19th August 2007

The Perfect Wedding Gift: Legal Advice

Scales of JusticeI happened across this story on E!News posted by Josh Grossberg, about the families of the late Chris Benoit and his (also late) wife, who are now battling in court over the assets left behind. A very sad situation indeed. The reason that the court is involved is not that Chris died without a Last Will and Testament – he had one – but that his wife Nancy did not. Which is what I’ve been pondering. Why would a woman who has both a family (husband and a child) and some valuable assets (surely some of them must have been in her name) not have a Will?

So I conducted an unofficial, informal poll amongst a number of my friends, neighbors, work collegues, and a few random strangers. I was surprised by what I found. A fair number of people that I asked said that they do not have a Will, even though they have both assets and persons in their life that they would like to leave those assets to. Excuses generally ran along the lines of “there’s plenty of time for that – I’m young and healthy”. So was Nancy Benoit.

Some of them assumed that their spouse or children would automatically get everything. That may not be the case, depending upon the State in which you live. Some of the wives I spoke to did not have any life insurance, even though their husbands did, simply because they assumed they’d outlive their husbands.

No I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. But if you haven’t made legal preparations for your demise, you owe it to your loved ones to call an attorney experienced in estate planning. Preparing beforehand will help your loved ones avoid the messy struggle the Benoit’s relatives now find themselves in.

When a person becomes independent from their parents, moves out and begins acquiring assets (even if it’s just that used VW Jetta you bought because it had low miles and good tires), then it’s a good time to start making those preparations. But it becomes highly important when one marries – dependents dramatically alter the landscape of our responsiblities.

So the next time someone you know sends you a Wedding Announcement, why don’t you suggest to them that instead of setting up a wedding registry for some kitchen gadgets, they might consider a one for a good attorney? It’s a gift that will prove invaluable over time.

If you have dependents (spouse, children), do you:

  • Have a Will, life insurance, Living Will, etc. (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Have a Will but little or no life insurance (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Have life insurance, but no Will (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Have none of the above (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 0


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