A Will is not Enough
SIX years ago, Peggy Hathaway's mother, who had Alzheimer's disease, called her daughter
Although Ms. Hathaway's mother, who died in 2003, had put her home into a trust, she had
Many people, of course, don't like the thought of planning for the eventual disposal of their
Even when parents make certain provisions, failure to anticipate the possibility of family
Allen Purkiss, a certified financial planner and principal at Purkiss Capital Advisors in
Understanding the implications of how assets are passed along can save time and money for
If someone dies without a will, a court appoints an administrator to wrap up the person's financial affairs, and beneficiaries are determined according to state law. Under these circumstances, the beneficiaries have to figure out the assets in an estate, a process that can take months if not years.
But a will, on its own, may not make life much easier for beneficiaries. "Even if there's a will in place it may not say, 'Here are all my assets and all my accounts,' " said Carl Emerick, a senior financial adviser at Sentinel Wealth Management at Reston, Va.
After a blood clot in her lung nearly killed Dr. Trudy Couch five years ago, she said she realized that she had some instructions that she wanted to write out for her loved ones. While she had set up a trust to shelter her assets and had named …, one of her daughters as executor, she had not left any specific records detailing what her assets were and where they were held.
Once she recuperated, Dr. Couch, now 93 and living in Silver Spring, Md., remedied that situation by drafting a personal instruction booklet. In it, she listed the names and contact numbers of her doctors, accountants and financial advisers, and of all the people she wants to be notified when she dies. She added an outline of the milestones in her life, to serve as a legacy.
Based on an article By JENNIFER FRIEDLIN in the January 2, 2005 New York Times
W. A. Shapiro