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Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about Creating Yourself - George Bernard Shaw

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You, your family, and your will

You, your family, and your will

There is nothing more important to you and your family than to have a will!

Having no will puts a tremendous strain on your family and the consequences are far reaching. I have heard every excuse under the sun for not having one:

  1. I believe in manifesting my destiny and the bad mojo that will happen by preparing for my death will bring it on.
  2. I don’t have anything to leave behind so it doesn’t matter.
  3. I costs too much, all the lawyers and documents and who has the time anyway.
  4. It’s not going to happen for a long time so why worry about it.
  5. And the list goes on….

I am sorry but not one of those reason are legitimate. In fact the statistics show that 2 out of 5 North Americans over 45 don’t have a will.

Two stories from many I can tell you.

My wife lost her husband and the her father-in-law in a tragic helicopter crash. He had no will. Here she was with a one and a half year old child and the bank accounts were frozen, the mortgage payments still needed to come out, all the bills needed being paid, none of the vehicles were in her name, and things looked very bleak. It was a mess and the stress on her was enormous. It took several years to sort out, money was tight, she lost some assets, her car, and a few other things.

By having a will the pain and suffering of her loss would not have lessened, but her stress and anxiety would have been much less.

In the last little while I lost a good friend of mine. He did have a will but it was very outdated, 13 years in fact. During that time he has an ugly divorce and his life changed dramatically. His wife had an affair with his accountant and later left him for the accountant. He had listed two friends as his executors and the first one declined leaving the second one who was a good friend to the accountant. Subsequently, the accountant took over the executorship in essence as the friend demurred to him.

My friends new wife was not even allowed to see him after he deceased till the very last second when I intervened. The whole ordeal ripped people’s hearts out and cause a lot of pain and suffering because of greed. It still isn’t settled. By reviewing his will occasionally my friend would have saved a lot of anguish.

A current will is essential. To learn more about Estate and Legacy planning you can read here

What is a will?

A will is a legal document that clearly states who your beneficiaries are and what you are leaving to them and when they will receive your assets. It also states who you appoint as the executor of your estate. It is the executors job to make sure that your estate is sold, debts paid out, and that your beneficiaries and organizations you wanted to gift assets to get what is their due. Basically, it is legal proof of what your wishes are when you pass. Your estate comprises of everything that you own and anything you owe. Once your debts are paid off, your assets will be distributed as you wish.

How does a will work?

Once you pass and the causes of death are verified to be natural your estate goes to probate. Your designated executor, together with the accountants and lawyers make sure that your will is valid. From there all your assets and liabilities are determined and the assets turned to cash and your debts are paid out. The proper forms and tax papers are filled out and dealt with. From there the remaining assets are distributed to those who you wanted to have them.

The lawyers, accountants, and executor (if they choose to accept any payment) are paid out of the assets.

If you don’t have a will, your belongings, assets, memorabilia, and money will be distributed to your family by the courts. Not all families agree on the process, the split, or the fairness. In fact, I have seen some really ugly fights that tore families apart. Don’t let that happen.

This process does not have to expensive or time consuming – a little planning goes a long way. Here is a great place to create your new will, fast, legal, and reasonably priced.