Sunday, September 12, 2010

You (Yes You!) Need A Will, Too.

Recently, my boyfriend became an uncle. His brother and sister-in-law became the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy. That combined with the large number of my friends who have recently gotten married, purchased houses, and begun having children made me start thinking about estate planning. Really, I kid you not, it did.

Many people think that they do not need a will. However, I believe that many of these people have not really thought through the consequences of dying intestate. Ask yourself, do you know how the laws of intestacy will dispose of your property? Have you thought about what dying without a will means for your loved ones in administering your estate? Have you thought about what would happen to your children if you die without a plan for them?

Estate planning is more than just a will telling everyone who gets your "stuff" when you die. It is a plan for who makes decisions about that "stuff." It is a plan for who takes care of your children and makes decisions regarding their welfare when you die. Estate planning can include plans for how you would like your remains handled after you pass away through the inclusion of burial & funeral plans. Estate planning can also include reassurance to your loved ones about your faith in a higher being.

For many though, estate planning also includes decisions about end of life issues through documents such as living wills and powers of attorney. These types of documents allow you to make decisions about medical treatments in the event that you are in a terminal condition and are unable to participate in making those decisions. They also allow you to decide now who is able to make financial and business decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so.

When you are ready to begin estate planning, you should consult with an attorney. Estate planning attorneys are able to assist you in meeting your goals for end of life care as well as how you would like matters handled after you die. I urge you not to rely on a computer generated will, living will, or power of attorney or to simply "do it yourself." See this and this for problems that can occur from DIY and computer-generated wills. Only through consultation with a competent attorney will you end up with documents which meet your goals and which are in accordance with state law.

So, what are you waiting for? Call your attorney and get your estate plans in order!

1 comment:

  1. A couple more reasons why it is so important to have a will: