If I ask you when your birthday is you could spout it off in your sleep, couldn’t you? Great. Well let me ask you something else. When is your deathday? *cricket, cricket* Tough one, eh? We know neither the day nor the hour, do we? Well, one thing is for sure. Out of 100 people how many of them are going to die? Yep, all of ‘em. So how many need a will? YES, ALL OF THEM! Would you believe there are people out there who are stumped by that last question?! I hope you weren’t one of them! If you don’t think everyone ought to have a will clearly you’ve never seen or heard of a family fighting over someone’s assets! And even after seeing something like that or hearing bout it happening to someone would you believe there are still people in these United States of America who would tell you, “Oh I don’t need a will because of ‘xyz’ reason”. And ‘xyz’ could range from any excuse as foolish as “I can’t leave my stuff to my spouse because I’m not married” to “I don’t have any money to leave anyone.” Typically, I just look at people like these with my, “Are you kidding me?” face (unless they are my clients then I just break out the stats and educate them.) Regardless of your marital status or your checkbook status, everyone should have a will (and probably a Power of Attorney and Advanced Directive/Physicians Living Will), but for now let’s just concentrate on a will.
There are plenty of people with no spouse in the world. But guess what? Some of them have kids and if you do they are your most precious asset. Shouldn’t you have a written document specifying who takes charge of their care if you don’t come home tomorrow? And it isn’t enough that you told your “mama and ‘nem” to raise them in the event something happens to you. How do you know who is TRULY going to uphold a verbal contract like that when you are six feet under?
Likewise there are plenty of people with only 20 bucks to their name right now, but does that mean they don’t have items of sentimental value or monetary worth like jewelry, keepsakes, etc. that they want to designate to a specific person if God forbid something should happen to them rather than having the cleaning people just come in and trash it once they are gone? If you are married you can’t just assume your husband and/or kids will be the ones to keep your heirlooms. Whose to say there won’t be an argument over it with one of your parents who lay claim to it because they say they bought it for you so by rights it’s theirs. You know they say weddings and funerals bring out the BEST and the WORST in people. So don’t underestimate that sweet mother of yours. Why leave to chance things that a simple piece of paper can solve. If one legal document can ensure all your expectations and requests are met if you are no longer around to carry them out then why don’t YOU have one?
Pocahontas is a licensed Financial Coach and has been in the industry since 2005. She can be reached at email@example.com.