Group of people who needs a will

Do I Really Need A Will?

 

You may have heard that everyone should have a will. While it certainly can’t hurt there are people who absolutely should have a will. And some others who maybe could get by without one right now. Let’s take a look to see what category you fit into.

Wills Are for People Who Are Rich and Wealthy.

Not necessarily. Anyone who has a positive net worth should probably have a will. Your net worth is the value of your assets minus your liabilities. It has nothing to do with your income. Your savings, investments, and debts combine to calculate your net worth. And this is something that may fluctuate.

If you have been saving for retirement or putting money into a rainy day fund your net worth will increase. Likewise, if you are paying down your mortgage, car loan, student loans, etc. your net worth will also increase.

Are You Married? You Need a Will.

 

Traditionally your spouse will inherit your things even if you die without a will. But you shouldn’t leave this up to chance. Make sure your spouse is protected. This is especially important if this is not your first marriage and there are children involved.

Additionally, if you want someone other than your wife to receive something it needs to be in writing. Don’t count on people to “do the right thing” after you are gone.

Do You Have Kids?

blended family

You absolutely need a will. Your kids are likely to inherit your things if you die intestate, after your spouse, but not necessarily. This means that if you want your kids to inherit after your spouse, then you need to put that in writing. This way there is no room for a different interpretation by the courts. Additionally, if you don’t want one of (or all of) your kids to inherit, then that needs to be in writing.

My guess is you have strong feelings about whether you want your children to inherit your estate. Having a will in place will ensure that the decision is being made by you, not the state.

When your children are young having a will allows you to name a guardian for your children. You will also be able to name an executor. This will determine how your children are raised and how the assets will be divided among them.

Revisit Your Will Each Year

It is important to review your will yearly and make changes as necessary. If you have another child your will may need to be updated. Likewise, a divorce or a new marriage will require updates to your current will.

But I Am Broke!

If you are young, broke and don’t have kids you may not need a will. At least not yet. But if you get married, have children or inherit some money you will want to get a will.

 

Do you need a will? Contact The Hilbun Law Firm for a consultation. 281-955-9292

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning- It’s Not Just About Your House

New Beginnings

There is something about Spring cleaning that is really invigorating. I think it is about new beginnings. As the flowers start to bud, life begins anew. Likewise, cleaning out the cobwebs and getting rid of items you no longer use somehow seems to make room for new items and new ideas to enter your space.

What To Do With All of Your Stuff

Sell It

Here in Cypress, we can have a garage sale to move out some of those things you have accumulated. It is easy to advertise your sale with Craig’s List, the Next Door App (connects you to your neighbors) and Facebook. Don’t want to have a garage sale? You can also post your best items online for people to buy. There are local Facebook groups to sell unwanted items online.

You can also hire an Estate Sales Company to help. A list of companies can be found here. These companies can take a lot of headaches out of this chore. Susan Gaze with Tender Transitions specializes in estate sales and helping seniors transition from their home to retirement living.

Donate

You may also consider donating your unwanted goods. Cypress Assistant Ministry (CAM) is always looking for unwanted items for their store, Angel’s Attic on Huffmeister. CAM is happy to take your unwanted stuff. The items will be sold in their store for discounted prices.  Furthermore, the money earned helps to support this organization. Assistance ranges from financial help with rent or utilities, food, furniture, clothing and household goods to providing job counseling services and job leads.  The goal is to give people in the community a hand up to become self-sufficient.

Spring Cleaning For Seniors

Spring cleaning is especially good to do when you get older. The older we get the more clutter we can accumulate. It is amazing how fast the items in your home can multiply! Having your house in order can give you peace of mind. It can also be a great help to your family if something unexpected happened to you.

Kathryn’s mother-in-law fell and broke her hip. She had to be moved quickly from Louisiana to Houston. This meant the home she lived in for over 60 years had to be vacated. Though Pat was not a hoarder she did have a lot of stuff. 60 years worth to be exact. It was a huge chore for her family and caused quite a rift between the brothers.

Beyond Your Home

But spring cleaning your life should not be limited to your home and the stuff you have. It’s time to take note of the stuff you have left undone. I am talking about having your affairs in order. Spring Clean you documents. Take note of what you do and do not have. What needs to be updated?

Avoiding This Task Will Not Change The Future

Spring Cleaning- Procrastination

Most of us will avoid this. We assume there will always be tomorrow to get that will done, create a medical directive, plan your funeral, etc. Not doing these things can have huge consequences for both you and your family.

Fortunately for Kathryn and her husband, Pat did have most of her paperwork in order. She had a will, medical directives and a power of attorney set up. This made it a lot easier for her children to be able to take care of her and also her move to Houston. Without these documents, it would have made their job of taking care of her a lot harder.

Sarah had been procrastinating for years. She did not have any of her legal documents in order. However, Sarah watched her friend in agony. She was helpless because she could not make decisions for her mother when she was ill. The proper paperwork was not in place. Sarah decided it was time. She made an appointment with an attorney to go over her estate and make sure she had everything set up the way she wanted. Furthermore, she reviewed her financial accounts and insurance to make sure the right beneficiaries were listed.

“I wasn’t aware that not having my affairs in order was causing stress for me!” Sarah said. “But after getting it all taken care of I feel so much lighter. It is as if a load has been taken off my back”

So, this year when you do your spring cleaning make sure you take a moment to make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork in order. Let’s face it, nobody has a crystal ball.  Be prepared for whatever life changes come your way.