.........

jennyema 06-20-2008 12:58 PM


Originally Posted by expatgirl (Post 631086)
Believe me when I second jenny's motion that state laws vary...........if you have anything of value at all.......a car, boat, old house..........it's taxable and worth something to the state........have a will or they get a huge chunk of it......

Sorry but this part isn't true.

Estate taxes are the same whether you die with or without a will.

You're right that it can be confusing regarding who gets what if you die without a will, but the general rule is 1. Spouse 2. Children or Parents 3. Brothers and Sisters

They must be blood or legal relatives.

lulu 06-20-2008 01:01 PM

Although a will is not a vehecle to evade tax (illegal), forward planning can help you minimise taxes (legal) at least in Europe. By optimising tax free gift allowances etc etc. :)

But the reason I am emphatic about wills is because of the heart ache unnecessary wraggling and ugliness NOT having a will inevitably results in. People who love each other squabbling over every last stick of furniture, siblings who never speak to each other again because they disagreed about how to divide property proceeds etc etc. Grief seems to make people panic and fear for their security and feel unloved and vulnerable. By making it set in stone, precise and well thought out you can let people come to gether in grief rather than let them drive themselves apart.

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