Maybe in the back of your mind you know that you should have a written Last Will and Testament in place. Perhaps you see a tragic news story about the death of a parent with young kids and you think about what would happen to your own kids in that situation. But then, days and weeks get away from you and this task on a long to-do list never gets done. If this sounds familiar, let me encourage you to move the drafting of your will up ahead of cleaning out your closets, trimming the hedges or a whole host of other tasks that fight for our free time. And as a licensed Texas attorney in the legal areas of wills, trusts and estates, I will share a few reasons why.
You’re a single parent with full custody or conservatorship of your child. If something happens to you and your desired guardianship is not spelled out, does the child’s other parent, who has made little effort to be in his life before now, get custody? If you own a home, do you want that property to be sold upon your death? Have there been plans discussed for a child or grandchild to live in that home after your death. If this plan isn’t known to the entire family, that move-in date might never happen. Or, do you have advanced medical directives on file with your medical doctor?
You have a heart attack while running at the gym. It’s not pleasant to think about, but it happens. Would your wife know how to access your life insurance papers and your retirement account? Is she aware of every source of debt in your household, if any, or have you always handled all of the home finances? By not cataloguing all of these details, you are making an emotionally taxing time for your spouse even more difficult.
Will and Testament