Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday Soapbox: Is Your Estate Plan In Order?

No one wants to think about dying, but we will all do it eventually. We lost a dear friend a few weeks ago after a long battle with cancer... but a couple of months ago we lost another friend to a sudden heart attack. I mean, we went riding with him Saturday, and a few days later he literally dropped dead while at the movie theater.

Scary thought, huh? And I don't think staying away from the movies will actually keep you safe. Besides I'm not sure which movie he went to see...

OK this is NOT supposed to be funny. But sometimes you gotta laugh or you will cry.

These two men were good friends, long-time riding buddies, and had a lot in common, including the fact that both had remarried fairly recently. One had his paperwork done. The other did not.

Now I will admit, I do work for estate planning attorneys, and shortly after I started here I was in a panic for Randy and I to get ours updated... we had been married a couple years and had not changed anything. Bad idea! I was so relieved to get it done. And my boss is pretty cool, so here's a shameless plug, if you don't have your estate planning paperwork done, come see my boss!

But seriously, no matter where you go, this is something that should not be put off. No matter how creepy it feels to be talking about it, you WILL feel better when it's taken care of.

And just a heads-up, be careful trying to save money by doing it yourself with kits. I will give you an example - true story, but since I don't remember the guy's name, and I'm therefore not telling you the guy's name, it's not a breach of attorney/client privilege.

Mr. X wanted to change his Will but he didn't want to pay his attorney to do it. So he saved himself a couple/few hundred bucks and did it himself with a kit. He actually did a pretty good job. BUT.

You knew that was coming, right? But... he forgot one very important thing.

He left a small sum of money to his brother... and he neglected to say where that small sum should go if his brother was not around to receive it.

You guessed it - his brother died a short time before Mr. X died. And Mr. X did not update his Will upon losing his brother.

Mr. X's family then had to go through a court process to figure out what should happen to that small sum since the brother was not able to receive it. Which process cost, you guessed it, a whole lot more than the couple/few hundred dollars that Mr. X saved back when he wrote up his own Will.

And since this is an animal lover's blog, here's an additional thought for you: if your car was smashed by a semi tomorrow, with you in it, what would happen to your 4-legged children?

Don't forget them when doing your estate plan!

1 comment:

oldmanlincoln said...

I came here from the picture on horse shoeing...

And read your post. Interesting. I still like the way they treated the dead in the old days...at home.