The Importance of Wills

will and trust

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Ann Landers

Two letters to people to get prepared about wills and their estate that were sent to Ann Landers: 

Dear Ann Landers:

I know you often receive letters describing family arguments after a death and thought you might appreciate hearing how one dear lady prevented this in her own family.  Attached to my mother's will 
was a handwritten note.  I hope you will print it in memory of a great lady. 

I am - Her Grateful Son.

"Dear children:

As you prepare to go about settling my estate, I hope you will avoid the squabbling that so many families experience in conducting such affairs

My will stipulates that everything is to be divided equally among you, but when it comes to family heirlooms such division is impossible.  Following is a list of the heirlooms and the name of the person who should receive each item.

I have tried to be fair and take into consideration which items each of you would most appreciate.  I ask that you not consider yourselves as the owners of these pieces, but merely the custodians.  They belong to the family and you are the stewards who must keep them for the next generations.

Now I pray that you will remember the words of our Lord and love one another as I have loved you - Mom"

Dear Grateful Son:

What a wise and wonderful mother you had!  I hope you all live up to her expectations.  Some cogent words of Benjamin Franklin comes to mind.  "If you want to know the true measure of people, watch the way they handle an inheritance."

Here's another one for parents to consider:

Dear Ann Landers:

`My father died without a will so his entire estate went to my stepmother.  This woman, who was almost a stranger to me, ended up being the sole beneficiary of all his assets two months after their wedding.  She had a child of her own, so this boy is now heir to my father's estate.

I can't for the life of me understand why I was left absolutely nothing.  I was still a minor when I lost him, and he had no way of knowing whether I would be able to go to college if he died.  How could he be so irresponsible as not to leave a will?

He had resources to leave something to me and also provide quite well for his wife and stepchild.  The fact that he didn't think to look out for me is devastating.  I'll never get over it.  Heartsick in Kentucky.

Dear Kentucky:

How sad.  But perhaps you will find solace in knowing your letter is going to remind millions of parents to write a will NOW.