We all agree that it is smart to write wills explaining how we want our life assets to be divided.
But – only about half of us get around to making our intentions clear. A major reason for this failure is human nature: the topic of our own death makes us uncomfortable.
With some people, it’s a superstition, a sense that acknowledging death will make it happen sooner.
Imagine the special assets you possess that could go to the wrong party: your books about gardening, the photographs of your parents, your CD signed by Whitney Houston, the photos of you taken on that great trip to Europe, your mother’s wedding ring.
Without a will, your assets are distributed by a formula created by the state you live in. With a will, your possessions go to the person you designate, the person to whom the inheritance will have the most meaning.
The problems are even greater with complex assets like real estate and the family business, or complex situations, such as distributing assets to minor children.
If you die without a will, your estate goes into probate – a time-consuming process in which the court makes your decisions for you.
Besides fear of acknowledging mortality, people have other reasons for avoiding writing a will:
- Procrastination (“I’ve been meaning to do that.”)
- Denial (“What’s the hurry? I’m only 53!”)
- Ignorance (“The courts will make the same basic decisions I would make.”)
- Even more ignorance (“Why does a middle-class person like me need a will?”)
- A false sense of thrift (“Why spend money on a lawyer?”)
Chances are, you have used one of these reasons to avoid doing the sensible thing. We at Weinstein & Randisi understand. For us, there is one compelling reason that overrides all these others:
People write wills out of love.
Not writing a will leaves your family and other loved ones in confusion and uncertainty. It interferes with mourning.
And the power to control your worldly goods on the other side of life, to put your treasures in the hands of the people who meant most to you – there is enormous satisfaction there.