I don’t have a will.
This is not something I’m proud of, and it’s not as if I purposely avoided making one.
I’m probably like a lot of Americans who just don’t want to think about it -- at least not yet. There’s always something more pressing to take care of, such as cleaning out the gutters or finishing that Foghat tribute needlepoint.
To be fair, I don’t have children, which lessens the importance of having a will by just a bit. Plus, my “estate,” as it is, isn’t really that sizable.
I do have a dog. I’d leave everything to her, but I know she’d spend it all on those suspicious chicken jerky treats from China.
But let’s be serious for a moment. Wills are important and I need to get one. I’m reminded of that "Seinfeld" episode when Elaine said to George in vetoing Ring Dings and Pepsi as dinner party contributions: “Because we’re adults.”
We are adults, but even the most brilliant and accomplished among us don’t act like it.
Here at InsuranceNewsNet, we annually publish a cover story on celebrities who died without proper estate planning. And we never have to look far for candidates for this article.
Prince is the most obvious case this year. At last count, more than two dozen people were lodging claims against his estate and a judge was ordering genetic testing to see who’s in and who’s out.
It’s a sad ending to the life of a creative genius, one who lacked the foresight to have a will outlining his wishes. Prince’s estate is worth $300 million and growing daily.
The pop star was nearly 58 years old when he died accidentally April 21 from the painkiller fentanyl. How he did not have a will is unfathomable.
Anton Yelchin, on the other hand, had little reason to think of wills and estate plans. The late “Star Trek” actor was barely a decade out of high school when he was crushed to death June 19 by his Jeep Cherokee.
Yelchin, 27, left a $1.4 million estate and no will. Court records show Victor and Irina Yelchin filed to become administrators of their son's estate earlier this month in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Statistical studies show that 55 percent of Americans die without a will or estate plan. Even among parents, the roughly half do not leave a will behind. That is incredible.
Nobody likes to think about death, but since it’s inevitable, we might as well plan for it. Frankly, it can be pretty selfish to leave your loved ones to fight one another for a piece of your pie. Mourning does strange things to people.
This year I’ve revamped my retirement planning portfolio and I’m on track to retire without worry. Or less worry anyway.
That felt so good, I’m tackling the will.
Because you’re never too old to grow up.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]
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