Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ideas #3 and #4 for Not Becoming a Needy Nitwit: Have a Will & Joint Assets

Welcome to everyone visiting from Works-for-me-Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer. My tip this week is actually the fourth post in a series that is responding to the book The Feminine Mistake. To better understand the purpose of this post, you might want to read this first.

According to Larry Burkett in his book The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples, "about 80 percent of all Americans die without a valid will." And do you know what happens to your assets when you don't have a will? The state decides according to a predetermined plan. Yep, lots of people in suits with palm pilots and expensive watches will decide how to divide your estate.

You can look up your state's "plan" at your local library, but here's the basics, again, according to Burkett's book. "The widow becomes a child in the eyes of the state. She gets a child's portion and the children get individual portions of the estate. She can be rquired to prove how and where the children's money is used, file reports, pay for audits, et cetera."

If you're still not convinced that you need a will, read this compelling story that Mr. Burkett included in his book:

"In 1976, three men I knew died in accidents. Two died in a plane crash and the third in a car accident. Of the three men, only one had a will. None had any major assets. Their estates consisted primarily of life insurance that was assigned to their widows, so they felt they didn't really need wills. The settlement from the plane crash was over a million dollars, and the settlement from the auotmobile accident was about $700,000. These husbands had enormous estates and didn't know it.

By the time the estates were cleared and distributed, for the two without wills, it took nearly four years and cost over $300,000. For the husband with the will, it took 60 days and cost about $6,000.

One reason the wife needs a will is because in a common accident the assets of the estate can pass to her. If she has no will, she dies intestate and the court handles the estate."

Write a will. I know we all hate to think about our demise or the death of our spouse, but if you have kids or any assets whatsoever, you need a will. Find a good lawyer and let them walk you through the process. It's not hard and it's not that expensive, but it is vital.

Idea # 4 is to have your name on all deeds/titles For a number of great legal reasons, please make sure both your names are on the deed to your home, your car titles, investments, etc. This makes life a lot easier, especially if one of you would die.
And those two tips definitely work for me! Visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer for more great tips and ideas for making life easier.


Makita said...

We just wrote one (quick & easy) with Quicken Willmaker. We now need to get it notarized. :)

Thanks for the reminder.

MommaBlogger said...

Wow, I didn't realize half of that stuff. My family has been after me for a while to get a will done, especially with all of our children, but I think it's time to get it done now. Thanks!