Where there’s a Will….Why you need to have one!

Seriously folks, despite our busy lives where we have long ‘to do’ and ‘must do’ lists, many of us still do not have a will!  Estate planning could definitely be on your list for this year. One never knows how much time we have, and leaving it to chance leaves you little control of what happens when you die, and puts an extra burden on family members. Make it easy on everyone, please.  I speak from situations I know about where it took lots of money and attorneys to iron things out, not to mention years and bad feelings.

Unfortunately, about 1/3 of American adults said they would rather have a root canal or do their taxes than think about their estate. Granted it is not a cheery topic, so many avoid it. Some of it is just procrastination.  Also, parents with children, only account for about 30% of those who have a will. Do you want the State to determine what happens to your children or your assets?  Or have your children turned over to someone you would prefer not to raise them?   I think not.

And, wills are not the only documents you need to protect yourself, but are offered as part of the package when you visit an attorney.  Only about 29% have a Living Will which assigns someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.   Again, don’t you want to designate someone who knows your wishes?  You also need a Power of Attorney to handle your financial decisions if you are incapable. Don’t wait until its too late and no one can access your bank account or knows your wishes.  Designate someone you trust and someone who knows your wishes.

Trusts are more expensive but help you avoid probate which can increase the time it takes to settle your estate. It is a way to put your assets into a bundle with your decisions considered as to how it is distributed and when. You can also exclude people who you don’t want to get a piece of what is left.  An attorney can explain it better than I can, so I urge you to put that on your list if you haven’t already and get that weight off your chest. It is also good to update wills/trusts from time to time as laws and family circumstances change.  You don’t want to leave your ‘ex’ your possessions in the event you remarry and forgot to change it!

Some reasons to have a will/trust:

1. Without one, the State, not you, will determine when and to whom your property is distributed.  You need a plan as to where and how people in your life are covered if you are not around…disabled children or spouse, blended families, no partner, etc.

2. You can reduce or eliminate estate taxes in your estate by planning ahead.

3. You can choose your designated representatives to manage your estate.

4. You can designate beneficiaries for your items such as heirlooms, jewelry, real estate, and more.

5. You can create trusts to provide for those left behind.

6. You an leave a legacy to a special organization you care much about such as a church or non-profit.

7. You can designate a guardian for anyone under your care.

8. It is a time to plan for incapacity, long-term care, and other issues that hopefully will never happen but at least your wishes will be carried out.


Where there is a will, there is YOUR way!     (If you need recommendations for an estate attorney, I have a couple).

Also, there is an organization you can sign up with for free, who will make it easy on you and your family when you pass away. This is a good solution if you plan to be cremated or donate your body to science.   With a phone call, this organization will pick up your body, take it away and donate parts that can be used for scientific research, and then cremate you, and send your cremains back to your family for the memorial.  All of this is free to you and your family. It only takes signing up.   So if this is right for you, it is Science Care (www.sciencecare.com, or 800-417-3747).  I leaned about them at the Aging Expo and have already arranged it for myself.  Also, a tree will be planted  in a national forest in honor of every donor on the one year anniversary of the donation, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and Science Care.


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