Wills Questionnaire and Q&A
We were on the children if you have them um and blended families especially are single parents I'm both it is also really important tio have those conversations and get really clear about the priorities and make sure that what you're doing is you're setting this up so the kids or the pets or the miners will be taken care of appropriately and there may or may not be cem extra level of negotiation with for example you have a house and that is still co owned by you but you're no longer together but you're still actively parenting how do you want if something happens to one or the other of you, you know, making sure that the house ends up being the kid's property if that's what you but that's what you wanted to dio um in my case I'm a single parent and so it I must specify um, guardianship because there isn't a default assuming that you know, one something happens to one person and not another it's really important for me to make sure that that's really clear so just depending on your situ...
ation and what you need um networth there's certain laws about a state stuff like that so if you have a lot of assets there's some category in which you get kicked into people who have large, largest states are generally not doing their will on the kitchen table out one boxing this questionnaire is one that was developed on all like a lot of the research that I've done that works for other places and again states depend from state to state food do sherry which is a great word I love it I know how might one make the word fiduciary more friend lines great words it is it reminds me isn't there wasn't like cheating she bang bang or mary poppins I think there's like there's ah there's a song about fiduciary responsibility I swear there is somebody somebody needs to be searching right things like I think it's dick van dyke from way back in the day there is that there is a song and dance about fiduciary responsibility I'm here not cancer maybe that's what we need to make sure everybody yeah mary poppins that's what and told you really there we'll watch it later I promise yeah yeah it's awesome um that is super funny. Okay, so the fiduciaries who you want to make it happen guardian of children again listing backups and depending and that's another reason why you may or may not want to look at your will not every day but frequently is if the person that you've listed as a guardian of your kid maybe they're going through a health issue maybe they've moved far away um other things that have come up previously that people have mentioned is if you want your kids to go to a couple who are married or not merry um do you have specifics about that? Are you thinking and or assuming that they're going to stay married on what happens if they don't stay married? Um is if so you can write a provision in that I want um accent acts I want pat and chris toe have my kids, but if pat and chris ah break up or divorce and are living separately, my intention was for chris tohave the kids don't worry about making pat feel bad these air your kids or thes these this is a parenting team that's important to me and I have patent chris break up then I want patent first at joint custody or something so just think about if if they're stipulations with that or if your parents um are the default person at some point they may or may not be getting to a stage where um they can handle it, they can handle it or they could handle it, but they could they be actively involved in the life the way that you want over the arc of time that you want so there's different things to think about and this is where we're talking about it depends and your scenario and so this is where your feelings and thoughts and wishes can be included in here is, well, so something to think about um the trustee so basically, you can assign somebody to manage the to have guardianship of your kids, you can assign somebody else, and different people will recommend this to be in charge of them money for your kids or your pets so that person could make sure that the person responsible for the care and feeding and loving of the children, um, has backup and somebody to be accountable to for them money as well. It could be that who you want to be, the guardians of your pets, it could be that who dresses up your cat and has fun with the cat is not the person who is going to be financially responsible for your cat. They don't have to be the same person, so care and feeding and loving and raising and tickle fights and storytelling and showing up at soccer games is a skill set, being able tio manage the money responsibly is also a skill set that it might be the same, and it might not. So having somebody with a little oversight that they're not blowing your kid's college fund might be helpful and, you know, distribute the responsibility and the commitment as as a community, this isn't necessarily about doing it all in isolation alone, it's about, you know, we used to live much closer, and we have you know more people around all of the time and so you can you can rely on your community to work together to make this happen power of attorney financial so you can have a power of attorney financial for everything and then you can also have a financial you can break that out into smaller groups. So if you want one person to be in charge of all of your money and somebody to be in charge of this specific bunch that's going to your kid's just you want to make sure that the more level of specificity specificity in the more granular you get, the more clear you are about it, but the same thing they could manage the college fund and they can manage, you know, this level of of money somebody else is in charge of of something else. So again make it is as granular is you like, um, power of attorney medical. So this is where we start talking about legal documents. Often people will have, uh, this will the last will and testament as one document, you can have the power of attorney in the same document, or you can keep them separate if you want and then you're living well and your medical power of attorney the the only note is that if you have a medical power of attorney listed in a living, will and you have a will document just make sure that they all match so you have the