Has anyone used WillMaker from NOLO Quicken?

How would you rate this?
My other option due to a lack of funds (because I am currently an unemployed IT Manager) is using the legal kit online via
www.legalzoom.com. They keep it on file for you and allow changes for 5 years and also review it.
Any thoughts?
I know this does not replace a face to face with a lawyer but for the time being I would like to have something in place.
Thank you Patty
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I found two "versions" of the product when I searched online - software only, and book with CD-ROM inside. I bought the book, which is worth the price just for the educational value: even if you didn't use their software but turned to an attorney, reading the book first is a wise step. Doug
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I have been using Nolo products for a lot of years. I've used Willmaker for at least 15 years. Good news I've never had to actually use a will prepared by Willmaker. The manual and the software seem to cover all the important bases.
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The legal documents generated by Nolo's WillMaker are very clear and unambiguous, particularly in complicated situations such as: divorce, grand children in a Will, cutting relatives out, etc. I have looked at Family Lawyer which is OK for simple Wills, but would recommend Nolo for the most comprehensive, legally binding documents. My 2 -
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I have used it for both Wills and Trusts for various members of my family and found it clear and easy to use. I recommend the associated book(s) if you are doing anything more than the simplest will.
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Thank you very much. Is the book you referring to one that is now on CD ROM or a separate purchase?
Question: If you have a beneficiary set up on your checking, 401k accounts-don't they take precedence over anything said in a will as to distribution? Or if you leave the money to a person who is also an executor of the will and in the will state what the disbursement should be-will that work and avoid complicated situations? Or would I need to set up a Trust? (not talking about a lot of money here. Still have 25 years on my house payment).
Thank you Patty
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Patty Please read the book on disk. Beneficiaries of life insurance, IRA's, 401's, bank accounts, etc., can not be changed by a Will. Wills should be as simple as possible and avoid distribution of specific property since a Will must be probated and is susceptible to estate/inheritance tax ($1.5 million exemption for 2005 including money, houses, cars, diamonds, etc.) and legal fees to probate. Personal items in a Will also get tied up in probate if listed in the Will. It doesn't matter whether your executor is an inheritor and doing anything unusual in your Will can be a problem. Any real property (including money, houses, cars, etc.) is not susceptible to probate if held in joint tenancy (or joint bank accounts). If your executor is not a joint tenant on your bank account, he/she will have to get a court order to open the account to pay bills. Annuities, 401's, IRA's, bank accounts, etc., are susceptible to estate tax to the beneficiary and get tied up in probate. Income tax on the taxable portion of 401's is also due but can be deferred by the beneficiary if rolled into an IRA. If the beneficiary pre-deceases you, the whole amount goes into your estate, so keep your beneficiaries current - especially an ex-spouse, since they would get your children's property (money). Normally you only use a living trust to pass property to your children tax free if your estate is over the tax exempt limit. By the way, you have asked a complicated question that brings up a whole myriad of case specific questions and it would be very wise to read the items affecting your specific case in the book (on disk) and possibly contact a lawyer specializing in wills and inheritance tax issues. There are exceptions to all of the answers above. Good Luck -
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Thanks. So very informative. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful New Year. Patty
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Yes. This is a two-edged sword. On the good side, it permits you to pass specific assets to the desired recipient "around the will." They never go through probate.
The bad thing is such arrangements "trump" your will, and if 10 years after opening the account and naming your brother as beneficiary you now have other people to whom you think you are leaving your assets - they don't get them. Most common example is a young single person who opens an account and names parent(s) or sibling(s) as beneficiary. 20 years later, married and with kids, he dies - and the account does not go to his new family.

Gaaaaaack. Terrible idea, even if it were possible, which it is not, at least not the way you described it! If your will "leaves" the money to the executor it is his (hers). You cannot reach from the grave and tell that person to give it to someone else.
Doug
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