Home > Thinking about wills and last days

Thinking about wills and last days

February 24th, 2020 at 09:02 pm

Maybe this is a morbid topic but FIL’s recent death along with our ages too I guess is prompting some discussions about our wishes for a time that we might not be capable of expressing them. I never have created a living will because I want to live! I figured that that is what doctors are supposed to do by default. But I didn’t think of more detailed aspects for a time when I could be bedridden and not able to either think clearly or communicate clearly. I decided that I am going to document how I want to be treated if I am ever bedridden. From getting fresh air, to music, nourishment, being at home, etc. I am going to write it down, tell my family, and show them where the file is kept.

We wrote wills almost 20 years ago. At that time we didn’t have much in the way of assets but we were concerned about our children (only two of them then) being cared for in the event that something happened to us. So we had relatively simple wills drawn up to name a guardian and to provide him with all assets and life insurance proceeds to use for providing for our children in the event that we both died. Otherwise we each left everything to the other.

Not only have we added children, but most of those children are 18+ so considered adults now, and we’ve moved to a different state. Watching both of our dads remarry after our moms died opened our eyes on how assets pass around. For example, if I died it would be fine with me for DH to remarry. But would I want my mom’s jewelry to go to his newer wife when he died later? No! I would not. So I’d like to have some possessions included in my will that would not go to DH in the event of my death if he outlives me. Also we’re seeing how very important it is that you appoint an executor that will carry out your wishes even if he doesn’t agree with them. I want to change mine now.

And on top of those things, we now live in one of the six states that has inheritance taxes for estates, even on assets (IRAs for example) that are not included in the will. The tax doesn’t apply to items inherited by spouses but it does apply to items inherited by children.

So actions for us now: (1) Rethink our second phase of retirement when we plan to downsize to a cottage. Let’s consider neighboring states that have similar climate and terrain but are more tax friendly for our family. And if one of us dies soon, God forbid, the surviving one should move. (2) Rewrite the wills this year. Plan to revisit them every 5 years – could be on all my milestone birthdays.

I’m curious to hear of your experiences with wills – creating your own or unintended consequences of others that you’ve witnessed. Anyone have a story to share?

8 Responses to “Thinking about wills and last days”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    We have wills, primarily to name a guardian, but now our girls are also over 18. We leave to each other or to girls if we both pass. We sure haven't talked about remarriage if one would die. I did watch my grandfather remarry and convert religions at the age of 80 I think it was. He then had alzheimer's and was in a home. His new wife inherited everything. My mother and three sisters didn't get anything. They all handled it really well but I think it hurt on some level because he didn't consider them, but yet, I'm not sure he was really of sound mind.

    My father in law died without a will. Was no longer married. I think someone hand scribbled something that was taken to be a will, leaving all money to be divided between the seven children. My mother in law (his ex wife) was the executor, along with one sibling. Soon after that did she decide to make her own will.

    A friend of my mother's just had a stroke, in her 80s, she is in assisted living. My mom is visiting regularly, but just a month in, she sees that she is getting depressed and she is not sure how well she is being cared for despite visitors. This woman really can't speak or articulate for herself.

    It's just so hard to know how one's end of life will be like, but I think it wise for any of us to articulate anything that we feel is important to our care. My mother has told my daughter he can shave her head if she gets bedridden. I think she doesn't like the thought of what her hair might look like if someone else were to fix it!

  2. mumof2 Says:

    We just update our wills a couple years ago since the kids are in their 20's its funny as one has a chronic illness and one doesn't so we basically split everything in half for them but the youngest is like I can work and do more things so just make sure DD is taken care of nice to know if anything does happen to us they will support each other...we have been discussing end of life forms lately...but havent done them!!

  3. rob62521 Says:

    I don't think it is morbid, but pragmatic on both living wills and regular wills. When my mom died in 2006, she had a burial plot that had been passed down in the family, but no stone. We bought the stone. DH decided we needed to have our simple wills updated, get living wills, and buy our own burial plot and stone so whomever was left behind would not have to deal with all the stuff in a time of grief.

    We had a friend whose mom died and his dad remarried. The will was written that his kids got the house and tools and other items, but the second wife made sure she got everything she could put her hands on. The deal with the will was the second wife could continue to live in the house as long as she was able, pay no rent to the kids, but had to pay the insurance and taxes. She decided the kids should pay it all and so they asked her to leave. It was a huge mess as she and her family tore up the house before they moved her out.

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I have a simple will, drawn up quite a few years ago, that divides my assets at the time of my death between my two sons. I hope my condo is paid off by then!

  5. LifeBalance Says:

    So interesting to hear those stories! It seems to get complicated when there are remarriages - as Rob and CCF recount. It's a tough thing because you don't think about remarriages when the first parent dies. And then when the parent finds another partner it would be awkward to respond with "so can we talk about your will then?"

  6. GoodLiving Says:

    My Dad had a will that basically left everything to his three kids. He was divorced 12+ years from our mother. His partner was very gracious and probably still has quite a bit of his stuff in her home mostly because we haven't dealt with it yet. He died in a tragic accident that she was also involved in. Thankfully, when he asked me to be executor, I told him to tell me what he wanted so we had a hand written list of things that he wanted to go to her and things that he wanted to go to us. He also had a living will and so it was emotionally painful to let his body go, but we knew that's what he would want.

    My sister just married a little more than a year ago. She wanted to make sure that her husband's adult daughter never had access to the lawsuit money from our Dad's death in the event of my sister's death. She also drew up a will that if she dies, she only wants half of her assets to go to her husband, the rest split to her sisters, nephew and our mother.

    I've told my family that my spouse should have the house if I die first. My assets will be split a majority to my son and spouse with a little to each sister.

  7. LifeBalance Says:

    GL, what a story! I'm so sorry for your sudden loss. You are fortunate though that you had the conversation and the document from your Dad so you knew what to do in such a difficult situation. And obviously that made an impression on you and your sister so that you have your affairs in order as well.

  8. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Shortly after my DH and I married, we were able to go through our church's trust department and have wills made for free, as well as other end of life documents. We probably do need to redo them, because the person we had named as our first executor (husbands sister) passed away a bit over two years ago.

    When my dad passed away a bit over six years ago, he had a very out of date will (from when my brother and I were 3 and 8 ...) So since he didn't have much in the way of belongings/assets, my brother and I just sorted it out between us. We have a good relationship, so it worked out.

    When my mom dies, that will be more interesting. She currently has considerable assets due to her husband dying in June. She supposedly is working with a financial advisor and has named me as the main point of contact ... but who knows if that is true or not. (She keeps saying they're going to call me. No call so far.) I fear it is going to be a mess to decipher. I *really* hope she sells the house she's in before that time comes. Hopefully it will be a long time before I have to deal with it at all.

    Both of my DH's parents and siblings are already gone. So I'm the only one who has the potential for having to deal with end of life stuff for family members.

Leave a Reply

(Note: If you were logged in, we could automatically fill in these fields for you.)
Will not be published.

* Please spell out the number 4.  [ Why? ]

vB Code: You can use these tags: [b] [i] [u] [url] [email]