I had been talking about getting a will together for several years now. With one, possibly two, minor children in our care, having some kind of will or trust was very important.
The doing of it stumped me, though, how could I make sure my wishes were carried out? How could I ensure that my daughter would have a safe home to go to, and that whatever real estate we had was cared for until she came of age and inherited it?
We knew who we didn’t want as a guardian, and who it would be too much of a burden to ask, and I built it up in my mind as harder than it had to be. In the end, it was ridiculously simple. So much so that I wish I had done it years ago.
Did you know that only 36% of Americans with minor children have wills? In fact, even the older Baby Boomer generation is seriously lacking when it comes to wills. Only 58% of them have wills.
Without a will, any property you own goes into probate and your heirs stand to lose a solid chunk of that. You might not think you have a lot, but if you own a home, even if you haven’t paid off the mortgage yet, you have a net worth that’s worth preserving and passing on.
I keep track of every transaction, every savings account, every debt through Quicken. I was dumbfounded to see what we are worth on paper… thanks to owning four homes. Once both of the Cottages are fixed up, we will be worth around $365k. Most of it might be sunk into these buildings, but as the years progress, that number will increase.
We settled on a living trust, which will grow with us as the years pass. It establishes the trust, names executors and guardians, and clearly lays out who inherits. An added bonus is that the lawyer worded it so that if we end up adopting our foster daughter, she will automatically become an heir with her sister.
Even my books, which my heirs retain the rights to until 70 years after my death, are included in this trust. We didn’t have to state who gets what, it will simply go to my daughter, to be disbursed on her 22nd and 30th birthdays in 50% increments. And if we adopt our daughter than of course she will receive an equal share.
Any property we purchase from here on out becomes a simple act of copying the verbiage on the other deeds, and filing it as transferable on death into the trust. Which means we can sell or buy new property any time, as long as we record the properties as transferable on death to the trust, nothing else needs to be done.
It cost us a total of $1400 and I highly recommend it for simple peace of mind. It was worth every penny!