Episode 11

Don't Leave Life Without It

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With today’s modern family, the will can be more complicated to approach than you think.  But everyone needs one to help the people left behind sort things out more easily.  Not too easily, mind you.  I personally want my family to be a little inconvenienced when I’m gone.  How have you tackled this sensitive issue? Tell me your stories.

Your stories

  1. Tales from a Hospice Nurse

    by Candace
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  1. Tales from a Hospice Nurse

    by Candace I am a Hospice Nurse. I work with people of all walks of life who have come to the end of their glorious journeys. By the time end of life care comes there is so much going on that typically there is very little time to worry about wills; if the person is even of mind to create or update a will. I have had grieving widow widowers have to figure out last minute what mortuary to use, burial vs cremation. Families tear apart about who gets what, does what, who pays what, etc. Who gets mom's prized cook book? Or dad's old box of tools? Or grandma's wedding ring? It matters. It may seem petty but when the time comes and all you have left is a memory and a material item you want to have a will. Please don't put your family through the struggle, stress and added grief of figuring out what to do with your things and finances. Lay it out for them. It is truly your last gift of love to them. That way they can focus on grieving their loss and loving one another and the person they just lost.
  2. We will never be close again

    by Mary Mom moved in with my family two years before she died. My sisters were so worried about losing mom's money, they wouldn't come to see her. Mom always said she wanted everything divided evenly. When she died, that is just what I did, I split everything evenly. But after two years of hearing about how I was going to steal her money, and being snubbed by other family members, I have a lot of hurt feelings. They have not apologized for anything. I have tried to forgive them, but I can't forget everything that was said and done. I miss my sisters, nieces, and nephews, but we will never be close again.
  3. We Did It!!!

    by Catherine He was married before, now it’s us. He has two kids; I have a niece that might as well be my daughter. As with the pre-nup, everything is as clear as it can be; sort of. The husband said it was a three way split; I reminded him that his share is X, mine is Y, and wondered why my part was going to his kids. A valid question he thought, so the will was set with my stuff going to my niece and his stuff going to his kids. Then life got messy, we started to share expenses, share property and now a new will, a third of everything to each. To make matters worse, down to the last piece of dust, there is a name assigned to it. After watching my older brother and sister argue over a music box in my father’s house after he died and knowing it was grief, because it was truly ugly, I made sure that nobody would ever fight over an orange afghan.
  4. Father Leaves Nothing

    by R. A friend of ours has three children, 2 boys and a girl. The two older boys (now in their 30's) hardly ever work. The girl (now in her 20's) listens to daddy and tries to work. She makes beautiful music on her violin, in fact gives lessons to make more money. The friend put together a will leaving nothing to his sons because they are constantly idle. The girl/woman must marry someone of their faith, otherwise the father will disinherit her as well. Why have children? Parents must learn to live with disappoints in their children. Not everything turns out to be wonderful, but that's not a reason to disinherit three children?
  5. Never saw a UHaul behind a herse...

    by Hope I'm 38 now but when I was 31 I did my will. Very easy.. husband gets it all except for a few things my son gets. If husband dies, my son gets it all. At this point, if my husband dies before me then all I got to do is change the name of the husband in the will! Lawyers make it complicated (no offence Judy) and the more stuff you aquire, the more they fight. I like the notion of 5,000 boxes with no labels...I might just change mine into a great scavenger hunt through safety deposit boxes with one note clues that leads to the next box and then end it all in true shawshank fashion and bury a little money in a box underneath a volcanic rock in corner of a field underneath a tree in the middle of nowhere. Ha!
  6. "Don't Die!" my husband said...

    by Jocelyn When my husband and I discovered that we were pregnant with our first child, we made the necessary arrangements to deliver at the nearby hospital. We were required to fill out several forms, one of which was a Will, defining who would make decisions in my place if I were to die from complications during my delivery. I filled out the forms and presented them to my husband to go over and sign. When I explained the Will, his face went pale and blank; he had never thought of the possibility that I could pass away. Before taking the forms to sign, my husband looked me straight in the eye and told me slowly, "Don't die!" I really think that talking about a will brought things into perspective for my husband. Months later, before we went into the hospital to deliver our son, he held my hand and warned me that if anything were to happen to me it would break his heart, and he asked me once again not to die. We are now working to create a more permanent postmortem plan to protect our family.
  7. Executor...who to trust?

