Friday, September 10, 2010

Update Your Will--Or Else

Last week I had the unfortunate experience of a divorce client committing suicide. The acrimonious nature of the divorce, no doubt, was a contributing factor to his decision to end his life.The divorce had not ended. He still was legally married. So, in the eyes of the law, his wife is his next of kin. This is something that my client did not consider.
Just before he took his life, he sent text messages stating his clear wishes as to how he wanted his property to be divided and that he wanted his wife to receive "nothing". Unfortunately, his expressed wishes, in this form, carry no legal weight. He died without a Will, so his assets pass according to law, not according to his wishes. This is a grim reminder of the need to take care of legal formalities well in advance of the time when you think that they will be needed. This is not an advertisement for legal services , because you can write your own Will so long as it is all in your own handwriting (not typed), signed and dated. It is just a reminder and a warning to take care of your own business so that your family does not suffer because you did not take care of some paperwork.

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