It is critically important for everyone to have a will. If you don’t have one, your wishes may not be carried out. Why?
First of all, every state has laws covering what is called “dying intestate” (without a will). These rules strictly dictate who will receive what from your estate.
Let’s look at one example. You have two children. The first child worked his way through college and didn’t take any money from you. You paid all of the fees associated with the second child getting a degree and consider that money an advance on that child’s future inheritance. So you would like the first child to receive 75% of your assets and the second to get only 25%. However, when you die, you do not have a will which specifies this. According to the laws in many states, both of your children will share equally in your estate.
You may feel sentimental about some of your possessions. Maybe you have a few special pieces of jewelry and know to which member of your family you wish to give each one. Without a will, your wishes don’t count.
A will is also a good place to specify what you want your family to do with your body after you die. Perhaps you wish to be buried; however, they may not know and this and may cremate your body instead.
This week, I read two interesting blogs which reminded me of how important a subject this is. Both, interestingly enough, come from outside of the United States.
The first comes from Ghana and begins by talking about the late Colonel Momar Khadafi You may not care what Khadafi’s wishes were or that they were not carried out despite the fact that he had a will. However, later the blog talks about the writer’s father and how he set the precedent for everyone in his village to have a will.
The second was written by a woman in British Columbia and is a sad story about a man who told his former doctor, and later friend, about his wishes. However, he didn’t write them in a formal will. When he died, the doctor contacted the coroner to try to ensure that the wishes were carried out. Instead, the man’s body was turned over to the Public Guardian and Trustee (a government group) and his wishes were disregarded.
Consider getting your will written today. Not only will it make it easier for your wishes to be carried out but will remove an extra burden from your family members when you die.
For more information about this subject and other related topics check out our book “Die Smart, 11 Mistakes That Cost Your Family Money When You Die”.