Death is a taboo topic. No one likes to think about the idea of dying, especially if they are young and completely healthy. We think about older or sick people making wills in preparation for death, so we assume that making an estate plan doesn’t apply to us. But as many of us have learned the hard way, we should always be prepared for anything life could throw at us, death included.
Recently, my brother-in-law’s family lost a loved one way before his time. Ben was 29 and had two small daughters. I don’t know whether he had a will or not, but it made me think about preparing an estate plan. Tragedy can strike at any time and it’s my job as a lawyer to help my clients and friends plan for the worst case scenario, even as we hope for the best.
If you have property or money that you want to direct to another person after your death, you should make a will. If you die without a will, the state you live in will decide who gets your property or money based on the law, rather than your wishes. For example, if you were unmarried with no children and died suddenly without a will, your parents would get your property—even if you were estranged from them.
Any time you have a life-changing event, you should review your will, and if necessary, make changes that reflect your present situation. If you get divorced, remarry, have children, or even buy a vacation home, you should have your will updated. Wills shouldn’t be kept secret—it will be much easier for your wishes to be carried out if the instructions are accessible and clear. Make sure your family knows where to find the latest copy of your will and keep it in a fireproof lock box.
As a young person, I don’t particularly like to think about death. On the other hand, if something bad happened, I would certainly want to minimize the expense and headache for my family. Taking the time to think about what you would want and planning for it might even make your mind easier. Please give us a call today to set up your estate plan!