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A lesson in life and estate planning - "know your worth and add tax!"

When I ask people "why don't you have a will?" I often hear responses like "I don't need that, I don't have anything," "I don't know," or "they can take whatever they want." I struggle with that response because we all own things, whether it is a cell phone, books, vehicles, home furnishings, bank accounts, etc. If it's your personal property, then you have a right to decide how to dispose of it at the time of your death.

Without a Last Will and Testament, you risk the opportunity to define your wishes. The Last Will and Testament speaks when you are no longer able to speak.

The Last Will and Testament allows you the opportunity to determine who will get your assets after you die.

We all have "stuff" and what happens to your "stuff" can either be determined by you or the State (if you do not have a will, then the North Carolina Intestate Succession statutes will make the determination for you).

Your Last Will and Testament can also name potential guardians for your minor children. Who would you want to be the guardian of your children, if something disastrous happened to you? What measures have you put in place to plan for the care of your minor children? The Last Will and Testament can also provide burial instructions, and determine who manages your estate after you die, which includes paying your bills, canceling your credit cards/subscriptions, and notifying banks and other institutions.

Most importantly, having a Last Will and Testament saves not only costs in administering your estate, but also saves time and emotional energy needed to settle your estate. Without a will, the State will determine how your estate should be administered, which could take an extreme amount of time. When you have a will, it is more clear how your estate should be administered according to your wishes, and it is a much swifter process for your Administrator.

It may come as a surprise to you, but many celebrities did not have a will at the time of their death - Chad Boseman, Prince, Aretha Franklin - just to name a few. It is shocking to me that such notable names hadn't had estate plans, but it illustrates the larger issue that nearly 70% of Americans do not have estate plans. (See's 2021 survey).

So, why don't you have a will? Besides procrastination, many individuals state that they do not know how to get an estate plan and that they do not believe that have anything for them to pass on, as the main reason they do not have an estate plan in place. Contact the Law Office of Crystal M. Richardson PLLC now to learn more about the Last Will and Testament, and other estate planning documentation.


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