To Will or Not To Will?

June is National Make-A-Will Month

By: Don West, Jr., @DonWestJr
 

 

Why do people write wills?

 

Is it because they have realized the multi-generational connection between themselves and their families? Every person is unique and will have their own motivations for laying plans that reach beyond this mortal walk. Perhaps they desire that no one in their family get a dime and want to leave it all to charity? Whatever the motivation for you, reports state that only 30% of Americans have taken the time to put their wishes down in writing. That is only 3 out of 10 people. Are you 1 of the 7 who have not made written plans for the future? What would it take for you to get a written plan in place by the end of this month? Would that be something of value to you and your family? If you are 1 of the 3 out of 10 who do have a written plan, when was the last time you checked it for accuracy? Is it time for a tune-up?

 

What exactly is a Will?

 

A Will or Last Will & Testament is a legal document usually requiring the signatures of witnesses and outlines the final distribution of your property and possessions, designating your wishes for who takes responsibility for your minor children and/or disabled dependents on the event of your passing, as well as other issues you desire to address.

 

Should everyone have a Will?

 

Not necessarily. I will is an often used tool, but there are a few things to consider when choosing if a will is right for your situation. A Will requires a process called Probate, which takes place in a Court and all the documents are public records. As you may recall was the case with Michael Jackson, his mother had to go to Court and ask permission to spend money and ultimately we all got to read and see what MJ did with his earthly wealth. Is Probate the only option? There are many ways that you can execute your plans, one of the most popular and well known after the will is Revocable Living Trust or Living Trust for short.

 

The Living Trust has its own distinguishing attributes including that it does not require Probate to transfer your property and it is intended to keep your instructions private and shielded from the public record. Before jumping into the deep-end of the Living Trust ‘pool’ you should understand that all your property that has a title must be transferred to the Living Trust and no longer be held in your name. A seasoned adviser can answer your questions and help you determine if a will or a trust is right for you.

 

What about my stories and our family history, do they go in a will or a trust?

 

Both a Will and a Living Trust are legal documents are are only intended to handle the disposition of your tangible possessions. However, if you engage the services of a Legacy Specialist such as myself, we also provide tools and resources that allow for the orderly accumulation and preservation of what may be your most valuable assets – your thoughts, processes and opinions. Your interesting point of view is currently 1 in 7 billion and that makes yours priceless and invaluable if you choose to organize, preserve and share it. Your life has a story and that story is a part of your legacy. Every life is a legacy.

 

 

Who needs a written plan?

 

Almost everyone can benefit from having a written Legacy & Estate Plan. If you own things or have minor children something must happen when you transition, there is no way to avoid this absolute of life. Take control and responsibility today, it is very important.

 

Have a question, just ask. So, do you have an up-to-date written plan?

 

LET’s GET STARTED TODAY

 

Don West, Jr.

is the Creator of the Legacy Pyramid and counsels individuals, families and organizations on the subject of Legacy Development & Preservation. Don serves as the Associate Director of Education to the Legacy Institute and assists the NFL’s Ricky Williams and other professional athletes plan and execute their second-careers and Personal Legacies.

 

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