medical power of attorney listed consistently wherever you go um the medical power of attorney is the one who's going to make decisions for you regarding your health and your health care. Um should you not be able to speak for yourself and often this ends up being, you know, people also call this end of life um it's advanced directives it's living will there's different names for it, but, um, this is also a situation where it has most frequently come up in conversations I've been in where it may or may not be your spouse that you want tohave on this one. This is the only time I've got my shit together. Terrible. I take that back and it's just one of the time one of the many times yeah, I had a fairly serious surgery and I thought very carefully about who to give my medical power of attorney teo and it was not my mother. It was not my boyfriend. You know, it was a friend who I knew was tough as nails and very clear headed, and I just pictured her as the advocate I wanted to be in there in that moment in the I c u haven't forbid but you know should something go wrong, I really thought about who's going to be my best, you know, defender and protector of my wishes on dh it was controversial, you know, talk about communication. You know, my mother was not amused that I had given someone else control of turning off the machine, but I didn't really trust her to stay calm and kind of maybe make the best decisions, so that so that was an early experiment in some of the issues that we're dealing with, which is it's it's, very emotional and and the family dynamics come into play, and yet it is a practical kind of housekeeping territory as well, and, you know, there's this balancing act and and I remember, you know, this was ten or fifteen years ago, but it was an issue, but I stuck to my guns, and of course, nothing happened and I was fine, but I did sort of cross that boundary of asking my friend, are you comfortable with this from you? So yeah, and I'm looking now at my people and, you know, there's, some people I need to have conversations with, right? Exactly, and so how did you start the conversation with your mom? I love you, mama, and we're both scared, yeah, right? And and, you know, I think it was just, you know, I'm sure you'll understand that you know we might be too freaked out or you might be to bring doubt and you know, I didn't ask her permission or anything I just told her it was harsh it wasn't easy she was pissed but it was a done deal by then so it was sort of like ok, I guess um but that was also the you know, this was pre you know, sort of all this is, you know, thinking ahead of time but we just would have ended it on well nothing's going to happen so this really doesn't matter um but it but it was sort of I love you but right um or it could be a I love I love you so much I was a burden that I'm going to remove this this horrible decision from you right? My might be a better way to go about it right? So and it's really about you know, the will document is assigning these things so people don't have to guess and when we come back later, we'll talk a little bit more about the living will in the end the level of specificity that you can yeah actually put in there but this is about you writing down your wishes so people don't have to guess and with a you know, your assets and your stuff it's really about knowing what your wishes are so we don't have to fight about it in court so you don't have to let somebody else decide for you but it's also you might want this one thing to go to this one person you know this is also an opportunity for you to share with those people what it is that you want to share and so it could be um it could be a missed opportunity to not take a couple of minutes and write down these level just just the small things and or the big things that that communicate out kind of what your plan is and what you're your ideas are and what you you know what you want them to have so they don't have to do it for you because it can go to traumatic celebrity level years in court fight fight fight and then the estate is picked at by legal fees over over over as a huge ways so it can be in yeah a giant financial loss or it could be a huge emotional loss as well though in the funeral home in my world um I've never seen a fight in a funeral home that didn't include a dollar sign really interesting is share one or two so sure I mean uh burial versus cremation right yeah I mean burial is more expensive it just is and you'll get that one person you wantto on her mom's wishes you know no mom won't be buried you know we're we're catholic and whatever the circumstances and then you have the other one say no no, no let's just do cremation is more practical whatever well, underlying that it isn't a theological problem it's a dollar problem yeah, and if you can't afford being buried, I mean that that gets into a whole another host of issues that you probably should've playing for, but, um and you ultimately end up with cremation as a general rule but that's a dollar figure? Yeah. And so isn't usually isn't in the motive argument it's a motive because of the dollar's right on that note are we gonna cover? Pio is a little later. Yes. Ok, yeah, we are had two sons. Okay, well, actually, what you wanted to share that since we're talking about power of attorney, you know, we're on the power of attorney medical right now sure, that is all part of the same legal fund the legal fund of that is it ceases that death so power of attorney is done assumes you stop breathing so I'll get families. It will call and say, you know, dad died here transformation, I consign the documents. Well, do you have any brothers or sisters? Do you have a spouse there's other people involved? Yeah, but I'm power of attorney does you no good after death, so that document doesn't do me any good after you stop breathing if you're will states something else then weaken we can work with that but generally um these documents won't help you in a funeral p away will not help you in a few unless it's done before the person dies but this fiduciary person would they be so the sort of executor of my estate in washington state it's a separate I can't speak to other states okay um in washington state it's a separate responsibility