Wills and advanced directives?

Barb D

DIS Veteran
Aug 19, 1999
I'm having surgery soon, and I'm thinking about wills and advanced directives. I can't get DH to move on getting wills done; I have one I wrote myself a couple of years ago (based on an internet form) and had notarized. It has never been registered anywhere. It's just in a file here at home. Will this be good enough, or should I push for getting a lawyer and doing it "right?"

And what about an advanced directive? I go for my pre-op tomorrow. Will my doctor have a sample form for me, or should I try and find one on the internet? (I typed "advanced directive" into google and came up with millions of hits. I don't even know where to start.)

sweet angel

DIS Veteran
Aug 9, 2004
In NJ, a handwritten Will, if notarized, is sufficient. Also, a Will does not have to be "registered". Not sure about laws in other states.

As far as the Advanced Directive (a/k/a Living Will), your hospital should have a format where you just initial the options you want.

You don't have to go with your husband to have a Will drawn. Couldn't hurt to check with an attorney though.


DIS Veteran
Oct 31, 2002
I think that the will you have would hold up fine in most circumstances. Unless you think someone in your family will contest it, I'd have to think that they'd respect your last wishes even though it's not registered. Now if you and your DH went at the same time, that might be a different story, especially if you have children.

I recently was hospitalized and had surgery. One of the first things they did after admitting me was go over the living will stuff. I was glad because of all the recent cases in the news that they take that stuff seriously.


<font color=red>Mouseketeer<br><font color=green>w
Nov 28, 2004
why on earth do people ask complicated legal questions ona disney message board.

I've practiced law in NY for over 20 years and I cannot answer your question!!!!!

each state has its own set of laws regrding the validity of a will. some states require a will to be witnessed (NOT notarized), some will accept a handwritten will, etc.

in NY, a will must be witnessed by at least two individuals not related to the testator. the two witnesses are not there to verify the idenity of the testator, they are there to insure that the testator is legally able to make a will. most attorneys in NY will have the witnesses complete affidavits in which they affirm that the testator knew he was signing his last will and testament, and that he was "of sound mind". this is done so that years later, when the will is priobated in surrogate's court, the executor doesn't have to track downt he witnesses. NY has no requirement that a will be filed with the court until the testator's death, when the will is submitted for probate.

I can't answer that question for any other state, but a lawyer licensed in that state can answer that question.

you don't need your husband to see a lawyer for your own will to be valid, but most lawyer slike to do reciprocal wills for husband and wife.

advanced directives --- in most states, the hospital will have the appropriate form and will know how the form is to be handled (witnessed, notarized, etc.).


I am opinionated, independent-minded, self-righteo
Mar 18, 2005
While it's a little late to consult an attorney now, I would strongly recommend talking to one after your surgery/recovery. My wife and I had wills that we developed online, but last year met with an attorney. I didn't realize the number of things we had not considered and that our online "simple" will did not cover, like trusts, guardianships for minor children, property distribution, handling some relatives who I just know will try to contest the will, etc.

Like others have said, the hospital will have forms for advance directives. That should suffice for now.

But do talk to an attorney, even if you go alone, after you recovered. We paid around $900, but we got wills, living wills, powers of attorney for property and healthcare -- the whole 9 yards. And we know everything is covered now and everything meets our state's requirements.

Barb D

DIS Veteran
Aug 19, 1999
I told DH that he's the one who will have to deal with it if my current will isn't good enough, because I'll be dead and won't care. He says he's sure it will be fine.

We're in MD, BTW.

Just trying to get a general sense, Rubyslipperlover. I realize nobody can give real legal advice on a message board like this.

I talked to my doctor at my pre-op yesterday, and she said that the hospital will provide me with advanced directive forms.


DIS Cast Member<br><font color=green>When did vacu
Nov 27, 2004
We procrastinated when it came to getting our will done, but the things we learned doing it was well worth the money spent. The way we had things would have meant I would have had to pay a heavy tax if DH died. I now own DH's life insurance policies and we set up some kind of a trust or something so we won't have to pay taxes on that stuff (I should know more about this). We also set up guardianships for our kids and how to distribute the funds, gave them 25% at age 24 and 75% at age 35 (didn't want a bunch of 18 year olds walking around with several million dollars). We also established some college funds if necessary through that. We were also able to specifically state that certain family members were not to be given anything from our estate. We also set up some scholarship funds and donations in the event we all died at the same time.


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