HOW TO TALK ABOUT GETTING A WILL
This article is inspired by an article of the same title I read in Money magazine written by Kerri Anne Renzulli. The article discusses the importance of everyone having a will, but the awkwardness of brining up the subject with loved ones.
As Ms. Renzulli states "No one wants to plan for his or her own death." Everyone knows they should have a will, but in our practice, we see so many people and families that have put off getting a will or sometimes - just as bad - put off updating their will. Every time your life changes i.e. new child, marriage, divorce, or death you should update your will.
But - how to do you get the ball rolling? First, you need to know what exactly you have to pass on to your loved ones. Most americans have bank accounts and IRAs (or some other type of retirement account like a 401(k)), these typically can be transferred -without a will- to whomever you'd like by making the the beneficiary. However, many people have more than just bank and retirement account. Therefore, the need for will is born.
How do you bring this up with a loved one?
Usually, discussing what another friend of family member went through will be a good ice breaker. Ms. Renzulli refers to new events like Prince passing away without a will as a good reference to get the conversation started.
What do you talk about once you've brought up the subject?
If you have children - the most important question is: "Who will take care of your children?" This is important. It's possible that some family member or friend ,who might not be your first choice, could wind up raising your children. A will would take care of this.
What about inheritance? Do you want your children to have it all at once? Are they too young to handle this situation? Would setting up a trust with distributions after set ages or milestones be the best for your children?
These topics are just to get the ball rolling. Having a will is extremely important for everyone especially those with children.
At Redding | Fitzpatrick, LLP we offer free consultations and would be happy to discuss these topics and situations with you and your family. Call today 817.809.3823. We're here to help.