Saturday, November 26, 2022

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Make-a-Will Month: End-of-Life 'Road Map' for Families, Friends

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Thursday, August 25, 2022   

August is National National Make-a-Will Month, highlighting how important it is for everyone to make sure their affairs are in order when they pass on.

Conversations about death are difficult, but experts emphasized if people do not have a plan for their estate, it can make life more difficult for their relatives and friends.

Wendy Miki Glaus, elder law and estate planning attorney in Bend, explained the value of planning.

"A will would show your intent as far as how you want your assets to be distributed," Miki Glaus pointed out. "I think it gives people, like, a road map."

About two-thirds of people don't have a legal will in place. Miki Glaus said most people in Oregon prefer to create a trust in order to avoid having their estate tied up in court and assets frozen in probate.

She also advised people to consider documents such as advance health care directives, which designates a person to make health decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

Sam Young, senior director of legacy and planned giving for Compassion & Choices, said there is a misconception wills are only necessary for rich people. He contended everyone needs a plan.

"Part of the problem is just what I call the psychological dynamics of doing this and planning," Young observed. "It's just getting started. Another myth out there is that this is complicated or hard or this is going to be expensive or that you need an attorney."

There are inexpensive ways to get started without hiring an attorney. The website FreeWill.com will help you list your assets and final wishes, with a 20-minute survey. The document can then be printed, signed and notarized.

Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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