Hi, thank you for being there. You all are a great resource and support.

My husband and I are 60 yo and this year we both have noticed a decline in our health. He is the king of all do-it-yourselfers. Sure it saves us a lot of money, but he makes up for that with the time he has to put into everything and often projects have to wait years before he will get to them and when he does, it usually takes 5-10 times longer than if we would've hired someone. If I complain or push, he goes on the defensive and offensive. He grew up very poor and it seems to have impacted him in being extremely frugal and doing everything for himself. He hates it if I hire anyone to do anything.

He can't abide the thought of hiring an attorney to draw up a will/trust. Once he told me if I went forward with an attorney for that, he wouldn't sign any documents and he would deny/negate everything I wrote in the will. I started looking for cheap alternatives to an attorney, but I think we might be a little more complicated than what very cheap will preparers offer. I finally found a firm that draws up wills/trusts and offers package deals. They do the upfront work, they are not for use after we both have passed. The price is grudgingly acceptable to hubs and he's given his consent for me to use them. However, he still gets very upset if I ask him the ?s I have to fill out on the documents. In addition, he said he's not going to fill out his documents. Since we're having reciprocal wills, it's not going to work if he won't fill out or sign the docs.

Also, I've always had poor health and he's had robust health. He's been the bread winner and I've mostly been at home. I've told him he must have some ulterior designs as to why he won't participate in this. We've been married 34 years. God has been my rock, refuge and comfort. God did a miracle in hubby and the last 9 years have been a big improvement over the first 25. He found software to draw up a will, but I looked through it and it's a piece of generic garbage that ultimately doesn't mean a thing and wouldn't hold up in any court.

I'd appreciate any thoughts as to how I should proceed. Take the bad with the good. I said I would, and I did and I do. Any helpful advice is much appreciated. Thanks

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It is amazing to read your story, which so clearly explains the way that many (if not most) people think about legal things and lawyers: avoid and keep life simple.

You can honestly congratulate the person who is cautious and doesn't want to waste money. And you can also honestly explain to him how Estate Planning ends up saving money.

If you give up the opportunity to prepare the basic planning documents, state law and judges will decide how assets are managed and distributed, and how health care decisions are made. Those legal proceedings are not simple and cost thousands of dollars more than what you spend to have things written the way YOU want.

The DIY form documents you mentioned often won't save money. Without the insights of the Estate Planning Lawyer who takes the time to review the data you gather on your Inventory forms, and then to listen and understand what you want, you'll never know about ways you can avoid Probate and other traps that consume time and money.

You can promise your husband that he wouldn't like the default decisions that result under your state's laws for people who don't have Will, Power of Attorney, health care, and other documents that are prepared just for him by the Estate Planning Lawyer.
Helpful Answer (3)

Since he's saying he will not participate, take him at his word. Leave him out = there's no reason for you to stop your pre-planning. If you have a combined estate worth over a million, I really think you should consider using an estate attorney to do this right. But even then, using a real, live attorney is better than none at all. One of the things to think about is that you can always change your will.

What I would do is to get a handle on what accounts lie where, and if they are joint or single named accounts. If they are all in HIS name, that's a problem. It's true right now that married couples can leave all their worth to their spouse with no tax problem. I'd consider leaving my half of worldly goods to my kids in my will since hubby is not participating. I can change the will if/when he gets on board with writing his own will!

If my hubby was not willing to tell me how much our net worth is, that's a bigger issue. What is he hiding? Does he not trust you? I'd take photos of every bank, broker, and mutual fund account statement that comes into my house starting yesterday.
Helpful Answer (12)
NYDaughterInLaw Jun 2020
Absolutely agree with you, Surprise!
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My DH was also adamantly opposed to making out a will and I don't know why. He TOOK his father to the attorney's for the appts he required to set up a trust. He encouraged his mother to get one done, kind of leaned on her. She was very mad about it, but when I told her strangers would go through her underwear drawers, literally, she was horrified and did do a will.

DH has been up against death many times. Maybe he just figured I'll outlive him and so at that point, I'd make a will.

