Death and taxes are the only two guarantees in life and while every April we are reminded about taxes, we tend to avoid the thought of death. Because of this avoidance, writing a last will and testament often slips through the cracks. A will allows us to divide our individual assets to whomever we may choose in whichever way we choose. The will can assign guardianship for adolescent children and plan funeral arrangements for the deceased. In short, the will serves as an instruction manual for surviving family and friends on how to best fulfill your last wishes.
Without a will, these important decisions fall upon the next closest family member and can be a source of stress and controversy between loved ones. The famous Terri Schiavo case serves as the best example of where a will could have helped avoid costly and drawn out litigation. Due to a heart attack, Ms. Schiavo was left in a vegetative state and placed on life support. Her husband claimed Ms. Schiavo would not want to stay on life support with no hope of recovery and he wished to end the treatments in 1990. However, his decision was contested by Ms. Schiavo’s parents. Because there was no will, the case lasted 15 years before Ms. Schiavo was taken off life support by court order. Not every situation where there is no will is as controversial as the Schiavo case but having a will does make things significantly easier for your loved ones.
While death is often the last thing on our minds any given day, it is necessary to take a week or two to determine how you want to leave your loved ones. If you’re ready learn more about what it takes to create a will, contact the estate planning attorneys at White Law PLLC to get the process started!