The Finance Blogger

Seniors Without Wills

seniors without willsSeniors without wills is a subject we have written about previously, however a recent personal situation came to our attention and we just had to post another article about this subject. It is so important to have a will. Yet many people do not have a will. They really have no idea of the risks they are taking. Nor do they seem to care about the hardship and difficulty that they are putting their families potentially through.

Seniors Without Wills – A Personal Situation

A friend of ours who is 65 still does not have a will! He is now retired and he has a spouse and two married children, both with children of their own. Pretty typical family with the exception that neither he nor his spouse have a will. There seems to be no intention to have one prepared.

What makes matters worse is that he is beginning to display the symptoms of Alzheimer’s! He is not in any real difficulty yet. However he is very forgetful and often needs to be reminded by his wife. This man was really sharp at cards and would often be able to tell you many of the hands that were just played. Now he sometimes forgets what game he is playing and how to play many of the games. Obviously we are very concerned.

Spousal Input

His wife spoke to me about who to talk to about having a will drawn up and I provided our lawyers name and number. This was over 2 months ago and they still have not made an appointment. There is no immediate rush in terms of my friends forgetfulness, yet at age 65 and overweight, it is a good idea to have a will drawn up.

In his case, he believes that with a will prepared he is one step closer to the grave instead of making sure that his affairs are in order and that all of his assets are distributed in the manner he desires.  A living will would also give his spouse the right to manage his health when he cannot.

His spouse on the other hand, although younger is reluctant to even discuss it with her husband because of his strong feelings about them. This is a really difficult situation, since she also does not seem to be aware of investments that the couple have. Not a good situation at all.

The Basics That you Need to Think About

There is no solution really to this situation. If he does not want to prepare a will, there is nothing anyone can do about it. We will summarize the basics of a will to show just how simple and straightforward they can be:

  • Assets go to the surviving spouse
  • Assets are split between surviving spouse, children and grand children
  • Special designations are indicated
  • Trust funds although unusual for most consumers can be set up
  • Care takers for children are identified
  • Funeral and other special requirements are specified
  • Instructions regarding measures to be taken for medical care

Your lawyer will discuss all of this and any other special requirements that you may have which might differ from those above. They will prepare the will , review it with you  and then you sign it with your lawyer witnessing it. They keep a copy and you receive a copy. It is that simple and yet it makes life for your surviving relatives so much easier.

If you are in this situation, don’t wait until it is too late. It does not bring you closer to the grave. Instead it shows someone who is mature and thoughtful about life and wants to do the right thing for your family. It allows you to make sure that your spouse and children are properly looked after and special considerations are taken care of. Finally if you are part of the growing distributed family situation with ex-spouses and step children it is even more important that you have a will and that your assets are distributed in the manner you wish.

Do it now, don’t procrastinate! Comments welcome as are suggestions!

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