By Mike Alread
- You have spent a lifetime working, saving and generally deferring consumption to fund your retirement. Now that your money has outlasted you, it will be awesome to see how the government divides your assets. Governments always make amazing decisions about other people’s money.
- The idea that a Will simplifies matters for your family after you die is so overrated. Why deny your family that special moment when they gather at your funeral and one relative whispers, “I wonder how the jewelry will be divided?” and another relative answers, “What jewelry?”
- Some say a Will is important when you have young children because the issue of guardianship is addressed—you know, naming the person who will actually be entrusted with raising and caring for your children when you can’t. This is a tough decision—maybe the toughest decision of all, which is why you’ll want to avoid it at all costs. Let Lady Luck—and the courts—work their magic. Your kids will understand.
- Wills often include Advanced Health-Care Directives and clearly outline the kinds of medical interventions you’d like when you can’t communicate. But here again a Will denies your family the opportunity to play one of the most satisfying guessing games ever invented. It’s called Resuscitate—Do Not Resuscitate. This game is best played at the hospital in front of the doctors, who will be fascinated to see who wins.
- When you write a Will and then share it with your intended beneficiaries, expectations may be set high. It’s much better to keep everyone in the dark, especially the child who’s providing the bulk of your late-in-life care. Strong, dynastic families are built on secrets and pitting children against each other after you have died intestate. Fighting toughens children up and prepares them for the real world.
- If you die (I say “if” because you may be the first to live forever) the grieving process is enriched when family hunts through your personal files and possessions in attempt to figure out what you owned. This is like a scavenger hunt but with more zeroes. After the hunt, some might say they’d like to bring you back from the dead and kill you themselves—but they’re just having fun. This is a game the whole family can play. In truth, it’s a game the whole family will play because everyone wants to make sure others get more.
These are a few of the reasons offered by Dr. Tom Deans in his book Every Family’s Business. Obviously Dr. Deans is using sarcasm to make his point; however, much of what he states ultimately turns into reality. I see it all the time. In fact the worst thing that you can do for your family is not have an estate plan. If you need an estate plan, let us know as we work very closely with excellent attorneys who specialize in this very important facet of our lives. And as a final thought from Dr. Deans:
- All lawyers are loaded—they make a fortune writing Wills. The rumor they make more money representing families who battle in court when there’s no Will is simply hearsay.