    by Dani My in-laws named me and their son-in-law co-executors of their will. My father-in-law passed away, followed by my mother-in-law two years later. By then, my sister-in-law had divorced, and her ex was fine with me handling it alone. It was a difficult job; my mother-in-law had always had an "open door" way of life and also had a woman who was living with her. By the time I got to the house afterward, lots of stuff had disappeared. That was ok with my husband and his siblings. My biggest challenge was that my mother-in-law had promised to sell her house to a granddaughter for a ridiculously low price and that was NOT okay with my husband and the siblings. The granddaughter did finally buy the house at a very reasonable price but it put a strain on relationships (she doesn't speak to us, meaning my husband and me because I was the bad guy who had to give her the tough news.) I am named executor in 3 more wills that I know of, so I will have to go through this 3 more times!
  8. "snatching and grabbing"

    by Melissa While growing up, one of my mother's favorite topics of frequent criticism was the "snatching and grabbing" that she observed after (and sometimes before) a person's death. My mother passed away at 61, without a Will. Out of 6 children, there was only one sibling who engaged in such conduct, and belatedly (years later) shared very little (some pans and dishes). In fact, this sibling began living with my mother's husband, bragging to a sibling that she would "get it all." They lost several homes in the real estate bust, and now they only rent, having no equity, while the other siblings (minus one) own their homes. While I've helped my other siblings in times of their financial need, and am helping a sibling buy a home next year, and although I still love my "snatching and grabbing" sister, karma has rewarded her greed and selfishness.
  9. The Will that wasn't

    by M I am 62 and when I was younger my parents were wealthy. As the middle child of 5, all our friends said we were going to have a good inheritance. My father owned a business and some apartment units; 76 apartments in the largest unit. My brothers and I always worked at the house with a large yard and at the apartments. Cutting grass, raking leaves, painting, changing out storm windows & screens each season, shoveling snow ..it never ended. We got paid with promises of a large inheritance; my father's pledge. When my mother passed in 1991 my father remarried. Eventually, we got literally nothing. But we found out after he passed that my mother had a will and that we were suppose to share her $150,000 life insurance policy amongst the 5 children. My father never gave us the money from that will. I learned a long time ago that if you want anything in life then hard work is the answer. I am a successful businessman and I can assure you my family will have a substantial inheritance.
  10. I'm 21 and I have a will

    by Nickolas I'm 21 and I have a will. I really don't have much when it comes to money or anything of value but when I die, hopefully in 80 years, my loved ones will get something that I enjoyed in life and will look at it and it will put a smile on their face when they look at it. I guess that really the best anyone can hope for is that someone will remember them after they die.
  11. Leaving a little something behind

    by Deborah I agree with you about leaving my children a little inconvenienced when I die. I have a touch of OCD. I do not throw much away. I figure it will give them something to do when I pass other than fight. They may just find some good memories that they have forgotten.
  12. Please Fasten Your Seatbelts,Turn off all Portable

    by Chelsea After my husband and I had our first child, we instantly began making sure that we had "our ducks in a row". We met with insurance agents, financial planners, and discussed our options as to who would be the guardians of our children in the event that we passed. My in-laws are nice people. However, they are still "raising" their 30-year old convict son who has yet to leave the nest, or maintain steady employment. I know I would be rolling over in my grave before my children were raised in a household where this could be perceived as acceptable behavior. So, my husband and I finalized our will right before a trip to Disneyland! On the plane, I remembered I forgot to tell my mother where our freshly-minted will was. As the flight attendant did her final checks, I sent a text message to my mom, letting her know that I left a copy of our will in our son's diaper bag for her, just in case.
  13. Mom left me $1.00

