If you’re like most people, you aren’t eager to spend time thinking about what would happen if you became unable to direct your own medical care because of illness, an accident, or advanced age. However, if you don’t do at least a little bit of planning — writing down your wishes about the kinds of […]
A will protects your kids and ensures your assets will be divided quickly and to your wishes. Here's how to set up a will, including online will options. You’ve got contingency plans in place if the babysitter cancels, and and a laminated list of all 27 emergency phone numbers tacked to the fridge. But have [...]
A will protects your kids and ensures your assets will be divided quickly and to your wishes. Here’s how to set up a will, including online will options.
You’ve got contingency plans in place if the ride to soccer practice cancels, and and a list of the 10 emergency phone numbers on the side of the fridge. But have you decided who’s going to raise your children in case you‘re not around?
Discussing life’s tragedies may not be a popular dinner table topic, and it’s one that we just don’t want to think about. In fact, even the most basic (but essential) estate planning tasks tend to fall off our radar: According to a recent survey by Edward Jones, just 24% of Americans have even designated a beneficiary for their financial accounts.
Yes, it’s one thing to forget to fill out the beneficiary paperwork for your retirement accounts. But, it’s quite another to leave your child’s future to fate. Many parents put off this process because it is a very difficult conversation to have. There may be disagreements (between parents) about who the guardians of the children should be.
What happens if a tragedy strikes and you haven’t put a few documents in place? Short answer: The Court will decide what happens to your money and your children.
What happens if you die without a will?
If you die without a will or a trust in place, your assets will go into probate. That means a court will be in charge of distributing your assets and, if no guardian has been designated, a judge will appoint one to manage the assets until the child is of legal age. A judge will also appoint a guardian to take care of your kids.
The court will attempt to act in the child’s best interest as much as possible. But a judge will not be privia to the family dynamics. For example, “The judge might pick a relative who is more financially stable or has experience raising kids instead of a relative who is actually significantly closer to the child, but has limited financials and less experience with children.
Take Action: Your Options for Making a Will
It takes time and effort to put a will in place, which is something that busy parents don’t have a lot of. However, there are options to help you make a will in a way that suits your lifestyle and your budget. If you need (quick, easy and inexpensive) we have options for you.
Attorney Preparation: Having an estate planning attorney create a customized will is the most costly option. In larger cities like New York, experts say you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,500. In less urban areas, the process averages between $250 and $850. The initial meeting should take no more than an hour, and once you approve the draft of your will, you’ll have a short follow-up meeting to sign the documents.
Although hiring an estate attorney can be quite expensive, it’s money well spent if your finances and/or family relationships are complex. An estate attorney will ensure that your will is as airtight as possible to minimize the chance of anyone contesting your wishes. If you’ve been putting this task off, putting an appointment on the calendar can ensure that this important task gets done. Plus, once you establish a relationship with an estate attorney, they will follow up with you to see if you’ve had any life changes that need to be addressed in your will.
Online Options: If you simply want to get a will in place quickly and have relatively straightforward finances, you can draw up a will online. There are a number of cost-effective services to assist. Be sure to choose one that offers state-specific will-making.
- Quicken Willmaker & Trust is downloadable software that costs $75.98 and includes a lawyer review to make sure the documents adhere to your state laws.
- Do Your Own Will is a free online option that walks you through the will-making process. However, unlike paid programs, you don’t receive any kind of support if you have questions.
- Other popular DIY options include Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom.
Appointing a Guardian: If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of getting a will, just focus on this one important task: Naming a Guardian. Trust & Will is an online option that lets you appoint a guardian in under five minutes. Prices start at just $39. With that necessary task off your plate you can tackle other estate planning items one at a time. Or if you really need help staying on track, take the 30 Day Challenge to keep you moving forward.
Once you have a Will, don’t forget to update it every few years as your children get older (or you have more kids) and your financial life evolves and changes.
If the unthinkable happens and you do kick the bucket, you will know that you have taken the necessary steps to protect your Family.
Got the Book?
Take the 30 Day Challenge: Get your crap together, so your Family won’t have to!
You have your choice of two options. Yup I’m Dead…Now What? or Yup I’m Dead…Now What? The Deluxe Edition.
What’s the difference? The Deluxe Edition contains the 30 Day Challenge along with additional forms, resources, shortcuts and tips. The regular version refers to the website to download these items.
- Amazon is a tad quicker and convenient (if you have prime). I pretty much order everything from Amazon, so why would I not order my books, as well.
- Barnes & Noble is just B&N (some prefer)
- LuLu Marketplace takes a little longer, but is a few pennies cheaper and offers a convenient coil binding.
Whichever option you choose, you just need to choose one!
This is one of the most important things you can do for your Loved Ones.