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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7403
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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Ive made it to age 52 without a will or any estate documents

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I've made it to age 52 without a will or any estate documents and I feel like I really need to do this! I have 4 kids and my wife. I will be traveling for a few days soon and would like to start by having some basic document in case something happens to ensure my wife gets everything easily and has power of attorney in case I am hospitalized, etc.

Thanks!

LegalGems :

Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction! It is always a good idea to have an estate plan. Were you looking for a sample will?

LegalGems :

This is how your property would pass via the laws of intestate succession(ie no will). http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/heirs-chart.pdf A will is valid so long as it is signed in front of 2 witnesses, who then witness (sign) the will. It does not need to be notarized. Of course, the testator must be of sound mind. I cannot find a free sample that is not copyrighted, and it is best to have an attorney draft it so it complies with the specifics of your situation. You would be surprised at the number of probate cases that costs thousands of extra dollars because the testator tried to save money using a do it yourself website, or purchasing a "form" for a nominal amount. Generally a will prepared by a personal attorney will cost $200-500, money will spent in my experience. As far as disagreeing about guardianship if the children, the surviving parent is typically given full custody of the children. If both parents pass, then the courts will look to their respective wills to see what their wishes are; however, the court is not bound by the will's designation, as they will generally conduct an evaluation to determine the best interests of the children. They will consider the proposed guardian in the will. It is a good idea to put the reasons why you would like that guardian (i.e. relationship with kids, stability, etc).

LegalGems :

Let me know if you have any other concerns since you are offline. I will reply as soon as I see it. Thanks!

Customer:

I was looking for a sample will and am curious what is the difference between a will and an estate plan?

Customer:

in summary, what is needed: estate plan, will and living will ?

LegalGems :

An estate plan encompasses one's various documents that will help determine what happens to one's estate. An estate plan can be a trust and/or a will (the reason I say "and" is because most trusts will have a "pour over will"). But for a person that does not need a trust, then generally there is a will, and a health care proxy (addresses medical care preferences for prolonging life). An explanation of a health care proxy (Mass does not recognize living wills) and a form can be accessed here: http://www.massmed.org/Patient-Care/Health-Topics/Health-Care-Proxies-and-End-of-Life-Care/Health-Care-Proxy-Information-and-Forms/#.UlRzQFNaZy8

Customer:

thank you - is there any small step I should take before my travel next week? I don't think I can hire a lawyer and get this sorted out before then. I have to do that when I return.

LegalGems :

If you are happy with the way your property will pass intestate, then you can wait. You can use bank accounts (pay on death beneficiaries) to do a quick overhaul. If the bank account is listed in your name, with Joe as the pay on death beneficiary, upon your death all the money automatically goes to Joe, and does not go via a will.

LegalGems :

I'm verifying something if you can wait a moment.

LegalGems :

http://law.onecle.com/massachusetts/191/1.html So handwritten, witnesses wills are permissible. They should not be used unless absolutely necessary because they are more likely to have issues (similar to the ones mentioned above re: the quick internet fix). Noncupative (oral) wills are not valid.

LegalGems and 2 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
I hope you found the information I provided useful. Be sure and calendar an appointment with an attorney so you don't put this on the back burner (as is the human tendency to do so!)

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Thanks, and take care!

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