We hope that you enjoyed Father's day! It's been awkward for me since my father passed away in 2012. I'm blessed to be a dad, so I think about some of the things that he did for me, but also some of the things he forgot.
I won't make the same mistakes for my kids.
My dad passed away just a few days before my wedding. He didn't have anything to leave behind, but we had to make a ton of decisions because he didn't have a will. He probably didn't think he needed one because he didn't have much.
Someone worth millions would probably have one right? Not always…
Here in Minneapolis Prince forgot to get his will done. He was worth over $100M and now the state of MN is still deciding 3 years later where his net worth will be distributed.
Here are a few things to consider when updating or even just getting a will.
1. Beneficiaries are still #1
A beneficiary on a legal contract will always supersede a will. You could say I want everything to go to my dog, but if your ex was listed on the 401(k), that’s who will be receiving those assets.
It's important to consider this fact and to update beneficiaries with marriages, divorces, or changes in family dynamics.
The other reason why this is important though is that a will can be a catch-all.
Essentially, if you have a 401k and a life insurance policy, those beneficiaries automatically get that. But you can say "everything else goes to my nephew." Now the house, boat, and vintage Prince memorabilia is his, and your sister can't argue.
This is a process where a judge, or panel of judges decides what to do with someone's estate. With a will it's pretty straight forward. Here is what my dad said he wanted. They review it, you post in the paper, if there are no other wills or facts to contest it, then the assets are released as needed.
Or if you say everything is to be auctioned off and the cash given to charity. The executor (person handling) the will, acts in such a way.
In the case of Prince though, it gets really complicated. He has millions of dollars and tons of art and goods. The court now has to sift through the weeds to determine who gets what.
On a more realistic example compared to Prince, you won't have siblings fighting over the boat if your Will says that your granddaughter gets it.
It can get really expensive, and time consuming to be in probate court for years.
3. Family Affairs
A will can dictate exactly what you want in the case that you're not here. These people are in charge of your children if you pass away. You can decided ahead of time if the house should be sold or not. You can decide how your funeral ought to look.
A will is called your "Last Will and Testament." It allows for your voice to be heard without people saying "this is what she really would have wanted."
I think about our children and in our will how they would be cared for. I also think about how this could reduce stress for our family. Basically our will says "Do these 10 things, like this, using this money."
There you go. It allows families to grieve and to recover instead of triage.
When my dad died two days before our wedding we got everything handled, but it wasn't for about a month until it really hit me that I was sad about his passing. I had to solve problems, no time to be sad.
A will allows your family to miss you, with nothing else on their minds but good memories.
As we age -- and fortunately nothing happens -- we continue to update our Will with the newest intentions.
I hope you do the same!
If you need some help setting up a will, feel free to schedule a call! We're always here to help.