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My dad is lucid in the morning, but seems to have memory issues and attention issues in the afternoon. He is in a nursing home. He never created a will. He is 84 years old and almost 85. My family wants me to help him create a will. He has no real property and is on Medicaid.

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In Minnesota, this is when probate is necessary (with or without a will):

*If a person dies and owns real estate (regardless of value) either in his/her name alone or as a "tenant in common" with someone else, a probate proceeding is required.
*When a person dies and has no real property, but has personal property in his/her name alone totaling $75,000 or more, a probate proceeding must be filed.
*When a person passes away and has a combination of real property and any amount of personal property in his/her name alone, a probate must be filed.

You can look up what requires probate in your state.

My husband had a will. My mother did not. Neither of their "estates" went through probate because as Medicaid recipients they had negligible assets.

Do help Dad make a simple will, naming you executor and stating where his personal goods should go. It will keep things simple. But unless your state has very different rules than my state, I can't imagine that probate is going to be necessary.
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Your family is right about his dying without a will (Intestate).   In most states probate will take longer and cost much more if he dies without one.   If he has a will, many states have fast track for small estate's to be probated. My dad's will allowed us to probate in Texas in less then a month.  Without a will it would have taken months and cost much more then it did.  Also, through his will, he will be able to appoint you as his executor of his will so you can represent him after death.  Power of Attorney (POA) ceases with his death so you won't be able to use this to represent his interests anymore.  It will all be up to the courts.

If the whole family is on board, and your dad is lucid enough to write down his wishes and sign the paper, then he DOES NOT need a lawyer to write a will (which can be quite costly).  Really, all you need to do is search the web on how to write a will. There are numerous free will's you can download, or your dad can simply write it all out on a piece of notebook paper in his own hand. Just check to be sure what needs to be in it...such as the date, his assets, who he wants to carry out his wishes after death (executor), etc.

If he's been officially diagnosed with Alzheimers by a physician and is on medication for it, then it might be easy for the family to fight a hand written will if they so choose. But if the family is ok with it and your handling of his the estate after dad passes away, then this would definitely be the way to go.

Explain all this to dad when he's lucid and let him know it will save much time and keep the government from trying to hit up the family for much more money then they would get if he had simply written down his wishes in the form of a will before death.   His writing a will will also, hopefully, help things go more smoothly between siblings as they were the ones suggesting that you get him to write a will.

My husband and I both have wills we wrote and we keep them in our safety deposit box and our daughter knows where the key is and is on the box as a signer.  We did get our signature's notarized, but this, too, is not a set in stone rule.  If he's concerned about writing his own will without a lawyer, then finding someone who can notorize his will might help him feel better.  There may be someone at the nursing home who can, or if not, any local bank can do so.

Good Luck!
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I told the lawyer who came to our house to do documents that my husband's cognitive abilities came and went. She said if he is not lucid the first trip she makes she will simply come again. He was fine when she got there the first time.
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That makes a lot of sense. As long as the attorney is satisfied your father understands what he's signing, then especially as it's mainly an administrative question it should be okay. Make the appointment bright 'n' early and hope he's having a good day :)
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There are no disputes at all and only a car and some personal items. I am the POA and my family members are concerned about the cost of probate and typical difficulties when a person dies without a will. I do need permission, as his daughter, to manage his affairs when he passes on and currently, we have no such document allowing me to do that. That's why we are asking this question, not because of disputes over property. I just want to facilitate his affairs once he's passed.
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I'm a little puzzled about why your family is anxious that the will should be made. If your father has no bequests of any value to make, and there won't be any question of probate in the formal sense, perhaps an attorney could just take down some sort of notarized statement of his wishes - short of an actual will, but giving direct instructions to the family.

There's no dispute within the family about funeral arrangements, items of sentimental value, or anything like that?
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Your best bet is to make an appointment for Dad with an Elder Law Attorney, and let the Attorney decide if he/she thinks Dad would be ok discussing a Will, POA, and anything other important legal documents he might need.

If the Attorney feels your Dad is past the stage of understanding legal documents, he/she will let you know. Then you would need to take the advice of a Probate Court once your Dad passes.
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