Last Will and Testament Advice: Have One!

June 25th, 2008  |  Published in Estate Planning  |  7 Comments

It’s never too early and never too late to draft a Last Will and Testament, if you don’t have one… get one! When it comes to Wills, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you needs require. It can be as simple as bequeathing all your worldly belongings or as complicated as adding provisions, requirements, etc. If you’ve been putting off having one written because you’ve been afraid of its complexity, don’t be!

Your Last Will and Testament carry the force of law and will rarely be overturned by a judge unless:

  • It violates the law.
  • Was written under duress or incompetence.

Executor

This is probably one of the biggest reasons why you want to have a Will. If you do not name an Executor of your estate, then the laws of the state will govern and the court will appoint an administrator. Having an Executor can simplify many problems (though it can introduce new ones) but is far superior than a third party administrator divvying up your belongings.

Bequeathing

This part names the heirs, what they are to receive, and clears up all confusion. If there are no named heirs and no direction as to how things are to be disbursed, then it goes to state law which may or may not match what you believe. Sometimes the living spouse doesn’t get everything if there are children, sometimes the children get nothing if there is a spouse, the law of the state prevails.

Having a will clears up confusion, has the potential to prevent a significant amount of in-fighting, and generally makes life a lot easier for your family. While it forces you to face your own mortality, it’s certainly better than leaving your family in disarray after you are gone.

  

Responses

  1. MBL says:

    June 26th, 2008 at 5:44 pm (#)

    How would one go about choosing an executor without worrying about whether the executor will live long enough to execute your will?

    I guess I am wondering about those law firms in the movies that always appear when a benefactor inherits something? Is this for real, is there a one time fee for this or is this an ongoing expense?

  2. retirehappy says:

    June 27th, 2008 at 3:00 pm (#)

    That I don’t know, I’d ask an attorney about that.

  3. Carnival of Personal Finance, #159: The First Zero-Emissions City | Greener Pastures: Personal Finance says:

    June 30th, 2008 at 2:21 am (#)

    […] Retire Happy from My Retirement Blog presents good evidence to support his post Last Will and Testament Advice: Have One! […]

  4. Joe says:

    July 5th, 2008 at 3:56 pm (#)

    Reply to MBL. Personally, I would not name an attorney as executor of my estate. The executor hires a lawyer to handle all legal matters for the estate and guide the executor through the process. Why not just name your lawyer as executor? I don’t like it for this reason: the lawyer then names his partner as attorney for the estate. It’s a built in mechanism and incentive for milking the estate for maximum lawyer fees possible.

  5. credit trend says:

    January 29th, 2010 at 1:48 am (#)

    I look forward to reading your posts. Thanks for all the work!

  6. Ron says:

    July 18th, 2011 at 3:18 pm (#)

    As a person who has been an executor I would always hire a lawyer to do the job.

    1. Executors do not get paid.
    2. Family members just S@#* on the executor.

    Not worth the problems.

  7. testament and will says:

    May 1st, 2012 at 6:52 am (#)

    That I don’t know, I’d ask an attorney about that. and what have to ask.