There was a HUGE dust storm yesterday. It caused a 26 vehicle crash on I-80 right outside of town. No visibility whatsoever! There was also a wildfire on the mountain range to the east of our valley. It was started by a dry lightning storm the night before. The road was closed and we couldn’t go into town for my girls’ orthodontist appointments yesterday afternoon.
You never now what the day will hold and how your family will be affected, which brings me to today’s Establish a House topic: wills.
Getting a legal will is probably one of the most important things parents can do for their children. It is also one of the tasks most parents put off for “tomorrow” or “someday.” We don’t like to talk about or think about us dying prematurely. But what if you did? Would your children be taken care of?
One of the most important reasons for getting a will is choosing a legal guardian for your children. Who do you want to raise your children? If you don’t have a guardian named in a will a judge will decide instead. There’s no guarantee that the court will choose a family member or even a close family friend.
My father-in-law lost both parents within one year of each other. His mother died in 1970; his father died in 1971. While my father-in-law was married, as was another brother and sister, the rest of the eleven children were still at home. Those children were extremely lucky that they were allowed to stay together in their home. Don’t rely on luck that your children will be able to do the same!
It is also important to name a property guardian or trustee to manage your money for your children until they reach legal age. This can be the same person as the legal guardian or someone different. If you have life insurance, 401(k)s or IRA accounts those list beneficiaries that trump what is in a will. Double check who you have listed on those accounts.
Mr. Ferrero Rocher and I did our wills about ten years ago. We used a local lawyer and it was a fairly painless process. Really! We choose a legal guardian and designated someone else to take care of our money for our kids. We need to go through them again and update them though. Circumstances have changed. We’ve added several more children to our family and so have those whom we had listed as legal guardians.
It may seem like a pain to create a will. You may not feel like you can pay a lawyer $300 or more to draft one for you. But, oh, it is so important that you do! It will be worth every penny. If anything were to happen to you your children will be grateful you thought ahead.
Do you have a will? Is is up to date?