The former Late-Night comedian, David Letterman, regularly made his “Top Ten Lists” a staple of his show. It varied from politics, to sports, to pop culture. Well, after four decades in the practice of law, I have my “Top Five List of Reasons People Fail to Make Wills.”
And to be perfectly candid, all of the excuses are almost always in a word…”Lame!”
So here we go. “Attorney Eric Moody’s Top Five Lame Excuses for Not Making a Will:”
NUMBER FIVE: “I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO LEAVE IN A WILL.”
If you have a home, if you have a business, if you have a car, if you have a bank account, if you have jewelry, if you have a fur, even if you have a pet, then you need a will. Otherwise any of the foregoing may end up in the hands of some unintended beneficiary who may not even want what you have left them. A will allows you to decide who the recipient will be.
NUMBER FOUR: “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY.”
That’s why you go to the lawyer. An experienced attorney through an office consultation can make suggestions, explore your genuine intentions, and formulate the language that will carry out your wishes.
NUMBER THREE: “I’M AFRAID IT WILL COST TOO MUCH.”
Our fees for wills are not the cheapest in town, nor are they by far the most expensive. Let’s face it, we spend money on a wide variety of things. Vacation, entertainment, hobbies, and certainly not the least of which is fashion. I have found that the actual cost of preparing most simple wills is what one might pay for a quality suit of clothing and a pair of shoes. This is a small price to pay for a document which will distribute according to your wishes all that you own at the time you pass on.
NUMBER TWO: “I PLAN TO MAKE A WILL, BUT NOT RIGHT NOW.”
Envisioning a time when we are no longer alive is a sober and mature thought. It is no surprise that it is not easy for the young or old. Procrastination does not extend the ultimate time of our demise. It only causes us to be less prepared. Try taking a small step. Set a deadline. No pun intended! Write it on a calendar with the lawyer’s phone number to make scheduling an appointment easy. Don’t worry about how much it’s going to cost, or what you want to say.
NUMBER ONE: “IF I’M MAKING A WILL, I MUST BE ABOUT TO DIE.”
Needless to say, an office visit to see your attorney to have your will professionally prepared has no correlation to your longevity of life. An office visit to see your physician who gives a bad health report can. Most clients live many years after having their wills properly drafted. In fact, many return to make changes. Remember that wills are revocable. The acquisition of new personal and real property, additions to the family, in-laws and grandchildren are just a few reasons for easy updates.
Wills give peace of mind. They make living more enjoyable with the knowledge of having done the right thing. What’s your excuse?