Post # 1
My Darling Husband and I have decided to make a will (I know, it is super stupid that we don’t have one). We have two children and two substantial life insurance policies (again, I realize we needed a will a long time ago). Currently, my sister is the benificiary of our life insurance policies and we have assumed that she would accept custody. Recently we have learned, that in Illinois, children who are orphaned without a will in place become ward of the state.
Today we asked some of our closest friends to raise our girls in the event of our demise. We have come to believe that they would be a better fit because of our shared values, they also homeschool and attend our church. My sister and her husband are preparing to move out of state. (I can imagine that having your parents die and then having to move somewhere where you don’t know anyone would be quite overwhelming.) We are fine with my sister continuing to care for the financial part of this.
We are going on vacation in less than two weeks. I really would like to have something in place pronto. If my husband and I both wrote letters explaining our wishes for the guardianship of our children and had them notarized, would that suffice until we can get back and have proper wills drawn up?
Post # 3
@MrsFuzzyFace: I really hope you’re not going someplace dangerous for those 2 weeks!
Post # 4
@love108: I know. I really want to feel like this is taken care of. It makes me sick that we have been so irresponsible.
Post # 5
I’m not a lawyer and can’t give legal advice but I believe that if you handwrite a will, sign it, and have it signed by at least two witnesses it will more than likely be held up in court.
Post # 6
A hollographic will signed by two witnesses would work. But it has to be entirely hand written, and the two witnesses should be disinterested parties. The will would be valid until revoked.
Post # 7
@asscherlover: Does this will have to registared somewhere or something?
Post # 9
CHECK WITH THE LAWS OF YOUR JURISDICTION!
All this takes is calling a local lawyer and asking them. They will let you know (especially if they think you are going to come in and give them some business). If someone does not tell you, call someone else. Tell them you are wanting to get conventional wills when you get back but need something in the meantime and want to know what you can do.
Do not just assume a holographic will is valid where you are. They are not everywhere and the requirements can vary. Where I live, a holographic will does not have to have ANY witnesses. It just must be entirely in your own handwriting and signed by yourself only. A conventional will requires two witnesses (who are not the executor, beneficiaries, etc).
If you make a holographic will (assuming it is valid in your area) you should put it some place safe and let whoever is going to be the executor/personal administrator (whatever they call it in your jurisdiction) know where it is. Do not put it in a bank safety deposit box or something like that where they cannot get at it!
BUT, I really think if you are not leaving for two weeks you should be able to get in with a lawyer and get some conventional wills done up. I do them for people who are leaving on vacations and such in a day or two frequently.
A holographic will, if valid where you live, can be held up in Court, but you are likely going to be leaving a lot of things out and you won’t have the legal knowledge to avoid some of the problems that can happen with wills or capture all the nitty gritty details that really should be included.
Post # 10
OP, you probably have enough time to see a lawyer and get the wills drawn up properly. When I clerked for a trusts/estates practice, wills were done in a matter of hours. One thing you can do that will make the process more efficient is draw up a list of all your assets; property, insurance, pensions, 401ks, stocks, valuable personal property (and who it should go to), and have that ready to be reviewed. This about what kind of trusts you want to establish for your children. Consider limitations you would like to impose on your sister or your children’s guardian; things sister should not be able to do with the insurance proceeds, whether some should be put in trust for the children, when they should have access to this money and for what purpose. This will cut down on the cost, if the attorney is billing by the hour.
Post # 11
PLEASE go see an attorney OR go online and try to find something to write up a will. This is serious, for your little kids’ future, so why not do it right so you can rest easy? All states are different, but custody going to someone that is not a relative is a long shot, especially if you do not see an attorney! PLEASE go see one!