Sunday, March 21, 2010
Will You Do It Too?
We used an attorney here in Houston that I can certainly recommend to you. She was very thorough and patient as we discussed how we would go about dispersing our estates. I am so indecisive and she even worked through that with me. Her name is Mary Beth Cameron and you can contact her here. She can actually do all kinds of lawyering stuff so if you need something else, call her for that too.
We did something kind of fun with our wills. Instead of just only giving money to family members, we will also each be setting up two scholarship funds, one for the children in our families and one for our high schools. We both strongly believe in education and thought it was a great way to keep a legacy of that belief going.
My scholarship trust for my high school will be for a student who was just like me, enthusiastic and active, made good grades but wasn't the top top student and didn't qualify for financial aid. There are so many worthy students who are in the middle area and that is who I want to help. Eventually we will set up this scholarship fund while we are still alive so we can have fun picking the student too. Gustavo is setting one up for his high school in Puerto Rico, a specialized boarding school for future engineers called CROEM.
Maybe you have something that you strongly believe in and want to help with too. If you do, it's not as complicated as it sounds. You don't have to set it up now so there's nothing to do really except put it in your will and appoint the trustees. When you die a "springing trust" will be created and you have already named the trustees in your will. You have to pick three people in case some of those people are already gone. Wouldn't it be fun to have a scholarship named after you in your high school? I seriously thought about only giving it for students who want to study abroad since I had a hard time paying for my study abroad programs. (I went to Spain and Wales.) Why not pick someone who was just like you and play favorites like I did?
If you haven't done your will yet, just make an appointment and do it. It won't be fun and I'm not even sure you will feel better after all these thoughts about dying, but it is a necessary evil. If you have children, you especially need to think about who will raise your children by appointing a guardian. Depending on your state there are different consequences to not having a will. There may be financial consequences or it will just be harder on your spouse or family. Believe me, when there is a death you have enough paper work to deal with without having to fight the court. I learned that having a will written partly in ink and partly typed is not valid in places. There are actually a lot of rules and if you are going through the trouble to make one, make sure you find out from an attorney if it will be valid. The kits at Office Depot for $20 are probably not be worth it.
I bet you are all ahead of me and took care of this already. Who has a will and did you do something special in it? Did you know that you aren't allowed to leave money to your dog? Are you like me, and avoided it like the plague? Does it creep you out to think about people going through your stuff? What better reason to go clean out your closet right now!
Picture from here.