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How We See It

Craig Chaikin

Craig Chaikin

February 3, 2012

What is a Will and Who Needs One?
By: Craig Chaikin, Vice President & Trust Officer

When you hear the word “Will” or the term “Estate Plan,” what do you think of? I know that before I worked in the trust business, my mind conjured up visions of some distant relative passing away and leaving vast sums of money to the family. (Unfortunately, to date, no distant relative has left me so much as a dime, but there’s still hope...) As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve found that Wills are not just for rich people. Everyone who has a job and/or a family could benefit from preparing a Will. I’m sure not everyone thinks they need one, however, through a Will, you get to choose who gets your “stuff” when you die. If no such document exists, a judge may get to decide for you.

Through a Will, you can give instructions and make bequests from beyond the grave. In my case, I have minor children. Part of my Will dictates who gets custody of the children in the event my wife and I both pass away. My children are my most valuable asset. I want to make sure they are taken care of.

Wills also provide for division of property and serve as a conduit to create trusts to provide for loved ones into the future. Wills are for anyone who has something (or some things) that they wish to pass along to those whom they leave behind. There are those folks who don’t want to prepare a Will due to the expense. I can guarantee that many of you reading this don’t have a Will in place yourselves. You would not be alone. At the time of their deaths, Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Garfield, and Andrew Johnson had no Will. Neither did Pablo Picasso, and he was worth around $260 million when he died. If someone dies without a Will and the Courts need to get involved, then money will be spent after the fact.

I would urge everyone to spend some time and money now and be confident that your families are taken care of…It will give them, and you, one less thing to worry about.


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