Here’s a secret, but it’s between you and me okay?
I used to go and get my haircut at different salons when my hair started to go grey in my mid- 40’s. I didn’t realize how bad it looked until my wife pointed out to me in an old picture how what was a dark brown tint, later became an orange color (think President Trump). Then I went to a darker color and tried black. Well it was better for my shoes than my hair! It looked like I put black shoe polish on my head!
Later on (years to be exact), I rediscovered that going to the local barber shop and using JUST FOR MEN Grey Reducing Formula once a week worked the best. Supposedly, men look more distinguished with some grey 😊.
So what does my hair have to do with having a will etc.?
It has to do with something I often forget about and recently rediscovered (like the barbershop) when a client came in with their estate planning paperwork
We have a service they used and that all of our clients have access to where they can have their Will, Power of Attorney (POA) and Living Will done by one of the largest law firms in NJ very inexpensively and reviewed and updated annually at no cost.
In addition, they can bring their documents into us and have them notarized at no additional cost like our clients did recently.
That said, why do more than 60% of Americans not have a will?*
Probably because nobody likes to think about what it means. However, the reality is that unexpected accidents and illnesses can and do happen - regardless of what age we are - and because of that, it is important to have certain plans in place...just in case.
That's because without a plan, the savings and assets that you've worked so hard for may not be distributed in the way you intend them to be. Likewise, the medical care that you do or don't receive could be carried out in a way that someone else chooses, versus what you truly want.
In its most basic sense, a will is a legal document in which a person states who should receive his or her possessions after they pass away.1 Wills have several advantages, including the fact that re-titling of assets is not necessary.
In addition, if you have a will, creditors have only a limited amount of time in which to make any claims against your estate. And, wills can provide for the appointment of a guardian for any minor or special needs children that will need to be cared for upon your death. If you die without having a will in place, your estate could go through the probate process - which can be extremely costly and time-consuming.
A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document in which the principal (you) designate another person (who is often referred to as the agent, or the attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf to make all decisions. This can either be for just certain matters, or in all matters, such as financial or business.2
While many people think that becoming incapacitated is the primary reason for setting up a power of attorney, the reality is that there are any number of reasons for doing so. For instance, those who are younger and who travel a lot should consider having a power of attorney so that someone can handle their affairs in their absence.
Certainly, as you approach retirement, having a POA in place is essential. If you do not yet have a power of attorney, and you become unable to handle your financial matters - regardless of the reason - it will be too late to set one up.
The same holds true for a health care directive - often referred to as a living will, or simply a medical or advance directive - is also a type of legal document.
With an advance directive, you will specify what actions should be taken with your health if you are no longer able to make such decisions on your own due to an incapacity or illness. For example, depending on the circumstance, you may or may not wish to have various treatments performed in order to prolong your life. This document will typically provide specific instructions as to the course of treatment that health care providers and care givers are to follow.
A will, a POA, and a health care directive are all essential pieces of your overall financial plan. Having these documents in place will not only provide your loved ones with a proper course of direction but can also allow you the peace of mind in knowing that your financial and medical situation will move forward according to your specific wishes.
If you would like to know more about the Will service I mentioned earlier, send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put WILL in the subject line and I will forward you the information.
Artie “the Rediscoverer” Bernaducci
- Definition of Will. Merriam-Webster.
- Power of Attorney: Do You Need One? By Kimberly Rotter. Investopedia.