How long can we put off drafting our wills?

Q: How long can we put off drafting our wills?

A: 6+ years. 😊

Our financial advisor asked us to draft our wills when we got married almost 7 years ago.  We kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off.  Well, I guess it took a global pandemic for us to finally do what we’ve been saying we’d do for 6+ years.  And, it wasn’t terrible!

COVID-19 made us look at things differently. 

As COVID-19 cases have spiked and then settled down and then spiked again, it really made us stop and think and realize we need to do ourselves a favor and get our wills down in writing.  Not to be morbid or focus on the negative, but we wanted to be prepared for the worst.

Over the last several weeks, we actually decided to draft and finalize our last will and testament, living wills, and Power of Attorney documents.  And, believe it or not, we actually did it.  They’re done, notarized, and in the safe!

Helping our parents do the same thing

As we were working on our own wills, our parents asked us to help them draft their documents too.  So, we sat down with my mom and Carter’s dad and began the somewhat painful process of asking the tricky questions.  Questions like:

  • When you’re not around anymore who would you like to care for your pets?
  • If you’re terminal, do you want to receive water and nutrients intravenously?
  • Who do you want to keep the family photos?

The process of developing a will, etc. really is quite simple.  It’s the questions and thinking through the what-ifs, that’s more awkward and painful than anything else.

It’s easy and less expensive than we thought it’d be

We used online tools our financial advisor recommended to create each document.  Through TotalLegal.com we created multiple documents for $15 each.  Yep, that’s right.  We’d always thought it would cost hundreds of dollars to work with an attorney to document everything.  Well, TotalLegal.com walks you through a series of questions aimed at developing the content for your personal documents.  You select the state you’re living in and the tool knows what questions you need to answer as well as what the rules are for finalizing, notarizing, and filing your documents.

We filed our documents and hope to not see them again for many years.  For us, filing our documents meant saving PDF versions to our cloud folders, providing a copy to our financial advisor, and placing the originals in our safe we carry with us when we’re traveling.

We let our families know what we laid out in our will and why.  We’ve learned the hard way that it’s incredibly important for family members to know why you’ve divided your estate up the way you have.  It might make total sense to us, but once we’re gone, we want our loved ones to know why we decided to manage our assets the way we’ve have.  Basically, we don’t want our family members to fret about anything and know our rationale behind decisions.

The bottom line 

We’re ashamed it took us almost 7 years to complete our last will and testament, living will, and power of attorney documents.  While it’s never easy to think and talk about death, it’s worth it.  Now we know our families will be cared for and there won’t be any lingering questions about our intentions. 

We highly recommend using online tools to draft your documents.  Obviously, if your situation is really complicated, an online tool might not be the solution for you.  But, we don’t have the simplest financial structure and heirs, and we found the questions the online tool asks were helpful in making us think through multiple scenarios and deciding on a plan. For us, TotalLegal.com was an easy, secure, inexpensive way to help us think through every aspect of our wills and other documents.  But, there are several websites out there that do the same thing. Give it a try.

Retiring Early

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Carter,

    All good stuff, but if I may, I suggest a couple more things:

    1. Make sure somebody else knows how to get to the originals of your will and associated paperwork. Please do not make them (the original documents) the ONLY versions available and ONLY in your possession.

    2. Place a copy with someone you trust – an attorney or very good friend. Somebody who most likely will not be present at the same, possibly cataclysmic event, if and when you pass.

    We need to hook up sometime. It’s been too long!

    Like

    • Hey Jeff! Great suggestions. We want to be super transparent with our families, so they know where the originals are for sure. Our financial advisor has a copy too. We were told to minimize the number of copies floating around, so we stopped there. As soon as this COVID thing is over, we will be swinging through Colorado. Love to catch up.

      Like

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