At some point everyone “thinks about making a Will”. Some turn the thought into action and do it. Some don’t.
As a lawyer I say everyone should act on this thought, but in reality the consequences of not acting may not be SO bad, IF the results would be relatively the same with or without a Will. When a person has a spouse and some grown children, and everyone is friendly, things will probably work out if the person dies without a Will. OK, you wouldn’t have the ability to name one of them as Executor, but they’ll figure it out because they are good kids.
Sometimes it could be a little bad if there isn’t a Will, if kids who seemed to get along start vying for “who is going to handle things”, and friendly siblings now have resentments they’ll never lose. OK, kinda bad, kinda sad, but that’s life.
Sometimes, thinking about a Will and not acting is downright DANGEROUS.
Here are a few ways I have seen this play out ……..
- Elderly spouse in nursing home inherits and the money is lost to the kids as the nursing home or Medicaid get it.
- Disabled child inherits and a mess and family feuding follows.
- Drug/alcohol abusing adult child inherits and blows their inheritance.
- Adult child with health issues inherits, then dies and their evil spouse gets the inheritance.
- Person’s closest relatives are 15 cousins, most of whom they have no contact with, and they inherit rather than people who person “thought they would leave it to in a Will”
- Person has a long standing, intimate relationship with someone but is not legally married, then they die without a Will and the relatives not only inherit, they kick the surviving person (the one that had the relationship) out of the house. These are some of the saddest cases and could have been easily avoided.
- Person disliked their closest relatives and had a bunch of great friends (and charities they cared about), but didn’t make a Will. So, the creepy relatives inherit everything and friends and charities get nothing (other than knowing you thought about putting them in your Will)
There are so many scenarios where thinking and not doing are dangerous and wrong. They have a simple, recurring theme:
IF THE RESULT FROM NOT HAVING A WILL WOULD BE DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU WOULD WANT TO WATCH FROM HEAVEN,
CALL A LAWYER AND MAKE A WILL!!!
P.S. – It’s not expensive and you will sleep better.