that is specifically laid out in order of who can sign off for burial in command shalane so what you've done in these documents doesn't necessarily it lends credence to your ability to but does not arrive uh your wishes your remains and so at the end of this questionnaire there's a section about funeral and the after so if it's in your will that you wish to this or that or that you know, like the elvis costume I want to be cremated in my oldest costume you khun do that, but but either the state decides for you if you don't specify and it's an emotional conversation that gets tricky because of the family and they're, um writes in a way from the heart to speak for you and then the legal rights to speak for you on who can approve and check a box and stamp something so now if your will states yeah I want to be cremated and says right in there I want to be cremated and it's signed notarized the whole bit that is a car oration authorization I can accept that ok but your p away will not stipulate what your final wishes right? All right so the p away really doesn't do a funeral director any good yeah two cents I'll be over here and that's interesting because people do have wishes and thought somebody could be very very um adam it you know internally that you want this one thing to happen and that the parents don't know or they may or may not agree or they may or may not want to do that um so saying what you want is an instruction guide you know the other word for it a living will is advanced directives and I love that because it's advanced you have to do it in advanced and it's a directive it's supposed to be direct and if you make that legally binding and you and you have a conversation and you have the paper back up to the conversation it makes it so much easier for somebody to not feel like they have to guess that your wishes don't get filtered through their emotions and that it's an instruction it's a directive and if somebody has just died who you care about and they've talked to you about their wishes and their handing you directions if they're not there it's much easier to take their directions and feel like you get to be a part of them still on what they wanted, that it can be a lovely way to continue your relationship with them after their body is is gone. You've been talking about communication a lot and I think that's a really important because you can write all that stuff out in your directives but understanding what somebody means by certain things tio it's still really good to have that conversation so that you have a clear idea because when you come down to it looking at what it says and then thinking about what it means, those are two different things. So right? So the more space citic and advanced and direct you khun b, which sounds like, oh, after food have to think about everything is like I would like to be cremated I would like to wear this dress I would like this to happen and then put on something pretty bam it's done and then everyone is that it saved hours and hours and hours and like, email strings everywhere on phone conversations and like, well, it's, just like when we were in high school, you always used to steal my sweaters it's not about anything other than a very simple thing, yeah, and writing it down, you know, putting it in your in your question here this is something that you can then hand off or do yourself and turn it into a legal document and it's done and we're halfway through what we need to dio toe actually get it done yeah um so power three medical and living wills, wills and living wills them you can't separate them necessarily but they can be separate documents and we're going to extend this into that conversation later um property often property goes to the surviving spouse if you aren't married it often goes you know by state but usually goes to those closest relatives and then it ripples out from there um do you want the property going, tio who do you want the property split amongst your children? How might you want that toe look so thinking about, um you know, one of the things that comes up a lot is how you split your assets amongst children if you have three kids and you know no, you know everyone's a snowflake, right? Like everybody is really, really different and your kids are going to be in a different ages at different phases. You know, one might be backpacking through europe and the other one has settled on with kids you never really know and so there's then I found a lot of commerce, eh asian about dividing things equally because that's fair and equitable and or dividing things based on who your kids are and what they need and what you want for them and there's no right answer to that but you can think about that a little bit differently and if you leave ah house two three kids how you want that to be split up over time like does the house need to stay in the family is somebody in charge of able to sell it to people have the right to buy the other one out you know a little bit of detail around that is the house totally underwater and you're giving them a you know like a big pile of debt that they can't handle like so just thinking through that situation and who you're giving stuff too and what that impacts gonna be and again I can't you know what you can say if if it's you know equal or if it's you know child number one has already got a gazillion dollars and a yacht and child number two is a struggling public servant and could really use the extra money to buy a house you know how whatever that situation may or may not be um and say that it depends it fish the bible belt on and other wishes for your property to do you have land yet something else do you own something with somebody else? You know what your time share anything else that you want like absolutely never removed that statue in the front yard whatever you want you know their native plants on ly whatever whatever you're here which is our here's a question so I don't really have any assets but say I'm I'm actually and they were doing insurance tomorrow ah and I'm about to do my obama care which I haven't looked into whether what life insurance is in there but say I'm killed in an accident and there's this million dollar payout oh yeah now I don't have that now so I don't really