Last week’s piece on taking stock generated some really healthy debate. Some of the conversation veered off into politically toxic territory but most of the arguments were well-founded. The logical consequence of taking stock is to examine one’s own finances insofar as they affect you and your loved ones.
It is an awful pity that talk of pension benefits conjures up images of old, infirm souls; while the mere mention of wills engenders fear and visions of funerals. Please make a promise to yourself to tackle these important issues as part of your exercise in taking stock.
Surveys suggest that 75% of us recognise the importance of making a will – yet 2 out of 3 adults do not have a will. This is a real national tragedy. No kidding, it is! There are several great reasons for making a will. So other than the fear of talking about a morbid topic (and laziness) there is absolutely no reason for not doing the right thing.
Your will makes life easier for your loved ones; whether that’s your spouse, your children or extended family. Where there are complexities like divorce, separation, step-children, etc. a will makes it crystal clear what your intentions are. Dying intestate (with no will) allows an unconnected person in the courts to adjudicate on the split of your assets. This is both costly and harrowing because the judgement will follow the letter of the law and not a presupposition of what you might have intended. Say you told your eldest daughter that you wanted to leave her the house because she cared for you in old age – a judge would have no truck with such sentimentality in the absence of a will.
Your death will be a traumatic time for your survivors. The last thing they want at that time is confusion and complication. A properly-constructed will ensures clarity of instruction and it can also mean that assets are split amongst your loved ones in such a way that inheritance tax does not become an undue burden.
The consequences of not making a will can often mean that the family home and other fixed assets must be liquidated for cash in order to meet the proportionate splits demanded under inheritance laws. But, above all else, a will provides peace of mind for you and your intended heirs that the handling of your affairs will be seamless on your passing.
In our daily routine, we in MMPI have come across some tragic cases of premature, unexpected deaths, of couples dying together, of a much younger partner dying earlier, and other permutations where a will was an absolute blessing for those left behind. Please, please, please make a will – and even where you have one, consider re-examining it to ensure that it still meets your current intentions.
If cost is an issue please talk to MMPI, where we may be in a position to provide you with a financial plan that includes the preparation of a will.