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
They keep it on file for you and allow changes for 5
years and also review it.
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.
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.
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.
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¢ -
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).
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
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 -
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.