I told him I was going to do it, he could come willingly or unwillingly, but it was going to happen.

I filled out all the paperwork and info. All the atty did was organize it, have it put in a lovely leather book and spent 30 minutes helping us to make a few decisions we had not thought of. He actually said he felt bad taking the whole fee as I had done most of the work.

When we went in to 'sign' everything, DH was actually very grateful. He's just stubborn and likes to leave as much up to me as he can. I didn't care, I just wanted things to be organized for the kids.

Only thing we totally disagreed on: I would NOT name our son, (who is an attorney) as the executor. Our oldest daughter is, with our 2nd oldest daughter as backup. DH really held out on that, and I told him my reasons for why I felt the way I did---for one thing, our son doesn't live here and never will, also, my daughter can handle things as she is close, incredibly organized and unemotional.

We always had a 'holistic will'---signed by both of us, but I never felt calm about our affairs until we had this done legally.

Some people are fabulous at procrastinating. This is a family trait for my DH. He has grand plans, but they mostly never come to fruition. Not a problem if you promised your wife you'd build a small gate 30 years ago and still haven't done it--and never will. It's like saying you're going to do something means you did it. No, sir, it's NOT the same.

I am at the point in life where if DH offers to do something I'd like or need done, he has a certain length of time in which to do it. After that. I hire it out. He gets kind of mad, but he always has plenty of time to do things, he just doesn't.
Helpful Answer (9)

Poiuyt, you can inform him that there are 2 things that happen when someone becomes mentally incapacitated with no assigned PoA:
1) they force their LO to pursue guardianship through the courts (a distressing, time-consuming and costly processes with no guaranteed outcome) in order to legally provide and manage their care.
2) they become wards of the county if their LO can't (or chooses not to) pursue guardianship and the county guardian then gets control of everything (medical and financial). If there's no will for them, the state takes the assets to pay for their care, so goodbye, any financial legacy for your kids or grandkids. Not sure if this can be prevented through probate. Pricey probate.

Then look him in the eye and ask him if this kind of stress is what he wants for you in your old age or infirmity. Literally, look him in the eye and don't let him get away without answering yes or no.

Also let him know that he's not the first person in the world to mistakenly think they'll never get dementia. He can read about all THOSE people right here on this forum under Caregiver Burnout. No one knows if/when their dementia will begin. Once they have dementia, it's too late. Or, they may have a stroke and lose the ability to communicate. Everyone ages. Everyone experiences decline. Everyone dies. This is life and you must insist he face it with maturity.
Helpful Answer (7)

P, you need to get a password keeper app that you both have access to. It will be a nightmare if you don't know the account numbers or can't get online access. We use 1Password personally and for our business (but there are others). I've given my adult children the master pw so if anything happens to us, they will not be hamstrung. The only thing is if one of the users changes a pw, they will need to allow the app to update it in its memory. But this is better than nothing. It also stores cc's, licenses, insurance info, and pdfs of anything you want. A very handy tool. Worth the nominal price. And trust me, you will be forgetting your passwords as time rolls along.
Helpful Answer (6)
Poiuyt Jun 2020
Did you have hesitancy in putting all your passwords in such an app? Maybe it's because I'm not very techy that I balk at putting all the passwords together online. Still, it's a great point you bring up...time rolls on and it's better to be prepared for mental changes.
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Why not just do one for yourself? He is already demonstrating that he is cheap an laxidazical. You might want to consider appointing a POA and HPOA of someone you trust and not him. Consider someone younger than him who will be more rational.

I an just completing an estate for someone at 1.5 years out. It took more than 10 K but there were many twists and turns. But sometime estates costs much less than that.
Helpful Answer (5)
Tothill Jun 2020
I agree with Mac.

You do not want your hubby to be your POA for finances nor healthcare. He has shown he will not spend money as needed and would be looking either to care for you at home, without appropriate help due to dollars or would look for the cheapest alternative.

