ó Eighty-six-year-old Norman Clark saved up a tidy sum
during his career as an independent plumber before he
retired following a stint as chief plumbing inspector
for Allegheny County in the Pittsburgh region, and heís
not about to be like some people he has heard about who
die without a will.
a responsible thing to do," the he said. "At
my age, youíd be crazy not to have a will. Younger
people die without a will and itís a big mess."
mainly wants to make sure his wife, Sarah, 87, who has
Alzheimerís disease, is cared for the rest of her life
from the income earned by his investments. If his wife
dies before him, Clark has a plan for distributing his
assets that will minimize the chance of family squabbles
over his estate, which he estimates is worth $3 million.
will be the fourth time he has revised his will since he
was about 35 years old. This time around, he is
readjusting the percentages that relatives will receive.
Some who have gained more financial success will receive
a lesser percentage and others will receive higher
percentages, he said.
oneís own demise is not what many people would
consider a fun activity.
the time and energy spent writing a will ó regardless
of how young or how broke the person may be ó means
being able to choose what eventually happens to
financial assets and personal items. It also could make
the difference between war and peace among surviving
family members, not to mention avoiding having sizable
chunks of the estate eaten up by legal fees.
the rock musician Prince died earlier this year from an
accidental overdose, it provided a cautionary tale for
what it means to die without having a valid last will
death in April at age 57 left an estate estimated at
$300 million, More than two dozen potential heirs came
out of the woodwork to claim a slice of the fortune.
After months of legal wrangling, the judge in the case
has narrowed the number to eight ó six of whom must go
through genetic testing to prove they are children of
the musicianís deceased father.
think they will live longer than they end up
living," said E. David Margolis, a trusts and
estates attorney at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in
Pittsburgh. "A will is something that is easily put
off and unfortunately it can be put off until the person
people have to make very tough decisions, and they are
prone to put off making those decisions."
2012 survey by RocketLawyer.com, a legal services
website, found 50 percent of Americans with children do
not have a will. The top three reasons were
procrastination, a belief they donít need one and
Allianz Life found in its 2012 American Legacies study
that 53 percent of people in their survey who were older
than 72 placed a high value on minimizing conflict
between family members when they set about planning a
successful transfer of inheritance. More than a third
ó 38 percent ó of elders said making sure their
wishes were fully carried out was important.
virtue of their age and getting closer to the end of
their longevity, passing away is more on their
minds," said Katie Libbe, vice president of
consumer insights at Allianz. "They want to make
sure specific personal items go to people who are
important to them, and they want to make sure their
decisions donít cause conflict for their children or