Robin Williams has estate issues that are causing family division. Your stuff probably means more to your family. Have you addressed specifics in your will? Your will is included in your #LegalSavingsPlan. Make sure you get it done!
What Can You Do To Minimize Estate Issues?
You have nothing to leave? Don’t bet on it. The biggest disagreements are often over the smallest things. Sure, you have told everyone what you want them to have. Does everyone else know? Your will helps make it clear what you wanted. It’s the only voice you have once you are gone.
Things you not might think to consider.
- Is your will still valid?
- Who gets what?
- How are disagreements settled?
- Who gets paid for what?
- What if you live?
Life is hectic and there is always something more important. Is there really?
There have been all kinds of shows and movies that demonstrate how selfish we can be when we are hurting. When we lose a loved one, we don’t want to let go and it shows up in things like wanting a favourite picture or a piece of clothing because it reminds you of the person you lost.
Your first wife wants the old wedding pictures. One child wanted medals. Others wanted certain pictures.
How do people know what you wanted to happen? Your will makes it clear as possible.
Is your will still valid?
Be careful, your will may be invalid. Check regularly to make sure. Did you know that in Ontario, your will dies when you re-marry? You are considered to have died intestate if you didn’t have a new will done after you re-married. Make sure you have a good discussion with you lawyer about how to phrase things in your will to minimize problems afterward.
Who gets what?
What happens with money is usually fairly clear. Make sure there you have frank discussions with family now because you can’t answer questions later other than what you include in your will. Do you care enough to have those difficult conversations. Face your mortality, it’s the only true guarantee in this life, and use your will to tell your family you cared enough to think things through before it was too late.
This sounds silly but you need to consider right down to the smallest things that could cause disagreement:
- Medals and trophies
- Record, stamp or coin collections
How are disagreements settled?
When you make a decision to leave an asset jointly, you need to lay out how disagreements will be settled. Brothers and sisters get along when Mom and Dad are around but there is no guarantee when you’re not there. Write the rules before you leave.
For example, I heard a story with a brother and sister who inherited a cottage property they grew up in. The value was higher than most homes because of the area. In the first year, one could buy the other out under a specific formula. After the end of the year, they were joint owners and would have to follow common property ownership rules. Fast forward three years. One was paying all the taxes and maintenance and the other didn’t lift a finger. The sibling doing all the work and paying expenses wanted to sell the property and get out from under the liabilities. The second sibling refused.
In the end, the first sibling had to go to court to force the sale of the cottage. By that time the value had dropped and legal expenses piled up. The each ended up with about 5% of the original value.
Be sure and be clear. Make sure you discuss this with your attorney.
Who gets paid for what?
Much of this is covered under law for things like your trustee and executor’s fees. There are standard guidelines that need to be followed. Make sure you consider things like business continuation and who will be responsible until your estate is processed and ownership transfers where you want. You might want to consider some insurance money for this purpose.
For the sake of your family, be clear.
Now, what if you live?
We have touched on some main points to consider if you die. What happens if you live? Does your family know what you want to happen?
- Do they pull the plug?
- How long is it reasonable to be on life support?
- Who manages your money?
- Who makes business decisions?
I’m not going into all this now but make sure to consider what happens if you live. When you do your will, don’t forget your powers of attorney for health and finance.
Your family deserves that last lover letter from you. Will you or won’t you?
Make it a great day!
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for loving family. I’m thankful for my #LegalSavingsPlan. I’m thankful for every new day.
What are you thankful for today?by