Yesterday, Dolores, an elderly client, said, “I was getting nervous. I’ve been to 4 funerals in 4 months. I’ve met people at the funerals who told me they still have not made their will. That’s why I am here today to get my will updated.”
“You have probably been referring to fifty percent of the population. That’s the usual percentage of the population without a will,” I said.
“How is that possible, Ed? Why would people not want to make a will?”
My next answer was short, sweet and a bit sarcastic.
“Because they think they’ll be around forever.”
Dolores replied, “Well they can’t really believe that. Not when they’re going to as many funerals as I am.”
I tried to be more serious as she wanted an answer. She wanted to give her friends a reason to make their wills.
I said, “Perhaps your friends don’t know what happens to a loved one when someone dies without a will.”
Why You Need Estate Planning
I told Delores: “Estate planning is what you do for the people you care about. If you don’t have a will, you don’t know how much hardship and heartache you leave behind.”
“What does that mean,” she asked?
You don’t know how difficult it is to handle an estate if there is no will.
First, you have no one in charge. There is no one who can come forward to deal with legal matters. Who deals with the emergency services, police, hospital, coroner’s office or funeral directors?
Sure, if you have next of kin they might step forward to help. What if they are not nearby? They can try as best they can to manage without directions. But what if there is a disagreement among your relatives. What happens if there is no executor or estate trustee to make important decisions?
Who Decides These Estate Issues?
1. What happens to the house that you were living in that is now empty?
2. Who pays your ongoing expenses?
3. Who can arrange insurance to protect property from vandalism or fire?
4. Who takes care of your pets?
5. Who will pick up your children from day care?
6. Who is authorized to speak to your employer regarding your benefits?
7. Who gets access to your bank accounts to pay bills?
8. Who collects and secures your car and valuables?
9. Will your brother who you’ve not spoken to in 25 years inherit your life savings?
10. Who pays your income tax bill?
Remember, your power of attorney ceases to be valid upon your death.
Your last will only becomes effective upon your passing.
That’s when you’re estate trustee or executor becomes entitled to act as your legal representative.
It’s summer. You have longer days and more sunshine.
Before you start your summer vacation, review your will.
If you have not got around to making a will, download my free guide: Estate Planning: 7 Keys to Success. It will help you understand the simple steps to get started.
Have a happy and safe summer. Hope to see you in September.
Read my other posts on making a will here:
About Edward Olkovich
Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of Executor Kung Fu. Visit his website, mrwills.com for more free valuable information.
© Edward Olkovich 2013