“We are all going to die. We just don’t know when. So it’s not what you have done, it’s what you didn’t do that your heirs will regret.”
Frequently, we’re not aware of the consequences of our lack of action. In many instances, it’s the survivors of a death that need help trying to fix the problems their parents or spouse left them to resolve.
CBS Boston’s recent article, “More Money Mistakes: Thinking You Are Going To Live Forever,” reminds us that 50% of Americans with children don’t have a will and almost 75% of adults under the age of 34 don’t have one. According to a recent survey, 32% of Americans would rather do their taxes, get a root canal or give up sex for a month than create or update their will. In addition, more than 40% of Baby Boomers don’t have a will. Three reasons cited by respondents for not having a will are procrastination, believing they don’t need one and cost.
If you have assets you’ve accumulated, like your home, savings or retirement accounts and you have kids, you have people and things you need to protect.
Estate planning lets you plan for the day when you are not around to care for your family or to plan on how your assets are to be distributed upon your death. Don’t put it off, even though no one wants to talk about their own mortality.
If you don’t have a will, the court will apply the intestacy laws where you are living at the time of your death to instruct who gets your estate and how it will be divided. Many times, it’s not the way the deceased would have planned it themselves.
If you’re single and have a significant other, and want to have him or her receive your assets, you have to plan. In many states, if you’re single and die without a will, your assets will go to your children, parents, siblings, or cousins—not your partner.
Finally, there are two documents you need while you are living: a Durable Power of Attorney appointing an individual to act on your behalf legally and financially if you’re incapacitated, and a Health Care Proxy, which names a person to make medical decisions for you, if you’re not capable.
Reference: CBS Boston (September 26, 2017) “More Money Mistakes: Thinking You Are Going To Live Forever”