A family member of mine passed recently. Age was a factor, as well as some other things like smoking for the last half century. We muddled through the grief and confusion, and met with family we usually don’t see outside of reunions. As the administrator/executor and funeral planner, I was faced with gathering data, making difficult choices, and generally feeling nearly overwhelmed. One thing that would have made my job easier, and made it easier on all involved, would have been if the deceased had left an up- to-date will. Some people don’t realize that if you pass away without a will, the state you live in will decide who gets your things for you! The state will make a will for you. But it is probably not how you would have divided your things up. And the court process to figure all of this out, “Probate”, takes longer if there was no last will on record. And there is a cost for all of the court time. The court gets paid from the deceased’s assets. More court time means less assets to go to the surviving family. So do your family a huge favor and talk with a legal professional about getting a will. Then keep it updated when your life changes, like marriage, kids, inheritances, etc.
Written by Ken Kitchen, CLTC, for HRC Insurance Services