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Is a will part of your bucket list?

According to a veteran certified public accountant, only around 40 percent of adults in the U.S. have a will. He attributes the lack of wills among individuals to a desire not to contemplate end-of-life or mortality. Oklahoma residents may appreciate, however, why the CPA believes a will is the most important thing that anyone could ever add to a bucket list. A bucket list is a collection of things to do before you die.

According to the CPA, without a will, the state will divide your assets according to its own rules. Those rules will not take into account your wishes and desires for your heirs or legacy. Although most states don't require a professionally written will, the CPA encourages seeking professional help with your will. He says that wills are often contested, and a well-organized, legally solid will removes estate administration woes from your heirs.

The CPA highlights four specific sections of wills. The estate section covers what is to be done with everything you own, including money, property, heirlooms and investments. In most cases, you can divide your assets as you see fit. This section is slightly different from the gifts section, where you can gift people or organizations with certain items or amounts of money.

For most people, the first part of a will covers who will be the executor. The executor is the person that is responsible for ensuring the actions listed in the will are carried out. Since it's possible your first choice for executor will not be around or available, it's a good idea to provide several options.

A fourth item covered in many wills is known as guardianship. If you die while your children are still minors, the appointed guardian or guardians will care for them. Without this section, the state will appoint a guardian, which may not be the person you would choose. With the lives of your children and your own financial and personal legacy at stake, perhaps creating a will should be item number one on any bucket list.

Source: Sugar Land Sun News, "Your will: The overlooked bucket-list item" Jeff Gorton, Dec. 23, 2013

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