A recent AARP survey found that roughly 40 percent of baby boomers have yet to draw up a will. Procrastination, lack of incentive and expense are found as the top excuses, but not thinking about your "end-of-life plan" can really cost your loved ones. That's today's Angie's List.
Susan Elser plans finances for people while they live. She tries to do the same for when they die. If you die without a will, your assets go to your spouse if you have established joint ownership. Any asset not jointly owned - like a car or a piece of jewelry - could cause lengthy and stressful legal battles. Elser said this is also the time to create a health care directive should a medical crisis leave you unable to communicate.
Elser said it's important for your family to know what you prefer for your end-of-life-care, "Would you want to be artificially sustained through nutrition and a respirator? It's very important to make that decision yourself, so you're not leaving that burden to a family member to make."
Angie Hicks, Angie's List Founder said it's important to remember also that it doesn't matter what your financial situation is, "You don't need to be wealthy to need a will. Everyone should consider one because it will help just make distribution of your things - even the sentimental items - easier and alleviate stress and fighting in your family."
Angie says to expect to pay at least $1,500 for even the most basic estate planning services, but to make sure you understand all the fees up front.
She says to double-check your life insurance and retirement account beneficiaries too, because those will supersede whatever is written in your will.