Creating a Will

posted in: Practicalities, Preparations | 0

If there is a topic that created almost has much waves as the announcement of the trip around the world, it’s no doubt the creation of a will in light of the said travel plans. This might seem like a needlessly gloomy topic, but it is a necessary one. Telling people about this – other than the one I was planning to name my executor – might have been a mistake, but I had been considering it since before starting to plan for this trip. It simply became a necessity for me now. Surprisingly and despite how smart producing a will is, the idea was sometimes met with an irrational reaction. Some people were under the impression that creating a will meant I thought I was going to die out there.

Truth is, if I was convinced of my impending death, I probably would not go on this trip at all. This is really just a precaution to protect my assets and make sure they go where I want them to go if something does indeed happen. Putting your head in the sand has never reduced risks or magically made problems go away.

More so, let’s consider for a second that life threatening accidents don’t all happen overseas… That they can happen in your backyard, on your way to work, when you do sports, etc. I really should have created that document a long time ago. In fact, it was negligent of me not to do so before.

While creating a will is a smart move, the conversation that must follow is never fun. I suppose it has to do with forcing your loved ones and those who love you to consider something might happen to you. That you neither invincible nor eternal.

I don’t think anyone could blame me fore wanting to put my things into order before leaving for such an extensive amount of time. I just want to get rid of some of the clutter in my house, see people I haven’t seen in a while and, yes, create a will.

The first step in this process is actually deciding whether or not you need a will. A will not only dictates the distribution of your assets, but names the guardians of your children, if you have any, and addresses how your remains are to be handled. There is also another document called a Power of Attorney that designates someone to take the decisions for you if you are incapacitated. In a Power of Attorney and in a Living Will, you can state what types of treatments you want or do not want to receive and you can name someone to take health care decisions for you in the event that you become unable to do so. Hard decisions, like whether or not to maintain life support, can tear a family apart. Those documents can facilitate such processes.

Now let’s say you have decided to create a will. Your next step will be deciding whether to write it yourself or to get counsel from a lawyer. In my case, I ended up going with a lawyer for a few reasons. First, I wanted my will to be done in a way that nobody could contest its content and second, I wanted my will to be easy to track down. Keeping a single copy in my safe at home, which nobody can access, would be quite counterproductive. When it came time to look for a professional, I received quotes ranging from $300 to $2500. In the end I decided to go with my family’s lawyer, mainly so that the original document would be easy to track down. While this was a deciding factor for me, you have to figure out what is important to you.

To wrap up for today, I think there are few documents in adult life that are as important as a will. I’m still in the process of creating mine, so you can expect some more feedback in January as I will try to pass along other important information on the topic in case it could be useful to you.

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