think well I want to give twenty five grand to my niece um but then after I'm dead there is twenty five grand to give to my niece right? So do I sort of imaginary aly plan for you know what I mean? Yeah ideo so so we'd love for you to be here for a long, long time there's a ball but if you assigned somebody tio you know should I have any assets even if it's your two hundred dollars or your twenty thousand dollars you are you're something else you there's there's somebody who you want any financial assets to go to so you you don't have even if we think of assets like I don't have a lot of money or I don't have a lot of stuff but we do have some assets somewhere and we can say, you know, we can say I want this this person to have whatever liquid cash or whatever whatever is in my checking account so maybe it's like a percentage of something so of whatever is there right you have life insurance you would know what the payout would be though, right? So then I'm thinking I could start allocating that in my imagination and one of the things that they ask you to dio you could one of the things that I asked you to dio in your insurance on your policy is you always have to have the official eri and so should there be an insurance payout or should there be something that comes from a policy that you've set up but you can only put one person there you want to assign who that who that person is and then that person is going to be responsible for more than one of their sin on it you can split, you've been split it up it isn't an all or nothing thing so you can you can put a couple of different people on it often people will say I wanted to know this person first and then this person in a second that you can you can specify how you want that to go it's also one of the reasons I'm looking at trust is because I have me so I don't have children I have nieces and nephews though and different ages summer married already summer still young children so I'm thinking of the payout going toe a trust when they hit a certain yes, they get their percentage thank you. That's perfect. And studios in our chat rooms same exact thing on underage nephew in these that she would like the money to go to and then so we're definitely broken was talking to that, you know a bit about you know what steps? You need to take some video yesterday? A lot of people have that in their lives right now. Yeah, yeah, they should copy in that part of the u s exactly. So setting up a trust so should there be a situation where there's something that isn't covered in the beneficiaries that you're just trying to think through some of some of those scenarios? Yeah, exactly. I strongly suggest the delayed trust. Uh, not that I have one, but I have a couple friends who got it all at once and was not in fact, one of them is, you know, are ripe right at a very young age, we just can kind of lose it. I mean, a lot of money right away all at once is not necessarily saying yeah again, you know, managing money is a skill on def you're nineteen, you might not have it right, right and your priorities change over time too so you you may want to let your you know if you're not around you might want to let your kid do the you know, if you have a lot of assets, go do your year off before college and do your thing but not all of it and then you know and if you wanted to do eighteen and twenty five and thirty and thirty five or something, you can spread it out over a long course of time so as that child of yours grows older, you can still provide for them at the different phases in their life kind of as their priority shift over time as you can have it like monthly like the one thousand dollars and I'll do it every along, you know? Yeah, you could say that would always be kind of like a like a statement it would be almost, you know, like, uh whatever yeah, something like that overhead costs first versus what you're doing, though I think yeah, so there's a number of ways you could do that saying, you know, you're a scenario in which your trial is in college and you want to be able to pay them monthly to help them with expenses while they're there to support them? You can you can do that, but right monthly would require more maintenance oversight for the trust yeah really right because it is something you only tap once every ten years then you only have to bring the lawyer into the room well or something I'm just not sure how trust really worked you say well that we're probably going down on work right? So I was going to say like little lists and living wills and all these documents you can set up trust this with the same three options I mean actually I trusted more complicated so there's there are other things with trust you can set one up online you can set one up with an attorney in your documents and that there are financial things then which our assets and things you know the names of the ownership the names of your property need to be included not trust and there's there's additional steps but it's not all to dio so depending on all those different what ifs and scenarios you can do that I wanted to quickly hit on the couple of other things that are on our questionnaire and then you're bam ready to roll other things like gifts we talked about that just briefly earlier charity things that are important to you there's the money that we've talked a lot about money going to your family members or nieces but do you have friends? Do you have associations or groups? Do you want a statue made somewhere is a local park imp martin to you, there's lots of different other ways that you can share your share, your things you think you can do whatever you want some I mean, it's just it can extend it further than your family there's also contingent beneficiaries so the same way that we're doing backups for everyone we've listed things can change over time. One of the reasons that will's aren't done correctly is because they're not updated. So if you list a few backups in each situation than you're covering your bases, if for some reason you for get tow, update it, um, and now I'd like to talk a little bit about the funeral remains were going to do the living will as well. And, um, depending on how you where you want that information to go, it can be in your will. It can