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Old 22-01-2019, 11:26   #16
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

As others have stated - it's set of final instructions to surviving family, as to issues they will need to address. Contracts you have, utility and credit card numbers and companies, bank accounts, investment info, loans, anything they need to wrap up or locate if you are suddenly gone. Also, write in for them to buy a cold keg of pabst blue ribbon, and play 1970's Rubberbandman on an endless loop, etc..
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Old 22-01-2019, 11:28   #17
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

Let me weigh in on this one, as I have relevant experience:
We have an emergency packet. It contains our wills, trust documents, durable powers of attorney, health care POA, living will, and most importantly, an instruction sheet. The instruction sheet describes (1) when to implement the "plan", (2) who to call (3) what to do, and (4) what NOT to do. The whole purpose here is to let others know what we want done, as if we were there. So, if we go MIA for a period of time, here is what you do. If we are DOA, here is what you do. Here is what you don't do. Here are the people you call. The location of this packet is known to our successor trustees (our children).
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:09   #18
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Googled holographic will. Thanks.

But I don’t think that was what we were discussing.

I think it was more of an issue about what were to happen if we just disappeared.

Assuming we both have legal and enforceable wills.

Wait a moment!!!! Maybe I now recall the context!!!!

AB HA! Got it.

Here’s the scenario. We are cruising around, and disappear. Kids back home are busy with their own lives are of course not paying attention to us. So when we disappear they are left entirely clueless. Who is our attorney, who has the will, who is handleing our retirement funds. That sort to thing. A way for the kids to get a handle on what to do in case of our sudden and unexpected demise.

That is the “lost at sea” letter, a memonic to myself.

Thanks, I just needed to chat with some folks to re-engage the brain.



I've written many wills for folks over the years and I always have them give a copy of the Will to the executor or personal representative with instructions where to go and look for the original because that is what courts will want in the event of probating the estate. Being lost at sea is no different from being lost in the mountains or elsewhere. Hopefully you have some connections to your kids or other relatives and can let them know generally where you at most weeks of the year. If no one hears from you, sooner or later, a missing persons alarm will issue. If your boat or bodies are found, it will be time to move forward with estate matters. Also, you can arrange pay on death beneficiary forms to avoid probate of many items including bank accounts and houses. Good luck with your query, and by the way, very few states accept entirely hand written wills without notarizations.
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:17   #19
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

Quote:
Let me weigh in on this one, as I have relevant experience:
We have an emergency packet. It contains our wills, trust documents, durable powers of attorney, health care POA, living will, and most importantly, an instruction sheet. The instruction sheet describes (1) when to implement the "plan", (2) who to call (3) what to do, and (4) what NOT to do. The whole purpose here is to let others know what we want done, as if we were there. So, if we go MIA for a period of time, here is what you do. If we are DOA, here is what you do. Here is what you don't do. Here are the people you call. The location of this packet is known to our successor trustees (our children).

Add online account username and passwords and this is excellent!!
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:25   #20
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

Ringnes (lets see them find THAT!) and late 60’s music. Doors, Pink Floyd, real music.
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:26   #21
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

In the Estate Planning world (which I retired from last year) the document you want is sometimes called "What I Own & Where it is Kept", a reasonably self explanatory title.
It isnt a legal document. It is just a list of all that stuff, including full reference numbers & contact details for investment companies, insurance companies, etc.
List where your will is, also, of course.
Make as many copies as you like & send them to people you trust, "to be opened in the event of my death ". Obviously be aware of possible identity theft these days - this document will contain a lot of information you do not want in the wrong hands. These days it might of course just be a computer file. Dont forget to decide what you want to do about any necessary computer passwords.
Just think - you are dead. What do your kids need to know? Remember - THEY CAN'T ASK YOU.....

Must remember to update mine. Now, where did I put it......
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:35   #22
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

This thread has turned out more valuable than I could have imagined.

One perhaps trite thing to add:

Online passwords and monikers to forums such as this so that, in our sudden absence our kin can let folks here know what happened.
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:40   #23
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

As an attorney, I can tell you that you are better off meeting with an attorney in your home state (that's the place of your legal residence) to get advice on writing a will. I have seen wills prepared by individuals (without legal advice) that were ineffective because they did not follow the particular requirements of a valid will in their state. Just signing yourself, or even having your signature notarized, may not be enough. These laws vary by state, so that is why you should deal with an attorney in your state.

Regarding the 'lost at sea letter,' I have never heard of it. As to what happens if you simply disappear, again states have various statutes with specific guidance, that address such matters.
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Old 22-01-2019, 12:42   #24
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

Regardless of sea or land, having good instructions for the folks left behind is a really good idea. Things that you or your partner know by heart can take weeks for someone to discover. Where do you have life insurance or bank accounts? What's that credit union where you have a spare thousand in case of emergency?

