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  • Colleen Watson

Where There's a Will, There's Alot of Drama: The realities of creating a will

We all want to have our say. To have our voices heard and our wishes respected. At base, that is why you create a last will and testament: to say how you want your legacy to be distributed. We create it to keep our wishes clear and to stop families from declaring war on each other. You may believe your family would never implode, but why risk it?


Convinced yet? Good. Next question, how do you get started. Here are three things you can do before you make an appointment with a lawyer.



Photograph of a black family a al ages in a kitchen creating a meal


What do you have?

I can hear you now: Colleen, I’m young and healthy or I don’t have enough stuff to merit a will, so why bother? Particularly since it’s not a pleasant experience. And I get it but do me a favor; make a list of all the stuff you have that’s worth over, say, $300. Include any investments you might have, like a 401 K from work, a life insurance policy, or gold from a grandparent. What about collections? Have you invested money in a hobby? Now add it all up. Still think you don’t have any legacy,



Black and white photo of two hands holding a pen with papers with handwriting in front of them


What do you value?

Before creating a legal will, it might be worth asking yourself what you value. Why? Because it can make deciding how you want to divide your legacy easier. Writing out an ethical will allows you to consider what matters and what you want your descendents to take as an example from your life.


It can also be a good place to consider how to divide up items with no monetary value, but have deep feelings of nostalgia attached to them. Things like photographs, family recipes or baby books that many people want but a typical will is not designed for


Here are a few articles to help you get started:


What are the right questions to ask?

We all have a story about a family that tore itself apart after the death of a parent or grandparent, and I’m sure no one wants that. When creating a will, many people think about fairness. It’s an important consideration, but it’s not the only one to consider. Perhaps a better question to ask is what I can do to ensure that my kids still have a good relationship after I’m gone.


Also, for everyone saying it’s only money. Sorry, you’re wrong. When it comes to families, money is NEVER only money. Rather, it’s a mirror and how it gets spent and on who as well as the openness or secrecy about spending it tells you quite a bit about any family's dynamic. Remember that when you’re looking at who in your life gets what and why.



Photo of a yearly calendar with a gold pen sitting above it


Creating a will: not a one and done event

Once you’ve figured what you have, what you value and ask the right questions, it’s time to create a will. However, this is not a set it and forget it document. With every big life event, marriages, deaths, births, divorces and, oh yes, starting a business, you’ll need to update or even redo it. A yearly check-in is a good habit to get into. Life happens and we tend to lose track of the paperwork. Set a date and schedule a review of it every year.


It’s not a spoiler to say you’re going to die. If you’ve made family a priority, you’ll have a bloodline or lineage to consider. If you’ve invested in things that will outlive you, you have a legacy. A will ensure that the former gets the most out of the latter by making your plans a legal requirement. Without one, the government determines who gets what. Protect yourself and those you love.


In the meantime, want to talk about your estate with someone who isn’t a lawyer? No advice, just a friendly ear? Let’s chat. Sign up for a 15-minute meet & greet and get started figuring out your estate. 



Photo Credits

Family: August de Richelieu on Pexels

Hand Writing: Todoran Bogdan on Pexels

Calendar by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels



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