also be included in your living will as well, of course, like the same with the medical power of attorney just make sure things lineup if if there's different documents, but you can literally do a check box, which is, I wish to be cremated. I wish to be buried here is perhaps, um, burial information that I've already planned you can specify that you want to be in, like, a pretty green place with the river nearby and weaken you know people can try to look for that you can specify even more specifically if there's a family plot sometimes there's land sometimes one's been bought for you ahead of time um there could be a place already and so if you specify that you do or you don't want to be there that could be helpful other people take steps to pull an it all out ahead of time um and you can even purchase everything ahead of time too and so there are probably pros and cons with that depending on what you are financial situation is if you have to have that one coffin you can do it the the interesting thing is that they're the same way that you you do know that there were so many different kinds of jam there are lot of different kinds of funeral things apologies to your industry if I've just compared to jail in the world industry I really my industry worst critic so well, how about it? Well, you know feedback always makes everybody better. So there are a number of different ways that you that you can specify your wishes and there's lots of options to do that and I think the same way with an attorney and the same way with a financial planner is you also want to be thinking carefully and thoughtfully and intentionally about about that processes well, because that's something that your interactions that your family is going to have with you know, with the whole part of the process to so we often don't think so much about it but I feel like perhaps it could resolve a number of the conversations that you find yourself in yeah, I mean you get the own this your family gets toe own this moment in you're not life, you know, I mean you're no longer there but you got to give them permission to do these things right and they should be involved in that for the healing process don't give it to a funeral home to say, well, this is what we do and this is what you can do it you get to make those decisions with your family so have the conversation and put it down in writing because I can't do anything with it if it's not you know it's it's really hard to act on it if there's no instruction so do you have a story of when it went well, do you know the success story? Oh yeah I've got a whole bunch of us eyes there one I'm yeah so briefly had this family column they said they wanted to dress their mom and I said yeah that's no problem um my funeral home tends to be a little more liberal with what we'll do, so um I said, yeah, why don't we take her to your house and you can do the dressing there and keep her there for a visitation invite everyone over and because those work kind of her wishes that she had spoken to her family but didn't write down unfortunately her family was super accommodating and they were I mean, they all came from her so you know, they had the same ideas and so we took her to her house and they had her for you know, the evening and took care of her and then they took her to the cemetery you know, I mean, they participated in that funeral and because she laid it up before and how uh how noticing like the family and their response to that but how do you think that we went as far as having a role versus the nurse is not it was really cathartic, you know? I mean, these people got to be involved in it instead of turning it over to me and saying, you know, take care of her and do whatever you do and then call it good. I took care of the stuff that they didn't want to um and then they got to start that healing process and they loved it and after everything was sudden done, they were just over the moon I mean, not happy that mom was dead but happy that they had that experience right? So not because they communicated well let's thank you it's a lovely story and so I think the nice thing about this and I got to have a similar experience where um I I didn't things a little bit differently with my late husband and um I I felt it was important for the family toe have some role in that and that we'll talk a little bit later about talking to kids but we've often forget about children being involved and so much of the decision making I did having had conversations but um uh my late husband, for example, really liked candy like not the good candy either like that crap the bags of like hard sugary candy um and so the kid's got to be in charge of going out to the storm by all of his favorite candy and we had a big table just full piles of his favorite candy and that, for example, is something that people still comment on as being personal and loving and a way to celebrate um, something that waken feel we can feel better about it. So the last thing on the checklist was the funeral, which we call a funeral but it's really, you know, legacy after and so once you fill this in, um and explore some options about attorneys and or online options or doing it yourself um you have all the information that they're going to ask you for and you can show up to the meeting prepared you, khun, send the information over, like careful with your social security number, whatever like private information. But you've already taken, like a big chunk of the process and it's done so now what we get to do is move forward into the doing process and you've saved money and you saved a bunch of time and a bunch of the steps clicking, clicking through. So you now have pretty much most of what you need to start acting on getting it done. Hey, that does not have control of a in a world where so much is out of our control. Let's, take care of the things we can change, weaken cheese, people gonna have some things to d'oh things. Tio, right, this's a girl's, not like. And then after you tap down. So what? You take tap dancing lessons, a picture and I would like, you know, I want like, interpretive dance is, you know, do it. Did you want on joyce interpretive dance for your right and your will on him? But that she will say, do whatever you want.