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Will, Cremation, and Mailing Goodbye Letters

Discussion in 'Estate Planning, Creating Wills & Trusts' started by bojekki, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. bojekki

    bojekki Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I am single and have no support system, and I am not educated about these things. I think I will feel better if I do these things. A will, cremation, and write goodbye letters to be sent out when passed. I also have some brain injuries, so I don't have confidence and I worry about being taken advantage of.

    1- Do I have to make a will to assign just $800 of "stuff"? Is a will needed only if its over a certain value?

    2- Would an attorney be willing to hold letters for me, then mail them when I pass?

    3- I want cremation and pay for it before I pass. But I might be in another state when I pass, would it still be valid? I don't know where to start.
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    It's always a good idea to have an attorney assist you with all this but I'm in a similar boat and can understand how it might not be practical to do that.

    You need a will for any value if you want to leave instructions specifying what you want done. There are some lawyers that advertise simple wills for a few hundred dollars. But if you can't afford that, Arizona allows a person to make a "holographic" will, which is one written entirely in one's own handwriting and signed without the necessity of witnesses. See ARS 14-2502 and 14-2503.

    Arizona Revised Statutes

    You can google wills for Arizona and you'll come up with samples that you can copy from.

    That's what I did.

    Yes. You can call around and see how much an attorney will charge for that service. Probably too much. It would be better to nominate somebody in your will who can take care of things when the time comes and let that person know where your will and private papers are kept. Don't give the papers or copies to anybody as you might want to change things later and the stuff could be difficult to retrieve.

    It occurs to me that if you have people you want to send letters to, then those people might actually be your support group and any one of them might be willing to act as representative of your estate.

    Most funeral homes will allow you to pre-pay for your funeral in accordance with your instructions. But that might not be a good idea if you expect to be transient from state to state. It would be better if you set aside funds for your funeral and leave instructions in your will.

    Keep in mind that you can change and/or update all of this any time. If you end up residing in another state you'll want to check its probate statutes as some states don't allow holographic wills.
    bojekki and shadowbunny like this.
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    What "things" are you talking about?

    Whether or not you make a will is entirely up to you. The purpose of a will is to say who gets what when you die. A will governs all of your assets except those assets held (1) in accounts that have a pay-on-death beneficiary, (2) in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, and (3) in trust. If you don't make a will, then the law requires that your assets (other than those mentioned above) be divided in accordance with the intestate succession law. Basically, what that means for a single person with no children is that your stuff goes to your parents (if living) or your siblings or your grandparents or aunts/uncles or cousins (in that order). The size of the estate is not relevant.

    You'll have to ask to find out.

    The extent to which a person can predetermine the manner of disposition of his/her bodily remains depends on the applicable state law. Generally, that determination is made by the deceased person's surviving family member (although, in most cases, survivors would honor the deceased's wishes, especially if the deceased has prepaid for a particular means of disposition).

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