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I am an only child with an 88 yo mom and 90 yo dad both in relatively poor health. My name is on bank accounts and I am signer on stock accounts. House is titled in my parents’ name. There are no other assets. I am POA but of course that ends with death. Should we have a will drafted?

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daybyday27, I see in your profile that your Mom has Alzheimer's/Dementia. Do you think your Mom's mind is clear enough to understand a legal document? If yes, that would be great. If not, sorry she may not be able to sign any documents.

I would highly recommend an "Elder Law Attorney" to do the paperwork, as there is more than just a Will to consider. My parents had Medical Directives/Living Wills which told everyone what they wanted done on their final journey, like whether to use CPR, for feeding tubes, how to proceed further with their care, etc. It was so helpful for me to use that as a guide. No second guessing.

Your parents might want to think about a Revocable Trust. In the Trust will go the stocks, bank accounts, the house title, etc. The Attorney can let you know if he/she thinks the estate is worth doing that type of paperwork.

If your parents have each other as joint title on everything, thus if one should pass, everything automatically goes to the other. Then when the last parent passes, everything could go into County/City Probate, depends on State laws.
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Yes! Otherwise the government may have your parents declared intestate, which means going to court to have the court determine your parents' heirs. Sounds like your parents' estates aren't complicated. What I did for Mom's accounts, I'm a co-signer on all accounts or I worked with the bank so one account's disposition was easy, then I asked Mom (and siblings were involved) for Mom to sign a Transfer on Death deed to us siblings. So all of Mom's accounts and the house is set-up so there's no reason for probate--though I will confer with Mom's lawyer to ensure all's set up and ready to make things as easy as possible.

So, bottom line, I would talk with them about a simple will and a Transfer on Death deed. They're relatively easy. To ensure you and your parents do it right confer with an estate attorney.
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Even with just a will you will go to probate. You should either setup a trust or make sure everything is listed with beneficiaries and the house has a transfer on death deed. Those things will avoid probate. You don't want to go through probate.
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For everyone reading this thread, please note that legal documents are not a do-it-yourself project. All it takes is one missing word, or one misplaced word, to turn that legal document into a nightmare.
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Thanks! Parents are onboard with this, and I have an attorney lined up. Just wanted another opinion and the resources here are just great.
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When you visit the attorney, take all the paperwork that was done years ago to have it looked over. Sometimes POAs are told the documents are too old. The elder attorney would know if any updates are required.
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Stepdad had one daughter. All his accounts were POD to her. He still had a will. Yes, you never know who may crawl out of the woodwork to try to make claim on the assets.
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DaybyDay--- while a Will can make things somewhat simpler, the rules for NJ residents that die without a Will are the same as what I think you would want to happen. The surviving spouse inherits everything at the first death and you (only child) will inherit everything at the second death. Anything with a named beneficiary does not need a Will or trust. Examples: Life Insurance, annuities, IRAs, and bank accounts with a transfer on death designation.
IMHO it seems like you have enough on your plate and it seems that everything will pass as you all might want it to. Assuming there aren't any hidden family members . . . ready to pop out of the woodwork!
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geewiz I was going to comment that it depends on the state. I live in MD and it is pretty straight-forward, though there would be cases where everything went into probate. But, as I was going to comment, in NJ, it is not that easy... My cousin was on a joint bank account with her husband. Her husband died last year and the state froze the account. She had to get a lawyer to straighten everything out. So, you may want to make sure you have a Will....
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Personally I think it’s good to have a will waiting in the wings, even IF everything has you as the POD, or as the designated beneficiary or your already co-owner (so in theory everything passes outside of probate so no will or probate court actions needed) as you never know what could surface.

Drawing up a will won’t cost much to do but it’s there for you to whip out if need be otherwise you face having to determine lineal heirship (sigh) however that’s done for your state.

I mention all this cause periodically on this site someone will post that their elder has unexpectedly gotten an inheritance. Like never in this solar system would they ever had expected it...... that a distant relative, old friend, army buddy, former student, whatever named them in their will or as a designated beneficiary. And it affects their eligibility for Medicaid or affects how they have trust, or divested assets, etc. Or their parent forgot about or didn’t think mattered for an old asset and that asset was not titled to the trust. A will allows executor to get things done & comes in pretty handy to have.

You don’t have to enter a will, you can just have it at the ready.

There’s a wonderful NYT article with fotos from 2015 on unexpected inheritance, “The Lonely Life of George Bell”. Has like 2k in comments which are just as moving & insightful as the article.
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