What Happens If You Don’t Have A Will?

A Story Of Someone Who Didn’t Leave A Will

Rock star Aretha Franklin didn’t leave a last will and testament. 

What was she thinking?  

Well, I assume she wasn’t thinking. 

Her lawyer is reported saying he spoke to her repeatedly about having a last will and testament or a trust. 

She always said she would do it, but never seemed to get around to it. 

Does this story sound similar to you or someone you know of?

What Happens If You Don't Have A Will

Consequences Of Not Leaving A Will

When you don’t make a will, or intend to but keep putting it off, by default you are making a decision not to have a will. 

This means you are:

  • You’ll be risking your property being distributed to people whom you would not want to give it to.
  • Deciding to subject your family and loved ones to at least months, if not years, of extra expense while the affairs are sorted out. 
  • Social services will determine who would look after your children, if you have any, if the surviving  parent is unable too. 
  • The government will take your savings which could have been left to family or a charity of your choice. 
  • And most commonly, you’ll be giving your loved ones a lengthy, drawn out process, involving stress, anxiety and unnecessary pressure. 

After all, that’s what has happened to Ike Turner’s estate – he died without a valid will, and many years on his estate is still being contested between his children and ex-wife.

So how can you stop yourself from being like Ike or Aretha?

Questions To Ask Yourself About Having A Will Now 

Got a will?

Yes – great, check now that it reflects your current wishes. If not, make arrangements to get it amended. This can be as simple as a handwritten note, signed and witnessed and attached to your existing will (you need to check the legal requirements where you live to be absolutely sure you cover everything needed)

No – ask friends and family for an estate lawyer whom they recommend. Or for a free will, contact Wills for Good at www.bequeathed.org. Keep on top of it until you have a signed and witnessed will reflecting what you want to have happen.

Still dithering?   – ask yourself what is getting in the way of doing this. If the answer is lack of time, or not at the top of my priority list, then go back and read those bullet points again.

By not carving out the time, or putting it to the top of your priorities, these bullet points are just some of what you are consciously giving to your family should you die.

Don’t Have A Will?

If you haven’t already created a will and you’re looking for a book to help you get started, Before I Go: The Essential Guide to Creating a Good End of Life Plan is an excellent place to get your mind in the right place. You can check it out here

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