Sunday, January 15, 2006


Many older people avoid making a will because they feel it is morbid or unnecessary, and in fact, only one out of eight people die with a will. Some people think that wills are only for the wealthy, not realizing that the costs and complications caused by not having a will can be especially heavy when small amounts of property are involved. Every person needs a will to avoid unnecessary costs and difficulties when distributing property to heirs and assignees. While one can prepare a will oneself, a will drawn up by an attorney, recorded, witnessed, and kept in a safe place (most often a safe deposit box) is usually advisable. Wills should be reviewed and updated every two to three years to conform to periodic changes in family structure, business, and state or federal laws. If there is no will, the property of the deceased is distributed among relatives in accordance with the current state laws. But, if there are no relatives and no will, property may go to the state.
Wills help to guarantee fewer family squabbles after death, provide opportunity to explain one's wishes, and most often tend to unify families.
Gillies, J. A Guide to Caring for and Coping with Aging Parents. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1981.
Lester, A. D. & Lester, J. L. Understanding Aging Parents. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1980.
Soled A. J. The Essential Guide to Wills, Estates, Trusts. and Death Taxes. Glenview, Ill.: AARP, 1984.


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