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Should I have a Will?

YESSSSSS!!! YESSS you should!!!!!

I get this question far too much and my answer is always the same: YES! Seriously, I don’t care if you are 20 years old with no assets. GET A WILL.

Ok, now with that small sermon, I’ll tell you why and explain the different types of wills and documents you should have. I’ll even share with you along the way why I have one of each.

Types:

  1. Standard Will
  2. Living Will
  3. Power of Attorney

Standard Will
A standard will is what you typically think of when you hear the word “will.” It disposes of your property, assets, and money when you die. You can include in this who will take care of your children in the case of you and your spouse’s death, but the courts are not likely to enforce this. But at least your wishes will be known.
Little thought about fact, a will can be used to provide for your pets. Though they are lovable family members, they are considered personal property for legal purposes. So you can list who will take care of your fur-babies and leave a specific sum of money for their care.
I’ve attached a picture of one of my sweet pups to emphasize why you should have a will.

Living Will
A living will provides for medical care in the case of you are ever incapacitated. So, let’s say you’re in a car accident and you suffer a severe brain energy. Now your family is having to decide what measures, if any, should be taken to save or sustain your life. Should they put you on life support? How long should you be allowed to be in a coma before the doctors “pull the plug” so to speak? If you keep dying and the doctors have to perform CPR 5 times in a row, do you want to be resuscitated the next time your heart stops? A living will would answer all of those questions. This takes a lot of the pressure off your family. Otherwise they will be stuck with the decision and will forever question if that is what you would have wanted. I really do not recommend putting your family in that situation.It is hard enough without having to guess at your wishes.
Note: I am a life long heart patient and my husband is a normal healthy man. We both have a living will. The scenario about a frequently stopping heart is within the realm of reason for me. For him, it would have to be a freak accident. But if there is anything I can tell you with certainty, it is that things happen quickly and unexpectedly. Prepare even if you think there is no reason to prepare. Because there is.

Power of Attorney
Finally, we have the Power of Attorney. Picture it, Sicily 1922…..Or just you when you’re 88. Unlike Sophia on the Golden Girls, many people suffer from dementia later in life. But that’s not the only thing that can keep your mind from being less than sharp. Sometimes a stroke causes a person to be unable to communicate or think clearly. Whatever the reason, you should have a power of attorney starting now.
A power of attorney will give another person of your choosing the power to make financial or healthcare decisions. You can give that person one or both powers. You can even provide at what point they are allowed to step in and when they need to back off.
So for instance, let’s say that the next time I need my pulmonary valve replaced and the doctors are in there trying to do it via cath. But they discover they cannot do that and need to do it through open heart surgery. Let’s say my husband has stepped out to get food and my father is in the room when the doctor asks permission. This gives him (cause he’s listed as the second Power of Attorney in line) to make that call. (Note: they may have me sign something before I go in. I don’t know. But rest assured I am prepared!).

So why should you have all three of the above documents?
Because it helps prepare for the unknown. I understand that if you’re young you may have no assets yet. Or you may have a spouse and all of it will pass to them anyway. Sure all of that may be true but a will can provide for future assets with the use of generic language. This is a great move because who wants to rewrite their will every time you buy another asset. Further, even if it will pass to your spouse anyway, this allows you to be able to make other provisions. Also, what if you and your spouse die at the same time? What would happen then? I’ll tell you, your family would be stuck filing Letters of Administration and would be forced through the frustrating process of probate.

Life is insanely uncertain. Why not prepare as much as you can? Get these documents. Unless you have a super complicated estate, it’s pretty quick and painless.

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