    by Patricia I was one of four children from my mother's first marriage. She had one son in her 2nd marriage. So five of us in total. My sister and I took care of mom until her death because we loved her and that's what you should do out of love not for money. The other kids did not help at all. Mom left everything she had to her son. She gave each of us first born girls $1.00 each. My sisters are so mad they cannot get over it. Me, well my attitude and thoughts are... I will never be broke as long as I have my dollar, and who says that you are entitled to anything that belonged to someone else just because they were related to you?...work for your own stuff, don't spend your life waiting on someone else's belongings. There is life after their death, as long as you realize it's your life you should be living and working for you not someone else's left behinds!! Be careful, someone may be in the wings waiting for you to die to get your suff. HA HA HA Life is short. Enjoy what you have.
  14. My Father's Will

    by R. There are two children in our family, myself and my younger sister. My parents agreed to make my sister the executor of their Will. After my Mother's death, my sister convinced my Father to add her to his checking and savings account to help him with writing checks should he become ill. She "promised" my Father that she would split the money with me after my Father's passing. I tried to explain to my Father that "promises" do not hold up in a court of law and she was under no legal obligation to give me any of the money in the joint checking and savings account because it would become all hers and not the estate. As soon as my Father passed away, my sister had me sign a waiver where she was not required to file an accounting. Fortunately, I caught onto it early and hired a lawyer. My sister tried to close out the estate without any account (per court order) or giving me any part of the estate. I am still waiting for my share of the estate.
  15. Poetic Justice! My Grandmother's Story

    by D. Grandma married very young (14 yrs old) and had 4 children with my grandfather, my mom being the youngest. He left her and the kids and disappeared for 15 years. He reappeared when my mom was 15 but took off not to be heard from again until when my mom was in her late 40s. Mom and everybody else including grandma learned that he had a second family in another town and had several children with his "girlfriend". He also had some property and he owned a successful resturant in that town. Mom met her 1/2 sister/brothers. Anyway, fast forward another 15 years my mom's father died WITHOUT A WILL!! Ok, what I did not tell you is GRANDMA AND GRANDPA NEVER DIVORCED!! So in the eyes of the state we live in, grandma was his wife and you guessed it..she got it all!!! Talk about poetic jusice.
  16. Taking care of business...

    by Colleen Yes, my husband and I although we are only in our early 40s we have taken care of all nessary arrangements (will). I wanted to tell you you look really nice! Love the color suit you had one for this week! Such a lovely, educated, beautiful woman! I truly enjoy watching your show. Thank you!
  17. Do It Now!

    by Daci Judging from what happens in the rest of the family following the demise of a loved one: you better run for a foxhole because WWIII will break out! It doesn't matter how close you thought family members might be or how little the deceased may leave, you can bet someone will be unhappy! I am working on giving items of sentimental value to the people I want to be sure receive them, I am 73 now and I know the sand in the hourglass is running out for me. And I also want to see their enjoyment when I give a 'treasure' to someone I love and care about. Other than that the least you can do is write out a holographic will, sign and date it. I'm not a lawyer and laws regarding holographic wills could vary from state to state so you might want to check on that. But that's my advice: give what you care about to those you care about and cover everything else in a hand written will. And don't forget to leave enough money so your family, loved and unloved can have a big party!
  18. Families!!!!

    by A. I have 3 brothers all younger than me. My parents divorced when I was 8 and we lived with my father and grandmother. I had to grow up fast to help look after the family. When my father died, he left a will leaving everything to two of my brothers (whose parentage is questionable as my mother allegedly had numerous affairs). The two brothers contacted myself and the other brother saying they felt the will was unfair and they would split everything four ways. Needless to say, we are still waiting nearly 20 years later!
  19. My Father's Will

    by R. There are 2 children in our family, myself and my younger sister. My parents agreed to make my sister the executor of their Will. After my Mother's death, my sister convinced my Father to add her to his checking and savings account to help her with writing checks should he become ill. She "promised" my Father that she would split the money with me after my Father's passing. I tried to explain to my Father that "promises" do not hold up in a court of law and she was under no legal obligation to give me any of the money in the joint checking and savings account because it would become all hers and not the estate. As soon as my Father passed away, my sister had me sign a waiver where she was not required to file an accounting. Fortunately, I caught onto it early and hired a lawyer. My sister tried to close out the estate without any account (per court order) or giving me any part of the estate. I am still waiting for my share of the estate. I am a huge fan of Judge Judy!
  20. Texas - Don't Die without a Will!

