Wills and End of Life Documents

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When I used to meet with financial services clients and potential clients, the first thing I would ask is “Do you have a will or wills?”  Many couples assume they will have a joint will.  Not true, a will reflects the wishes of an individual.  Sometimes the answer was “yes”.  More often the answer was “no”.  Those saying “no” would add something like:

  • It is too expensive.
  • We have a software application for wills, just need to get find time to learn the system and get it done.
  • It’s on the list of things to do but first I need to get through Christmas, graduation, school, or wait until I have a vacation, or……
  • We can’t agree on who should be responsible for our children if we both are deceased and we don’t want to upset family members with our choice.
  • I don’t believe in wills.  No need for one, everything will work out.
  • I know I need one but I think if I get one then somehow it means I will die earlier.
  • Death is just too emotional to think about and preparing a will  just makes me nervous.
  • I think I need a trust and that costs a lot so I will wait until I save up some money and then get the trust, will and all the other documents at the same time

Clearly expense is the most often mentioned reason for the lack of a will.  However, there are now very affordable and reliable methods of having a professionally prepared will created and finalized.  With a little research you can learn more.

I have no brilliant  and happy way of encouraging people to get wills.  As I said in earlier posts, wills and life insurance (if needed) are two things we do for those we leave behind.  So rather than thinking about how having your will and other end of life documents prepared and executed impact you, think about the other folks in your life.  How will your actions reflect on you after you are gone?

In my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, I state that it is estimated that 55% of the people in the U.S. do not have wills.  Or, on a positive note, 45% do have them.  In which category do you find yourself?

I found this article from Huffington Post to be a great example of how things can go a little crazy if the proper documents aren’t in place when a family member dies.  Please take the time to read it.

I hope you will share this posting with those in your life.  Some people appear to be very literate about personal financial management, are highly successful professionally, or seem to have it all together.  That doesn’t mean they have all their legal documents in place.  You could end up sorting out things you thought would be in order.  Happens a lot and it is not a good big surprise. So be brave and check in with those around you and see if they are a 55% or 45% person.

Soon we will be moving beyond end of life documents such as wills, and on to more exciting topics like finance (aka investing).

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com