The Truth About Make-A-Will Month: What AARP and The Red Cross Left Out
The Intentions Behind Make-A-Will Month
August is known as National Make-A-Will Month, and you’ve likely seen promotions from AARP and The Red Cross encouraging you to create your Will. Partnering with FreeWill.com, they claim you can craft a legally valid Will in just 20 minutes. While the initiative seems well-intended, there are essential details they haven’t shared—details that could impact you and your family significantly.
Understanding the Scope of a Will
A Will is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about getting your affairs in order. But it’s crucial to know what a Will can and cannot do.
A Will Doesn’t Cover All Assets
Contrary to public perception, a Will doesn’t cover all your assets. Property co-owned as joint tenants, marital property, and assets like retirement accounts and life insurance policies with beneficiary designations are not controlled by your Will. Therefore, it’s vital to update your account beneficiaries and consider backup options, should your chosen beneficiary predecease you.
A Will is Ineffective if You’re Incapacitated
If you become incapacitated due to an illness or an accident, your Will offers no solution. You’ll need a separate Power of Attorney to empower a trusted individual to make decisions on your behalf—otherwise, your loved ones will have to undergo a lengthy court guardianship process.
The Probate Process: A Double-Edged Sword
Filing Your Will in Court
Having a Will doesn’t spare your loved ones from court proceedings. Your Will becomes effective only when filed under a probate case, which can be both time-consuming and costly. Probate can easily cost your family tens of thousands of dollars and take up to 18 months or longer.
Public Exposure and Vulnerability
The probate process exposes your Will to the public record, potentially putting your beneficiaries at risk from scammers. The lack of privacy is something many people don’t consider when drafting their Wills.
Why an Estate Plan Matters
A comprehensive estate plan involves more than just a Will. An estate plan is a set of tools and strategic decisions tailored to your unique situation, ensuring the well-being of your loved ones both during your lifetime and after.
A Comprehensive Inventory of Assets
Among the most overlooked aspects is a comprehensive inventory of your assets. This inventory aids your family in locating what you own and where it is, in the event you become incapacitated or pass away.
Choose Heart-Forward Professional Guidance Over Online Tools
While online tools might produce a legally valid document, they lack the nuance and expertise offered by estate planning professionals. A document generated online is almost guaranteed not to work as you would have hoped during crucial times.
Offering More Than Just Documents
That’s why our approach is different. We don’t just create legal documents. We hold you through every step of our detailed process so you properly pass on your assets, values, and wisdom.
Take The First Step Today
Ready to see how having an estate plan can secure your family’s future effectively? Schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session™ today. Let’s explore your unique needs, creating a personalized plan that’s more than just documentation—it’s about safeguarding your loved ones.
Importantly, in protecting your family, it’s essential to get the full picture—something Make-A-Will Month promotions often fail to provide.
This article is a service of the Law Office of Aisha M. Williams, APC, serving San Diego, Carlsbad, Escondido, and all of California. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we’ll start you with a Family Wealth Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love.
This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.