    by Jean In Texas, an Intestate decedent's property will go to any children first, then their spouse, then their parents, then their siblings. The only thing that saves most spouses when there is no will is that they automatically are entitled to a life estate in the marital homestead ... assuming that someone continues to pay the mortgage and taxes! It is amazing to see the number of estate fights, even when there is no real property involved since all personal and separate property then goes to the children first. In this day of divorce and blended families, this can make for a real mess with lots of hurt feelings and splits in the family for generations to come. Imagine a spouse living in a home that is the SEPARATE property of the deceased - it ALL goes to the kids without a Will in place!
  21. An easy way to draw up a will!

    by Sharon My husband and I made our wills when our kids were small. We did it ourselves with a Suze Orman dvd. This dvd is so easy to use. You answer questions and it guides you along and helps you make the right type of will for you, and your family. Then you and your spouse take it to be notarized, and your good to go, and the best part.....it cost under 60.00!
  22. Don't tell people you've put them in your will.

    by Ella Did you ever imprint your initials in cement? One particular day in the 1990's, I was walking down the street and my uncle was walking up the street to visit my parents and he remarks "You are in my will". Oh, was I vexed, and felt uncomfortable. You should leave a will and let it go. Why in the world would he say that? I wish he would of just been my uncle. My field trip to the Register of Wills was quite interesting. All you do is input the departed names and up comes all kinds of information. I held the wills of many people in my hands. Please don't share that information while you are still living and he is still living. We never had an uncle and niece fellowshipping.
  23. A Stubborn Father

    by Ronda My father once made a fool of himself and left my mother so angry and hurt, she left the lawyer's office in tears. My mother had approched my father about having a will prepared for the two of them. The appointment was set and the two of them sat down with the lawer to have the will drawn up. When ask about the allocations my father told the lawer he wanted to only leave my stepbrother $1.00, and stipulate that my mother was to never remarry in his demise. When the lawer told my father that "We don't do that type of things in wills anymore," my father stormed out and never had a will put in to place. When he passed away, it took my mother and us  four years to probate his estate. Just because of a stubborn father.
  24. Jumping The Gun...

    by Richard Dear Judy Team, I am a huge fan and relating a horror story my mom told me. My mother's next door neighbor didn't want to wait to give her house to her son in a will. So after he got married, she gave the house to him as a gift, confident he would keep her comfortably in the house until she passed away. Tragically, the son passed away first and it was then she discovered her daughter-in-law didn't particularly like her. Mom was put in the street, kicked out of the house she'd spent her life scrimping to pay for. I feel if she'd simply had the house go to her son in the will, this well-intioned backfire would not have destroyed her life. Thanks for so many years of great entertainment.
  25. Will I or Will I not...

    by Viiola Of course everyone should have a legalized Will. I finally got around to it and its not so hard as one might think. Prior to drawing up the Will, I made efforts to also clean up my earthly belongings. i.e consolidating bank accounts, disposing of unnecessary material goods, etc. My sister is a hoarder and living on the financial edge so we dread the thought of her demise not only for us siblings, but for her children who live out of province. Good grief!
  26. Nieces and nephews

    by Nan I am in my 60's with no spouse and no children. I have a will and have divided everything equally between my fifteen neices and nephews. As I get older, I will see who visits, calls or cares and narrow the list accordingly. Now they are in their 20's and 30's and very self involved. Time will tell. I am very cautious so there will be no mess for them to clean up. I can only hope I am not forgotten. Nan

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