When we think about death we tend to think about two things: what we would miss out on and the people we would leave behind. Of course, when we envision the special events and family milestones we would miss out on, we don’t typically imagine our loved ones pouring over documents or standing helplessly in front of a court. We certainly don’t imagine adding a headache to the experience. No, what you want to do is leave a legacy for those you love the most, not a headache.
Yet if you don’t have a Will, that is exactly what you’re setting your loved ones up for - a headache. You are now a parent and you have worked hard to accumulate the assets that you have. Without a Will, the future of your assets is left up to chance. As much as you might like to imagine that your family members could work things out and agree happily about what to do with your estate, I think we all know someone who has been negatively affected by inheritance decisions. The battle of who gets what can leave a lasting impact - and not the good kind - on your loved ones.
The best benefit of drafting your Will now is that you have time. It’s never too soon! The sooner you begin, the more time you can spend really considering how you want to be remembered. Creating a Will means writing your own legacy.
Leaving a legacy, however, does not have to mean big gestures or large financial inheritances. Your legacy can be made through thoughtful decisions about who gets your favorite watch, the classic novels from your childhood, or your grandmother’s favorite china. Your legacy can be a way to tell those you love and cherish how you feel about them.
Whether you’re gifting a child with a family heirloom or donating money to your favorite charity, writing a Will eliminates any guesswork from the estate planning process. Life is short and you should spend your life with the people you love, doing the things you love, not worrying about what Will happen to them when you’re gone. The best gift you can give your family is the opportunity to treasure your memory and celebrate your life, headache-free.
Did you know that you can also talk about guardianship in your Will and create an intestate trust where you can leave money to your children in varying percentages at different ages (when you as their parent think they can handle the inheritance – not the age that the law dictates)? You can also set aside money for college and determine while you are healthy just who you think would be best to step in and care for your children if need be. You can talk to your loved ones and family members now to make a plan – so no one is left second-guessing. Everyone Will know exactly what you want to happen without any animosity, fears or doubt. In essence, you Will have the ultimate say. There’s no better gift to leave your family than peace of mind.