Wills. We don't like to talk about them. We don't like to think about them. It's generally associated with an unpleasant topic of conversation. There is something about the finality of death that bothers us. All the things that we wanted to say. All the places we wanted to go. What is going to happen to my family? With a properly executed last will and testament, one can actually address those fears.
A will is not just a document that says who gets all of your money. It is your last chance to have a voice. Your last say. It is how you officially announce to the world what your final wishes are. It is your opportunity to affect the tax implications your estate has on your heirs. It is where you express how you want your children raised. It is where you decide who takes care of Fluffy in your absence. A will can be a powerful tool when used correctly.
Take these examples:
Barry O., having recently retired, decides to update his last will and testament. A lot has happened in the last eight years, including the adoption of his son, Joey B. Should Barry's wife Michelle predecease him, when Barry dies intestate(without a will), Joey would get a share of the inheritance equal to Barry's two natural born daughters. Now, Barry knows that his young daughters have a bright future, but Joey B. is bound to blow his inheritance on Pokemon cards and bubble gum. With a properly executed will, Barry can disinherit Joey, ensuring financial protection for his daughters. Joey B will be just fine. He always comes out a winner.
Jane lives alone with her son Jack, and their dog Spot. Jane is sick, and anticipates that she probably has a couple more good years left. Her mother offers excellent support, and has a beautiful relationship with her grandson. Jane is sure that her mom is the one that will provide for her son once she passes. There is, however, a problem regarding spot. Jane's mother is Cruella Deville incarnate. Not a dog lover by any measure. Using a will, Jane can direct that her mother be Jack's guardian, while her beloved Spot is sent to live out his days on her sister's farm, rather than as a fur coat.
The point is, a will is a way to let your choices be known. Whether it is how your finances are distributed, who takes care of the children, or what happens to the lake house in New Hampshire. With a properly executed will as part of their estate plan, one can minimize tax implications, choose who administers their estate, and make the probate process go much quicker to and much smoother.
Without a will, some other estate planning tool, or any combination thereof, your assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of your state; and the courts will decide what constitutes the best interest of your children.
Don't miss your opportunity to speak up. If you are ready to have this conversation, contact the Law Office of Patrick Conway for your free one hour consultation.