A Cautionary Tale: Why People Need Wills

9:59 pm Estate Planning

last will 150x150 A Cautionary Tale: Why People Need WillsFinancial advisor Don McNay posted a recent column at the HuffingtonPost.com and it is a wrenching tale about the importance of having a will.

As a seasoned financial consultant and founder of his own financial services company, McNay thought he would be the last person involved in what he calls “an estate planning nightmare” when his mother and sister died, both without wills.

McNay’s mother died first of an unexpected brain aneurysm.  Her only asset was her home, where McNay’s sister still lived with her teenage daughter.  The sister was just getting back on her feet after a series of financial mishaps, so McNay was hit for the estate expenses, which included delinquent property taxes on the home.

McNay and his sister agreed that once the estate was settled, they would get an appraisal on the house and take out a new mortgage.  This would reimburse McNay for the estate expenses and provide his sister with a way to pay McNay rent for the property until she could afford to buy the home outright from him.

Unfortunately, a few months later his sister died in an accident, leaving no will and no record of their agreement.  She also left a husband that McNay though she was divorced from…but she hadn’t obtained a divorce, and the husband wanted his share of the estate.  The story gets worse, and more expensive, from there.

McNay writes that this “tedious and expensive mess” could have been avoided if his mother and sister had executed a simple will.  As he notes at the end of his column:  “People may think that wills and attorneys are expensive. In the overall scheme of things, they really aren’t. I gladly would have paid ten times the average cost for my mother and sister to have had wills.”

If you need assistance with making or revising a will, contact our Orange County estate planning law firm, a trusted source for estate planning, asset protection and business transactions for more than 35 years.

Contact us today for individualized planning strategies to meet your unique needs.

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