Friday, September 2, 2011

Poll # 3: Where there's a will

I'm very interested in the subject of wills and estate planning. It's something that's imperative for adults to do, but something that most of us put off as long as possible. It can be stressful to think about end-of-life matters, but once you deal with them and have your affairs in order, you can relax.

My readers responded to the poll question "What is the state of your will?" with some interesting answers. Over half (55%) said that they had it on their to do list. This isn't suprising, nor is it bad. It's great that it's made it onto so many people's radars, but so often with to do lists, tasks percieved as unpleasant or difficult can get pushed to the bottom over and over again. I encourage those who have making a will on their to do list to prioritize it and get it done by the end of the year!

The next most common response (22%) was that their will is totally up to date. Fantastic! I have some really prepared blog readers.

Tied for third most responses (11% each) were the answers "I'm too young to need a will," and "I have one, but my circumstances have changed." To the first, I say if you are younger than 18, then yes, you are too young to have a will. But if you're over 18 and have any kind of assets at all, then put it on your to do list. To those whose circumstances have changed, it shouldn't be difficult to update your existing will with the new information. Get on it!

No one responded with the answer that they had a will, but were not sure about it's whereabouts. That's good. Having copies of wills floating around can be confusing. Though I'm not a lawyer, and if you have serious will questions, you should probably consult one, I'm pretty sure you should try to only have one will in existence at once, even if a recent one supersedes older copies.

However, you don't necessarily need a lawyer to make a valid will in most states. NOLO is a wonderful resource for do-it-yourself law, and if your circumstances are fairly straightforward, you can do your own will without a lawyer in very little time.

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by iowa_spirit_walker
Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email Sign up for Lelah's News, a once-monthly newsletter.

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