People don’t like to think about certain important responsibilities. Especially when they involve their own mortality. But if a person doesn’t make certain important decisions for themselves, others end up making those decisions for them.
Sure, we all know that wills exist so our belongings and money go to the people we choose. But if we die without a will, the state in which we lived decides how our property is divided. That’s called an intestacy scheme. Each state has its own laws about wills and intestacy schemes, so you should speak with an attorney in your state to get details.
But wills do more than distribute assets. If we have children, guardians should be appointed. Does anyone want two or more sets of grandparents resolving the issue? What if your relationship with your spouse isn’t recognized by the state?
When Terry Schiavo went into a persistent vegetative state, there was no legal document available to inform people of her wishes. Instead, there was a protracted legal battle that went beyond the courts. Ms. Schiavo and her family were, sadly, pulled into the public spotlight of the federal legislature and the court of public opinion. A living will, properly drafted by a qualified attorney, and signed, witnessed and notarized, can tell people what your wishes are regarding life-prolonging procedures when you cannot. It is a personal matter that can be kept personal and prevent unnecessary pain. Again, each state’s laws differ regarding living wills, so consult a qualified attorney for more information.
Handling these responsibilities is relatively easy, not very expensive, and a kind thing to do for your loved ones. It’s the adult thing to do. Don’t wait until tomorrow.