During these scary and uncertain times, the thought of being separated from our parents breeds anxiety and fear in most of us.  The possibility of losing a parent is the worse thing we could ever imagine.

That’s what I thought until reality hit me after my Mom was killed in a fire several years ago.  It never occurred to me the hell that became a reality when the wrong people became executors of her estate.

I once believed blood was thicker than water, ‘boy, was I wrong!  When it came to my family, screwing me out of my rightful inheritance became a blood sport (and my Mom HAD a will).

Little did I know that most people in our country do NOT have a will, estimates speculate as high as 80% – and of the 20% remaining, 10% are outdated.

It’s frightening to think that only one person in 10 has protected his /or her family and assets with an up to date will.

What I learned was it’s more about the money or assets your parent may have, it’s more about the family disharmony when the parent’s specific written wishes are ignored, squandered or stolen not only by family members, but quite often by unscrupulous attorneys, estate planners, or CPAs.

I believe having an up to date will (or trust) is the most unselfish thing you could do for your family, especially where small children are involved.

Looking back, the primary reason my beloved Mother’s assets never reached her own daughter was because of the executor appointed by the courts, who came to believe that he (alone) was heir to our Mom’s estate.

I learned the standards for choosing an executor are extremely low.

As in my case, the fact that a despotic alcoholic who owed my Mother millions of dollars in documented loans meant nothing to the judge.

No one enjoys looking at end of life issues.  None of us want to face death because we all fear it.  But it’s selfish not having a (legal) will.  Those people we cherish the most would want their things to go to those they loved the most.

I wanted to share my thoughts with you because no son or daughter, loved by their parents, should ever be denied their rightful inheritance.

Susan Sparrow