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Friday, July 26, 2013

The Importance of a Will: Protect your Life Savings!

Throughout my years as a lawyer, I've noticed one commonality. Here’s the scenario: A beloved parent dies after a long illness. After a few days, the smoke clears and the children are suddenly left to deal with Mom or Dad’s Estate. Unfortunately, Mom and Dad never thought about making a will because they always thought that their possessions would just pass to their children automatically, but everyone is now realizing that that isn't necessarily true.

Cue the calls to my office.

I don’t mean to make light of such a difficult situation, but simply point out the importance of having a Will drawn up. The fact is, without a Will, when you pass away you are legally known as “intestate”. This means the fate of your estate depends entirely on the Court’s decision. What will occur is that the Court will hold a hearing to decide who the rightful heirs to your estate are and then decide accordingly. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in your estate not being split the way you intended.

How can you avoid this?

You deserve to have control over the finances you worked so hard to earn. The only way to ensure you have complete control over how your estate is handled is to contact an attorney and draw up a will. Your attorney will guide you through the process to ensure that in the event of your passing your wishes are clear and allow the executor to perform his job smoothly.

In addition, even if you do have a Will it should be renewed regularly, at least once a year. As we know as time changes, circumstances change. The person you appointed Executor or Trustee for example may not be capable of acting as such or may have moved away. There are even circumstances in which a couple goes through a messy divorce and forgets to change their will.

One important tip you should follow is to NEVER keep your will in a Safety Deposit box. A court order will be necessary to release the will.

- Kevin McKernan

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