Ask Terry Questions Do we really need a will?

Do we really need a will?

By Terry Savage on July 13, 2019 | Wild Card

My husband has cancer and hopefully has about two years. Our home is in both our names and he only has a 401 in which I am the beneficiary. Do we need a will? I don’t think he can get to a lawyer office at this point. Thank you. We see you on WGN all the time.

Terry Says

If those are truly your only assets — and if your house is titled “joint name with rights of survivorship” — then you technically don’t need a will.   Just double-check the title, and the beneficiary designation on the 40l(k), which was probably made years ago.  BUT you should have both a Healthcare Power of Attorney so you can make decisions if he cannot, and also a Living Will (the “pull the plug” document that details his wishes about end-of-life aggressive care).

The organized part of me, would still feel better if you had a will — even a simple one, to avoid family fights  — especially if you have adult children.  Technically, if he doesn’t have a will, they might have an “interest” in a portion of his “estate” — whether that is furniture, artwork, artifacts, etc.  It would be so much easier if a simple will left everything to you.   Are you in the Chicago area?  I know of a few firms that may be able to do most of the work over the phone, and come to him at home for the appropriate signatures and witnessing of the document.   Send me an email — for more info.



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