I sometimes have people say to me, "It’s just me and my wife, we have no kids yet, and if I die all my stuff goes to her. We don’t need Wills." This makes me cringe, because I have seen what happens in this situation, and related ones, if there is no Will.
In the above situation, if all the property is held jointly, then yes, upon the death of the first spouse all of the property will pass to the survivor. But, what about a car accident where both spouses die? (Yes, it happens.) Then, each spouse is deemed to have survived the other, and their property passes to their other heirs (siblings and parents). If everything was owned jointly – it is split down the middle and divided among the 2 families. That’s fine, you say, I want my family to get my stuff.
But, what if your mother or father is receiving Medicaid coverage in a nursing home? Their share would disqualify them from coverage and be consumed quite quickly by the nursing home, when you may have another relative who needs it more. What about your sister with the gambling problem? or your brother with the drug problem? or your brother in law who is on SSI due to his disability? Is inheriting a large amount of money a good thing for them? What will the ramifications be? Did one spouse come to the marriage with significantly more assets and now everything is held jointly? Will that spouse’s family try to fight for a bigger share?
And who will be appointed the administrator of each estate? When you make a Will, you get to decide who will manage the estate. Without a Will, the Court will decide based on who petitions to be the administrator and who objects to the petition and why. That person must also purchase a bond, which could have been waived in your Will. Is this really something the families should be going through at a time of grief?
Drawing up a Will now can save your loved ones time, money and the hassle of picking up the pieces when you die. They will have enough to deal with, spending more time than necessary settling your estate should not be one of them.
If you are ready to get started, you can call me at 781-749-2284.