No one plans on dying —Do I Really Need a Will?
by Kimberly Young
You DEFINITELY Need a Will!
No one plans on dying, I know. We all want to believe that we will live long enough to see our grandchildren have children. Unfortunately, it does not always work out this way.
Why You Need a Will: Case Study
Recently we had a client who has a child in college and one in middle school. She had been divorced for a number of years. After her divorce, she was smart and at some point did a Will and all the other estate planning documents. Sadly her ex-husband did not. He died unexpectedly and left no information and no Will.
Now, here she is not only faced with having to raise her children alone (just because they are of age, doesn’t mean you quit “raising” them!) and now her small family is faced with probate issues that are not only expensive…they are overwhelming. Thankfully she has been able to step up and handle the probate issues for her children. Otherwise, the Court could appoint an attorney to handle this and that could deplete the whole estate of any assets it possibly had.
Why You Need a Will: Help Your Loved Ones
She did not have access or knowledge of any of his property, bank accounts, creditors, or investments. She did not have any of his passwords or access to his online accounting. He did a lot of his personal stuff on his work computer—this really really messed things up because they had to give it back to his Employer without being able to access his personal work saved on the computer.
The family had to plan a funeral, and start to digest what they were about to face—an Intestate probate. Intestate means that the person (decedent) died without leaving a Will and the state has statutes, laws that govern how his estate would be handled.
The ex-husband was not the least bit organized. They had to gather all the paper, documentation and try to put together their understanding of his assets and his debts. Some things just will remain a mystery because he didn’t plan on dying and did not have his necessary documents in order nor did he share his information with anyone.
Estate Planning is Critically Important
No one plans on dying. Here are some thing you can do to assist your family in the event you die unexpectedly:
Have a book of passwords and sign-ons. This will help those try to gain access to necessary information if you die unexpectedly. Keep it in a safe place. Let someone you trust know where this information is. You could also keep important documents in a safety deposit box and list the person that can open it in the event of your death
Be organized. Set up a filing system and keep it up to date. This is tough. We all say, I will get to it…but you have to try to do this. It will save your loved ones hours and hours of time.
The best thing you can do for your family and loved ones is a clear well written Will (Last Will and Testament)–For no other reason than to save your family time and most importantly, money. This will be the easiest way for your loved ones to manage your estate.
Even If you are single, divorced, or widowed, you still have assets—bank accounts, a car, maybe even a house. All of these things are reasons to do a Will and tell your loved ones how you want your property divided once you die. You may not think you have the estate worth this sort of preparation, but the family you leave behind is worth it!
A Will is the most important document you will ever sign. Don’t put it off any longer.