As we age, it is best to have someone younger act as POA. Currently my brother is my POA, with his wife as second, but we are just in our 50's. In my 60's I will be reassigning POA to one of my kids. Why not assign one of the kids now? They are in their 20's and just developing their own independent lives. If I were incapacitated now, and one of them had to step up, it would have a devastating impact on their future.
My father died young, at 43, without a will.  My mother went through the worst time of her life, and it was worse because of the administration issues.  Ask your DH, the only one who will suffer is YOU and is that what he wants.
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MountainMoose Jun 2020
Exactly! Having a will and a living trust helps others (and brings peace of mind for the signer).
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He says he won't fill out the paperwork?

Why would that be?

Does he do the taxes himself?

I would be suspicious that he is experiencing cognitive issues and is trying to hide them.
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lealonnie1 Jun 2020
My thoughts exactly. Sounds like cognitive behavioral issues to me 100%
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You mention he is the bread winner and you are mostly home, that means you work VERY hard keeping up a household, food shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, making doctor appointments, filling out paperwork, running errands, etc. etc.

I once heard the phrase from a contractor, “being cheap is expensive” and I learned my lesson. You both sound like responsible people.

You don’t mention if you both have children?
• Do you own a house...are you both on the deed?
• Is your name on a joint bank account (with the wording AND or OR) or are you a beneficiary?
• Is there a Life Insurance policy, are you named the beneficiary?

I asked all these questions because not everyone needs a Will.
It depends on what & how you own it and if you don’t own it where you’d like it to end up once you have passed.

If you are both on the deed of the house as joint tenancy then you’ll get right of survivorship and fully own the house, no probate involved and a Will would not override this anyway.

If both of your names are on the bank accounts as joint owners, then you can provide a death certificate and it’s yours, same as if you’re a beneficiary (POD Paid On Death account) and no probate and no Will needed.

That may leave other personal property, does he own a car titled only in his name, are his belongings of value like jewelry, coin & stamp collections...without a Will it may not go directly to you as a spouse especially if you have children and it will all need to go through Probate. You would want a Will in this case.

Some consultations with an Attorney may be free, depending on what you need drawn up however it could be expensive but worth it in the end...less headaches afterwards.
In my opinion I won’t knock a Will done on a website such as LegalZoom, as long as it’s the correct filing with your State rules and notarized/witnessed with people not involved in the inheritance.

Good luck and I hope you choose what’s best for your family.

Stay safe & healthy.
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Poiuyt Jun 2020
Thank you very much! Great advice. My mother used to say that expression in Spanish.
We do have children. We do own our house and both our names are on the deed. We do have both our names on our bank accounts as joint owners. The only account that has one owner named is my inheritance account. That one I have listed only our children as the beneficiaries.
Our cars are listed in our own names, not jointly owned. As someone else stated, I plan to go to the DMV to fill out the form to put both our names on the titles.
His personal property that is valuable is all his tools and all his hiking/camping/bicycling gear. My personal property would be household furniture and appliances.
There is no life insurance policy.

Hubby wants to write up his will to say that after we both pass, the children are to get the Salvation Army to come and take away all our personal possessions in the house, garage, storage sheds. Then the house is to be sold within one year (he initially said 3 months) and proceeds divided equally among the children.

Thanks very much for your kind sentiments.

Blessings to you.
Have you tried telling him how much of your estate would be eaten up by probate fees if he refuses to get his affairs in order? Figure out how much your assets are worth and then figure out what 30-40% of that is, and tell him that amount will be paid to the probate court.

You could tell him what will happen if you go first too. Make it sound like it will be a nightmare for him to deal with and he won’t be able to touch any assets for a long time because of all the legalities since there was no will and no trust.

the only reason MIL got her affairs in order is because was given 3 months to live & to get her affairs in order. When she was diagnosed she was told to get her affairs in order but she didn’t, she thought she had plenty of time. Less than a year later, she was given 3 months to live. And her situation is what got my parents to get off their butts and get their affairs in order.
Helpful Answer (4)
Poiuyt Jun 2020
I love this. This is something easy to do and it will help. Thank you!
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