Most people don’t like to think about their will. There are obvious reasons for this. First of all, it’s uncomfortable to make the difficult choices a will requires. How much do you live a spouse? The kids? Grandkids? Friends? Organizations? Rarely is there enough to go around, and inevitably there will be at least subconscious comparisons on all sides as everyone does the math to see who was loved the most.
Do you split the money evenly? Who gets your collection of WWII memorabilia when three of the kids and one grandkid loves it?
Then, of course, there’s the fact anyone writing a will has to face the ultimate unpleasant realization that they are planning for their own death.
For these two reasons, many people put off making a will, sometimes until it is too late. Whether it is mental incapacity or an unexpected death, time simply runs out and a will is never written.
However, it is important to try to convince people to make wills before that unfortunate event. There’s an excellent reason to make a will that most people don’t consider. Not only does it keep possessions and money from going to the wrong people, it keeps families from fighting.
The fights after a death can be particularly brutal. With so many difficult emotions running through people, many stop acting like their normally reasonable or generous selves. People become anger, selfish, and vicious to one another. Many families, in fact, never recover from such events.
Consider that collection of WWII memorabilia. There are three adults and a child that want it. If it was the favorite object of all four people, everyone will fight hard for it. This can lead not only to bitter emotions but to some pretty ugly actions. It isn’t uncommon for people to resort to stealing these objects to ensure they get to keep them.
If a will had been in place, however, not only would there be no need to fight over the object, other accommodations could be made so that all feel reasonably satisfied and as if they have received an important part of you. You might split up the collection four ways, or you might offer the three who miss out other emotionally valuable objects to compensate. You could even make it known before your passing who will receive it and explain the decision in person.
So, make sure to prepare your will now, while you are healthy and your mind is strong. An incomplete will or one written without full mental faculties can be , and so is just as bad as not writing one at all, if not worse.
The most important gift you can give your family when you pass is the chance to mourn without fighting and to stick together as a unit through their grief. A will goes a long way towards that.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming wills are just for the rich. Whether you have a million dollars or less than a thousand in the bank, having a will makes everything easier on everyone.