Remember your medical emergency bracelet ...
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Old 22-01-2019, 13:32   #25
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

Capt Jerry,

We met with our attorneys legal assistant for wills. He’s supposed to be the specialist. He is the one who suggested this letter. “Lost as Sea” was my memonic, which almost didn’t work. We are in PA legally.
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Old 22-01-2019, 13:44   #26
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

My advice would be to look at a trust instead of just a will.
The trust takes everything out of probate and gives specific instructions in case of XXX. "Lost at sea" could be 7 years depending on the state laws and a trust bypasses all of that.
Everything we own was put into the trust and tells the executor what to do when and keeps the government out of as much as possible.
Ours cost a whopping $1500 and included the will.
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Old 22-01-2019, 13:53   #27
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

I have prepared an Excell file (protected by password).
In this file there is a detailed info describing all our earthly possessions.
Copy of this file is kept at our children hands. In case we are lost at sea the will know what and where to find.
A will is required only if you want to distribute your assets in a different way from the provisions of the law in your homeland.
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Old 22-01-2019, 14:33   #28
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

Good questions. We have thought about this over time as well [to the point of having a couple of commercial body bags onboard... We're trying to be prudent, not gruesome...]

Following is a brief overview of some of the steps we have taken [so far] to help mitigate any issues our disappearance may have on our survivors [or for ourselves if one of us loses the other...]:
  • Maintain a constantly evolving 'What do we do?' document for our survivors. This contains all information [contacts, locations, access to all accounts and how to access passwords, etc.]

    It is [securely] stored on our onboard computers, and syncs to 'the cloud' any time we have internet connectivity. We can update anytime we want- with our without internet access.

    We use Google Docs. There are other free options as well.

    It can be shared with those needing future access now or in the future as needed. [More below about our strategy for sharing this document.]

  • Maintain individual End of life planning using the free Cake service.

    This includes a Durable Power of Attorney.

  • Maintain passwords to everything in a password management system [Local on our computers and securely synced to the cloud...] Ours can be shared as needed.

    Access instructions are included in item 1, above.

    We use LastPass, but there are many others.

  • Maintain your Trust and/or Will, Durable Power of Attorney, etc. as necessary either using Google Docs to your attorney, or via one of the online services.

  • Maintain an email account that will notify those you specify if you don't access it within x days/weeks/months [whatever period you set...]

    We use Gmail's Inactive Account Manager to take care of automatic notification '...that we haven't accessed the account within the period we stipulated...'

    I presume other email service providers offer similar services.

  • In the above [to be shared] Gmail account we maintain a DRAFT email [with a Subject line that will get the survivor's attention— and they are all well aware in advance to look for that email...]

    That draft email contains the link to the all important Google doc [#1 above], as well as other imformation.

    We are looking into ways to have this draft email automatically sent should the Inactive Account Manager be triggered.

    Note: Since we can access our Gmail via our sat phone from anywhere, we can set a fairly short trigger period before notifications go out to our survivors... [e.g., 1-2 weeks...]

    Our Read Me First email draft includes mention of the possibility that our sat phone isn't working, so don't panic yet...

This is an undetailed summary of some of the protections and safeguards we have personally put into place in planning for our own demise, and notifying our survivors in case we 'disappear'.

It is very easy for us to manage and keep up-to-date from anywhere. It may sound complicated, but it is really quite simple and basic in practice.

In case any of this is useful.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 22-01-2019, 14:43   #29
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

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Originally Posted by CMO Tashina View Post
I've written many wills for folks over the years and I always have them give a copy of the Will to the executor or personal representative with instructions where to go and look for the original because that is what courts will want in the event of probating the estate. Being lost at sea is no different from being lost in the mountains or elsewhere. Hopefully you have some connections to your kids or other relatives and can let them know generally where you at most weeks of the year. If no one hears from you, sooner or later, a missing persons alarm will issue. If your boat or bodies are found, it will be time to move forward with estate matters. Also, you can arrange pay on death beneficiary forms to avoid probate of many items including bank accounts and houses. Good luck with your query, and by the way, very few states accept entirely hand written wills without notarizations.
And if bodies are not found, how does that work?
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Old 22-01-2019, 14:45   #30
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Re: Writing a Will: Lost at Sea

hpeer-
What you can do is going to be determined by your state of residency. Alas, yes, these things are still STATE regulated in the entirety.
So the first question is, what state are you residents of? Legal residents, hopefully with a drivers license, voter enrollment, mailing address all in the same place? (Or, daresay, real plain simple physical residence?(G)

In most states, there are procedures that must be followed to declare you dead, even if you are just missing under likely circumstances, for less than seven years. Otherwise, everything id held up to wait for the seven years. In some states, you can appoint anyone to be the executor of your will. In others, the executor MUST be a fellow state resident--which means it is going to require hiring an attorney, or someone you know and trust, or falling to the state probate court, and they're going to appoint an attorney who gets a nice slice of the pie.

Your "letter of intent" could be something you file with a trusted party who also has your "durable and general power of attorney", i.e. instructing them that if you have not been heard of after six months, they are to sell and distribute all of your assets. That's a directive to an "attorney-at-large", the person with the POA, which should be notarized and refreshed every few years. Copies of that (sometimes simple copies, most often physical notarized originals) usually have to be served on banks and brokerage houses (both of which prefer to ignore and violate state laws in favor of requiring their own additional forms--which you'd have to return notarized before you left) before they'll recognize the "attorney". Who does NOT have to be an attorney-at-law.
So by doing it that way, you avoid the whole "Are they dead?" and probate and all, except for those things like death benefits and insurance, who may still require a court order, which your attorney-at-large can file a petition for, to get that ball rolling.

Again...all going to depend on your state, but something that any "estate" lawyer in your state should have no problem helping you to get set up, for not a lot of time and money.
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