August 5, 2013 by Will Ray
Do you like to make decisions for yourself?
Me too. I like to decide what I’m going to eat, what I’m going to buy, what I’m going to do with my life, and what I’m going to do with my money.
That’s one of the great things about our country – freedom to choose. But if you die without a will, you’re giving up that right, and in effect allowing someone else to make some really important decisions for you.
That’s right. Someone else will decide what happens to your possessions, your body, your house, your kids, and your money. And unfortunately, most studies have shown that at least 50% of people die without a will in place. A will falls into the “important but not urgent” category for most people, plus it can be very confusing, so oftentimes people just don’t get around to it.
That someone else who makes your decisions will be the state, through a probate court. There are legal guidelines that states generally adhere to, but it varies from state to state, and who knows what might happen once you’re dead and gone? Also, who knows what kind of distant relative might show up and make a claim on your estate once you die?
A Last Will and Testament can help sort all this out.
A few things that your will dictates for those you leave behind:
– How you want your money to be handled and disbursed
– What happens to your property – your house, your car, and your old souvenir baseball bats
– Who you want to handle everything when you die (an executor)
– How and where you want to be buried
– Who you want to care for your minor children if you die
Dying with a will in place is part of caring well for your family. In the time following your death, your family will experience severe emotional trauma. Having a will can take away lots of the questions and choices that they would have to decide, and make it easier to cope with the loss.
They won’t have to discuss (and likely fight) about who is going to take control of Grandpa George’s checking account, because it’s already been determined. Who gets the house? Who gets the car? Who gets the money? Who gets the family property? And how much does each person get? There aren’t as many issues to fight over when there’s a specific plan in place.
One day, we’re all going to die. You, yes you, will die too. Let’s do the right thing by our loved ones and have a plan that will make it easier on them when we die.
This week I’ll share the a few ways to get a will and how to put it in force.
Question: Do you have a will in place? If not, why not?