18 / -9
      30 / 18
      26 / 14

      When writing a will is a good idea

      Writing a will lets others know how you want your assets to be transferred to loved ones or charitable organizations after your death.

      And It's widely misunderstood that writing a will should be something you do when you get older.

      But there are many other deciding factors that help determine when someone should write a will.

      "She kind of had to talk me into it. 'Well, we really need one.' So I thought about the girls. You know I thought about our children. They have to have, there has to be something if both of us disappear all at one time.That there has to be some way to care for them," said Cecil Marjaniemi.

      "It gives a stable foundation for your children. So that's the main, heartfelt thing that I was feeling when I was considering a will," said Gayle Marjaniemi.

      Gayle and Cecil Marjaniemi had children later in life, after they became established in their careers.

      Once they had their two girls, Clarice and Janelle, they knew they had to ensure the girls would be taken care of if something ever happened.

      So they created a will and estate plan in 1998.

      "If there are assets that need to be transferred after death, unless there's some sort of designation in place, like a transfer on death or a joint ownership of some sort, those assets need to go through probate court if all that's in place is a will directing where the assets go," said Scott Brogan, Senior Associate Attorney at Anderson & Associates.

      Brogan also says though a will is very good to have, it's only one part of what should be in place before you pass.

      He says having a total estate plan, whether you are wealthy or not, is a good idea.

      That way, you can avoid probate court for your relatives.

      Brogan says a living trust is an easy way to eliminate probate court.

      "The difference with a living trust is the living trust actually owns the assets during that peron's life. So when that person passes away, their successor trustee has control of the trust, and control of the assets, and the assets do not need to go through probate court,' said Brogan.

      Cecil and Gayle say they spelled out in their will and estate plan exactly how they wanted their girls to be raised, and by whom, if they were to pass.

      The Marjaniemi girls are now in their twenties, so Gayle and Cecil are talking about updating their will and estate plan.

      They are also thinking about making some new arrangements, just in case.

      The other thing is that we talked about recently is actually organizing our funerals so that they would be a testimony of our lives. A legacy," said Gayle.

      Brogan said one of the biggest mistakes people can make is to start planning their will and estate plan too late in life.

      He suggests to get started on a will if you have any major life change, such as a marriage, children, or an accumulation of wealth.

      Brogan says he strongly recommends devising a complete estate plan to anyone, saying it is less expensive than probate court for your relatives in the long run.