One reason Patricia L. Brown & Associates handles probate, wills, trusts and powers of attorney is so many of our family law and divorce clients do not have these documents. Perhaps the term "estate planning" misleads people who confuse "estates" with mansions. If you own virtually anything of value (automobile, furniture, family photographs and momentos, a bank account, a TV, etc) or have minor children, you need a will and powers of attorney. Otherwise, some anonymous judge will decide who receives the items you value, including perhaps your despised brother-in-law. And if you are injured or ill and cannot make your own health care decisions, who do you want making those decisions? That brother-in-law?
It may sound unusual (for an article about wills, etc) but this is a website you should visit: "GetYourS**tTogether.Org". It was started by a young woman, Chanel Reynolds, who's husband was killed by a car while bicycling. While trying to deal with the loss, she discovered how chaotic and disorganized their life actually was, although it didn't seem so. For example, they had taken the time to draft wills but sadly never signed and executed them. She didn't even know if her husband had life insurance.
Perhaps not surprisingly, more than half of Americans do not have a will. Martindale-Hubbell® had a research study conducted in 2007 and found that for the last three years, 55% of all adult Americans do not have a will. Only one in three African American adults (32 percent) and one in four Hispanic American adults (26 percent) have wills, compared to more than half (52 percent) of white American adults. A new survey by FindLaw.com found the same data: fifty-five percent of American adults have not written a will. As one might expect, the situation is particularly prevalent among younger people. Only one in six people between the ages of 18 and 34 have a will. We think we are immortal at that age. However, the data does not support that view.