Trouble sleeping? Try reading up on one of these topics: wills, testaments, end life of planning documents. Yawn…. Are you asleep yet? I tend to put these topics right up there with colon cleansing and root canals. Dull, uninteresting, and nothing I want to talk about.
Turns out I’m not alone, and most Americans avoid dealing with these important topics like the plague. A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive revealed that over 65% of the American population does not have critical documents prepared, including a basic will, living will, and financial and medical powers of attorney. Major findings from the survey include:
- 65% of Americans do not have a basic will
- 71% of Americans do not have advanced health care directives (living will)
These statistics are shocking, yet I can relate. Ever since the birth of our first child we’ve had this nagging voice in our heads chiding “get that done!” (Did I mention that was FIVE years ago?) However, it’s always felt complicated, time consuming, and expensive. An attorney friend recently put it into perspective for us: “everyone has a plan; it’s either the one you prepare for yourself or the one the state gives you.” Ouch…that hurt. Just enough to get us off of our rear ends to take ACTION.
Turns out it is not complicated, time consuming, or expensive. Our family attorney had a very basic questionnaire put together and sent it right over – no visit required. The paperwork guided important discussions between my husband and me, and clearly mapped out the basic info needed to get the ball rolling.
We prepared responses to the questions, followed by a short interview with our attorney to clarify our needs and intentions. Although I have not seen the document yet at press time for this article, I have full faith it will arrive to me within a few days. Voila! Quick & painless.
To further reduce cost, one might consider downloading free forms online. There are tons of great (free) resources out there for the taking, including the American Bar Association’s website or legalzoom.com. Our process took less time than watching one football game, and cost less than an evening out on the town. Most importantly, we have eliminated that ever present nagging voice out from our heads – now that’s priceless.
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