Tag Archives: will

Common mistakes when writing a will

Business ClipartEveryone is going to die; that’s a fact.  And everyone should have a will.  That’s another fact.  If you die without a will, the probate court will decide what happens to  your assets; you won’t.

My father died about 15 years ago.  He left a will he had prepared himself, typed on his old electric typewriter and had a few friends sign as witnesses.  I don’t know how he decided what to put in the will and the wording to use.  All I know is that after he died, when I tried to probate the will, there were some problems with it and it took a while to get them resolved.

If you don’t want to go to an attorney to have a will prepared that you know will be written properly, you should at least be aware of some common mistakes that you should avoid.

I recently came across a blog on findlaw.com that clearly describes 10 of the most common mistakes.  You should definitely read it so you don’t make the same mistakes my dad did.

For further information about wills, trusts, probate and end of life planning go to www.diesmart.com.

Can Lucky inherit $100 million?

This-cat-stands-to-inherit-100-million-dollarsLucky is a Siamese cat and, yes, the cat can inherit!

Lucille Benton, 70, has decided that she will leave her children their family heirloom and photographs but Lucky will get all of her money.  Lucille says that her kids “never visit and rarely call.  They have good paying jobs.  They can take care of themselves.  There is nobody to care for my Lucky.”

Her kids have tried to have her declared insane and committed to an institution; however, she’s had three independent psychiatric evaluations which have concluded that she is sane.  She says her attorneys have assured her that her Will will hold up in probate court if her kids try to challenge it once she’s gone.

Meanwhile, Lucky will continue to live in Lucille’s home with a staff of 40, a limo and chauffeur and a private aviary so Lucky can have fun catching and eating birds!

This may sound ridiculous but it does point out the importance of figuring out what you want to have happen to your assets when you’re gone, and documenting those wishes so that they will be carried out…even if they are unusual.

To find out more about wills and planning for the end of your life, go to www.diesmart.com.

Who makes decisions if your divorce is not finalized?


I came across a blog the other day that made a very important point.  If you are in the process of divorcing and have a medical emergency, who will make decisions on your behalf?

When Lamar Odom was recently found unconscious in a Nevada brothel and was rushed to the hospital, who did the officials call?  They called Khloe Kardashian.  Although they are in the process of finalizing their divorce, in the eyes of the law, they are still married and unless an advance directive for healthcare states otherwise, is the person who can make medical decisions on his behalf.

Unless you just don’t care, when you are getting a divorce, it’s critical that you update your advance directive to name someone other than your soon to be spouse to decide what the doctors should and shouldn’t do if you have an accident or a sudden health emergency.

To find out more about advance care directives and planning for the end of your life, go to www.diesmart.com.

Haunting story of a lonely man’s death

george BellI read this story in the New York Times a few days ago and it still haunts me.

The Lonely Death of George Bell tells about a man who died alone.  No one realized he was gone and there was no one to plan his funeral or settle his estate.  This story goes thru the saga of what happened to him, what he left behind and who had to deal with all of it.  It’s more like a novella than an article but it’s well worth taking the time to read it.  I did and can’t forget it!

For more information about issues related to dying and settling an estate, go to www.diesmart.com.

Are your loved ones protected when you die?

last-will  Larry and Susan had been living together for more than 20 years.  They never legally married; they said once had been enough.  A piece of paper wouldn’t change how they felt about each other.  Larry had been married before and had two sons.  Susan had also been married previously and she had a daughter.

When Larry’s father became incapacitated, they moved into his house to take care of him.  His father, to thank them for all they’d done, left the house to Larry in his will and named Larry beneficiary of his life insurance policy.  When his father died, Larry inherited the house and Susan and Larry continued to live in the house.  Larry promised to deposit the check from the insurance company into their joint bank account as soon as it arrived.

As Larry was crossing the street on his way home from work one day, he was struck by a car driven by a drunk driver and he died almost instantly.

Larry didn’t have a will and had not left any legal document naming Susan as his heir.  They lived in a state that did not recognize common law marriage so, when he died, his sons inherited everything.  They forced Susan to move out of the house and refused to give her any of the proceeds from the life insurance policy.  In essence, Susan was left with almost nothing!

Families today are very complex.  Some are the traditional married mother and father in their first marriage.  Many more are couples who were previously married to other spouses or who are legally married gay couples.  However, many people live together without benefit of a legal ceremony. This mixture of circumstances makes inheritance much more difficult and complex.

The only way to be sure your loved ones are protected is to prepare a will or a trust naming the person(s) you want to inherit your assets when you die.  Otherwise, state law will dictate who receives what.  Not you. It’s frightening that more than half of the people living in the United States today do not have a will and have not protected their loved ones. You can find a simple will form on the internet or can meet with an estate planning attorney to discuss the options that are best for you.

Don’t be like Larry.  Act now so those you love will be protected when you’re gone. For more information about wills and estate planning, go to www.diesmart.com.