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Year of Becoming an Adult: January

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This year one of our resolutions (for hubs & me) was to do a lot of not-so-fun things that we’ve been putting off for far too long in the name of finally growing up and becoming adults.

We’ve planned things out so we have at least one or two big items to knock off our list every month. Hopefully by the time December 2015 roles around we’ll feel much more settled into our “adulthood” and many of these important items will be distant memories, having been taken care of months prior.

For the month of January we have a couple big things on our “Becoming an Adult” list:

  • Make wills for myself and hubs
  • Fill out power of attorney forms for myself and hubs
  • Add each other to our savings/checking accounts

I wanted to give a little mid-month update on how these things are going.

We used Legal Zoom to make wills and fill out power of attorney forms. It was so, so easy and painless! I really thought there would be a lot more emotion wrapped up in it (it just seems so morbid to be making decisions about who will raise your kids if you and spouse die, etc.), but it really wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. And it was quick! Only about 10 or 15 minutes total! This is not an advertisement (I’m not being paid by them, nor did I receive any discounts or anything), but I really would recommend the website for simple wills (if your estate is super complicated you may need an actual attorney).

Buuuuut (there’s always a but), when the documents arrived at our house I realized things would be a bit more complicated. Apparently in the state of Arizona wills have to be notarized PLUS have a witness signature, and the witness cannot be the notary, nor can they be anyone related by blood or marriage (so hubs and I cannot be each others’ witnesses). So we’ve reached a bit of a hangup. It’s not a big deal to get a friend to go with us to have the documents notarized and serve as a witness, but it takes more arranging of schedules and whatnot. It WILL happen this month, but its not done yet.

The checking/savings accounts are not complete yet either. I called and talked to my bank(s) to see if this could be done online and no, it cannot. I have to go to the banks in person with husband to have him added to my accounts (and have me added to his). Not huge, but just another annoying hurdle to getting everything in place.

But at least we’re in the process of working on this month’s goals. I’m sure glad we broke things down into bite-size chunks because it seems like everything is just a little bit more annoying/time-consuming/difficult than expected. It’s nice that we’re not trying to do everything all at once. If you want to see some of our other goals for this year (the year of becoming an adult), see the post I wrote about here. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as the year moves along.

Do you have any big financially-relevant goals this year? What are you working on?


17 Comments

  • Reply Jackie |

    I don’t know if they are really goals but in February we are paying off a small loan early. Unfortunately we are getting another small loan in it’s place. We are using that money to get a 2nd car because I’ll be going back to work shortly and there is no way to do that with one vehicle. It’ll be kind of weird to have 2 cars again since we’ve only had one vehicle for a year now. That new small loan will be paid off early though.

    Once I’m back to work this year I plan on paying off some smaller debt we have. Those 2 bills about $3K total will free things up some–more in the way of stress than money. We will also be saving about $125 a month til next May so we have money for a vacation in which we’ll travel down to see my son graduate from high school.

    Luckily some of this should be easier because we are use to living on so much less with me on unemployment right now. When I get back to work it’ll feel like hitting the lottery lol. Although we’ll have a few more expenses due to a 2nd car, gas, registering etc. Overall we should be doing pretty good.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Congrats about getting back to work! If you can keep living like you have been (putting the extra money toward debt), you should be doing great!!
      We had one car for years, too (only got a second one around the time I was pregnant). Cars cost so much money and I hated having to bring all those bills back into our life (like insurance, registration, repairs, etc etc etc), but it was a necessary expense. Hopefully income from your new job will far outweigh the costs associated with the second car.

      • Reply Jackie |

        It should definitely be worth it. While I won’t be making megabucks I’ll be bringing in $11-15 an hour working full time. I’ll be looking for work around end of March beginning of April. There are quite a few jobs out there in my field. That kind of pay is very good for Maine.

  • Reply Den |

    Maybe you two could take a half day off and get all your “stuff” done at once – and a mini “date day”? We had our wills notarized at our credit union, so maybe you could accomplish both with one stop?

  • Reply Deeanna |

    I was just going to suggest that your bank should have notaries and working with them you might be able to get someone to serve as witnesses as well. I’d definitely check into get the bank stuff and notarized stuff done at once. Good suggestion Den!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Good point! I was thinking we could do the bank account and notary stuff at the same time, but I didn’t think about asking them if someone else (like another employee) could simply serve as the witness. I think banks are closed today (MLK Day), but I’ll give them a call tomorrow and see if that’s a possibility. Would certainly make things easier!

      • Reply Brooke |

        This is what we have done in the past – get stuff notarized by an employee in the credit union while another serves as witness.

    • Reply Mysti |

      This was going to be my suggestion as well. I have used the bank as a notary before, and it was fine.

  • Reply Maureen |

    *Disclaimer-this comment is not meant to constitute legal advice. 🙂 As an estate planning attorney I am not a huge fan of Legal Zoom. I am not saying it’s bad, but in my review of some of the documents I have found they are not state specific enough and many things a licensed attorney in your state might include are not included in their forms. Also, as you have discovered, each state has specific execution requirements. If these are not met to a T your will is invalid. I think Legal Zoom might fit your basic needs for now, but I would consider talking with an estate planning attorney in the next few years to make sure you have covered all the need what ifs, etc.

  • Reply Susan Melvin |

    I will second what Maureen said. I am sure that Legal Zoom is better than nothing and I would certainly get what you have done executed, witnessed and notarized.

    However, as an addendum to “Becoming an Adult”, I think later this year you should take these documents to an attorney and have him/her draft proper Wills and Powers of Attorney specific to Arizona. Your husband has his own business. What happens with that? You have two young children. There is more to do than just naming Guardians. And while you are at it, don’t forget Health Care Proxies and Living Wills. I am not sure if the health care privacy laws are enforced as vigorously in Arizona as they are where I live, but there have been situations here when a spouse has been unable to make decisions for the other because of the lack of these documents. It has even happened that the health care provider has refused to divulge information and the sick spouse was unable to give verbal permission.

    Maybe a good time to do this would be after your interviews, once you know if you will be staying in Arizona or not.

    You are making a good start on all of the things on your Adult Checklist. Good job!

  • Reply Sarah |

    if your bank can’t notarize, UPS Stores usually have notaries. $10 for each signature.

  • Reply Den |

    When we had our wills notarized at the Credit Union (for free) they bought two bank employees into the conference room to be our witnesses. I did call in advance to be sure the notary was available, but they were very happy to help and it was done in 10 minutes.

  • Reply Emily N. |

    Public libraries often have a notary public whom you can use with no fee.

    Also, that’s weird that your bank says you have to come in to add your husband. I was able to fill out a form and mail it in along with a copy of his drivers license.

  • Reply hannah |

    I’m glad you are getting added to each other’s accounts. No matter how a couple decides to do their finances, joint accounts make sense especially legally. If something were to happen to one of you, the money would already legally be the other person’s.
    If your spouse only had a sole account you would have to go through a bunch of legality to gain access. If for some reason you ever want a sole account, be sure to add a payable on death. This person doesn’t even have to know the account exists, but if you died the bank would forward the money on to them without red tape.
    Also, it’s pretty standard to require people to come in to be added to the account. The reason for this is a bank has to keep a signature card on file with both people’s signatures, and they legally have to verify the identity of each person.

So, what do you think ?