When You Die,
What Does a Will do?
by: Stuart Simpson
I know it may sound simple, but there are things a Will
does and certain things it cannot do. Most people
dont have a will and dont even want to talk
about it since it relates to death. A lot of people
dont even have life insurance, either. I had a boss
that was speaking to his accountant one time, If I
die- started my boss, and his accountant said,
There is no IF, its just
WHEN. We all will die and it would be nice to
have a will to help your family decide what to do with
your money and belongings.
Why do you need a will? Would you rather probate courts
decide the fate of your children? The court decides where
the kids are sent for foster care. That should be enough
to scare you out of your shoes. The court will also
decide what happens to your assets. Yes, all your stuff
and money. So you may have money and a nice house, then
its all gone and the kids are sent to the state home.
I know, it sounds harsh. So what can a will do for me?
First, a will can indicate where your assets and property
go. You can also name a guardian for your children and
their property. You can also name an executor to
administer the will. This executor can be given powers
and compensation for taking care of your estate.
But heres the tricky part a will cant
override anything with a named beneficiary. For example,
your life insurance has a beneficiary that was
established at the time you wrote the policy. Also, a
will cant nullify the terms of a trust youve
So what should you do? Inventory your assets that will
pass through the will. Like checking accounts, CDs,
stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. These are called probate
assets. Nonprobate assets would include things like your
life insurance. These items have named beneficiaries.
Make a list of your beneficiaries and decide what you
want them to have. If you have children from your current
marriage, then the decision would probably be very easy
give the items to your spouse. If you have kids
from a previous marriage, plan carefully and list them as
well as their relationship so the executor will have no
questions and will hopefully limit anyone contesting the
I hope this gave you some idea as to why a will is an
important planning tool not for you, but for your family.
You dont make a will for yourself, as you will be
dead, you make one for your survivors.
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