I couldn’t believe my ears the other day when a colleague – also an attorney – admitted that he doesn’t have a will. Because he doesn’t like to think about dying. When he said matter-of-factly that he wasn’t going to worry about dying for another twenty years, it was all I could do not to point out that his own father had died when he was seven years old.
Death is not a pleasant subject. But the fact is, we are all going to die and we don’t know when it’s going to happen.
A will isn’t something you create for yourself, to ensure that your grandmother’s necklace goes to your favorite cousin and not her sister whom you’ve always despised.
A will is for the loved ones you leave behind, the people who are going to be grieving. The last thing they need is to worry about who is getting what, and whether they are legally entitled to those possessions, and what laws they have to follow, and what taxes have to be paid. Perhaps most important, a will can ensure that your children are taken care of by the people you choose, rather than a judge who doesn’t know your family. A properly drafted will – and even better, an estate plan – can avoid probate, taxes, and delay, as well as ensure that your wishes are carried out.
So yes, death is unpleasant to think about. But isn’t death without a will even worse?