By Walter Boxer
Fifty-five percent of all adults and thirty percent of those over 65 do not have wills. If you die without a will, the state will appoint someone to oversee and administer your estate. Your assets and possessions will be divided as provided for by state specified mandates, and an administrator will be appointed by the court (and that person will get a fee out of your assets). State succession laws come into effect, and the courts will name your beneficiaries.
The trouble is, you may not want your entire estate going to your next of kin, as will be provided by law if there is no will. Most people have a pretty good idea of who they want to inherit their money and belongings, and this usually includes family members, friends, colleagues, charities. Everyone has heard horror stories about people with assets who died without having a will (Aretha Franklin, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Joan Rivers, etc.), creating family strife, legal confusion, and extended litigation in the courts. A will makes sure your estate goes to whomever you choose.
Many people don’t like to think about wills because it can be emotional and it forces them to think about their own death.
It’s also viewed as costly: people believe that lawyers are too expensive and often underestimate the value of their assets, thinking that they don’t have much to distribute.
For those with children who are minors, wills are especially important to ensure the well-being of your child or children. A will allows you to appoint a guardian who will be the main care provider for your child, and a custodian who will be responsible for managing your child’s inheritance. This is especially important for single parents. Without a will these decisions will be made by the court, without your say.
While simply downloading forms for wills from the internet may be tempting, it is not advisable, and you should be very careful. Many websites claim that they are state specific and that they adhere to all state laws and mandates; however, often such “internet wills” may not be valid or accepted by the probate court.
We The People Of 14th Street can prepare your “simple will” to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible. We provide you with a questionnaire that asks all the questions that need to be addressed in a simple will. From your information we prepare the legal documents within three to four days. We also provide formal signing services, as necessary, such as a notary and two witnesses of the signing.