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Thread: Wills and no kids

  1. #1
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    Wills and no kids

    So I have a goal of setting up our wills and living wills in 2014. Since we're not having kids, and all of our nieces and nephews are minors (6 under the age of 7), how do the other people on here without offspring divvy their money? I'm guessing you'd have to set up something a little more advance if you're involving minors.

    I have 2 younger sisters and H has 1 younger sister (all of which have produced 2 kids each).

    If one of us died before the other, those retirement accounts now get moved into the survivors name (they don't stay in the deceased's name)? So when the survivor passes, the $ could be divvied among the 3 sisters evenly. However, if one of us goes on to live without the other for 20 years, I seriously doubt we'll even be in touch with the deceased's family.

    Or if we both pass together in an accident, then we'd need to know how to divvy it based on which account is whose as they will be in our individual names at that time? Like accounts with my name I'd have to declare how it's divvied, and likewise with accounts in his name?

    H and I are 35 & 37. Our sisters are 36, 35, and 31. So we're not THAT much older. We're not even that close. Maybe see them each once a year.

    We only suggested sisters and nieces/nephews as some options, but there could be others. Parents? I have my mom, and he has both parents. Charity? Our dog? She is 10.5 though.

    We are actually very stuck on this! Just wondering how others have done it (without offspring).

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  3. #2
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    Re: Wills and no kids

    Your 401k/403b/IRA accounts, life insurance or pension surviving benefits have beneficiaries and that his how those assets would be distributed. Only your other assets would be decided by the will. So your house, cars, savings/checking, or similar are determined by the will. Most couples the surviving spouse gets the amount with an upgraded basis (for tax reasons). Then of course the surviving spouse can also change any wills.

    It is wise to have any minor's inheritance controlled by a trust until they are a certain age, which does not have to be just 18. It can be any age you want past 18, but you also have to name trustee to control it. You can name the parents instead. You do not have to limit it to family; could be a close friend for example as well.

    Since there are a lot of variables, it is a good idea and i suggest to set up time and spend a bit of money to talk to an estate attorney. Get advice based on your state and you can make the best choices.

    People leave money (end result of this selling off any assets like house, cars, etc) to many things like charity, schools, non-profit groups, churches, or some large amounts can set up a scholarship; there are a lot of options. You may even end up with the richest dog in town, but again like minors it would have a trust.


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    Re: Wills and no kids

    Dying together in an accident, I can see it divvied 3 ways (among sisters). The other's sister(s) will have been part of their lives up until the accident.

    I guess you answered my other thought - if I die, and H gets all my accounts/assets, but then he dies 40 years later without being in contact with my sisters (no reason to talk to them anymore). Then divvying 3 ways when he dies doesn't make sense any longer when these people haven't been part of his life for 40 years.

    But you mentioned the surviving spouse would rewrite the will now how ever they wanted.

    This is so hard to decide! I am not even ready to make an appt with a lawyer as I'd be wasting my money as I have no vision in my head. H and I talk but we get no where.


  5. #4
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    Re: Wills and no kids

    We've talked about it but have nothing in place.

    Also no kids. We both have said nothing to our siblings for various reasons, but we have considered some to the nephews and our parents.

    If we ever get around to a formal written will. Our parents might no longer be living, and if the nephews are adults, it all might all go to a local charity.

    Currently we're taking a risk we don't both die at the same time and the State gets to decide.

    We did buy a Nolo book, which has good info to help you think of things before you pay a lawyer to ask you.


  6. #5
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    Re: Wills and no kids

    The basic answer is you can divide things up however you see fit. A common approach is to leave certain amounts or per cents to people and the remainder to charity.

    It's a difficult thing since everyone reacts to inheritances in different ways. If you leave more to person A than person B, will person B feel offended? Long term family rifts have developed over such things.

    If you have some money to share presently something you may consider is funding 529 College Plans for your nieces and nephews.


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    Re: Wills and no kids

    You can do beneficiary's or TOD(transfer on death), your assets will be transferred when a death certificate is issued to the institutions that hold the assets. Be careful, if state inheritance taxes are involved, your heirs will have to pay that tax before they can access the proceeds (or have other plans). Even then, depending on the state, it may be multiple months before the state releases the assets.

    From my limited knowledge it's possible to handle the issue if your sisters pre decease you or their children. My major point is to get a qualified attorney/expert involved. Do some reading so you know the questions to ask. My experience is the experts are willing to help you understand the issues involved, I'd probably get a couple of opinions.
    MRG


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    Re: Wills and no kids

    I went to an estate lawyer to draft a will back in 2008, just after my dad and I met with him to update my dad's will (and create a trust to put his house into). In both cases we included health care proxies. I designated my ladyfriend as primary and my brother as secondary. As for beneficiaries, I included my ladyfriend, my brother, his son (my nephew who was 4 at the time and is now 10, but he can't collect until he is older, my brother would be a trustee), my dad, and some other friends as well as my alma mater.


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    Re: Wills and no kids

    We created a testamentary trust. If we both die, our $$$ goes into a trust that will pay for college education for our siblings' descendants.

    Nieces, nephews, and their kids.


  10. #9
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    Re: Wills and no kids

    We created a testamentary trust. If we both die, our $$$ goes into a trust that will pay for college education for our siblings' descendants.

    Nieces, nephews, and their kids.
    Nice, I'll have to look into that.


  11. #10
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    Re: Wills and no kids

    We haven't had ours done yet, but our plan is to do the following:
    1 - leave everything to spouse
    2 - if spouse dead, leave everything equally to our siblings (we each have 1)
    3 - if sibling dead, leave their half to their children equally

    Of course, if "life happens" and one of us dies untimely young and the other spends 40 years alone or remarried, then that person would have the capability to re-do the will.


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