Sunday, January 13, 2008

How to Get a Relative to Write a Will


Many people don’t like to think about wills because it reminds them that they will die someday. Fifty-five percent of adult Americans have no will according to a recent survey. But you can get a relative to write a will if you use a thoughtful approach.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You'll Need

  • Information about wills
  • Lawyer referrals from your relative’s trusted friends and family members
  • Belief that having a will is very important
  • Willingness to listen
  • Confidence



Step One

Get information about wills in your state.

Step Two

Contact your relative’s trusted friends and family members to get referrals to nearby lawyers who do good work.

Step Three

Call the lawyers to find out if they accept new clients, how much they charge to draw up wills, how soon they are available and if they have experience with clients who resist writing wills. Get a sense of how easy they are to work with.

Step Four

Write up the information about the lawyers in an easy-to-read format and print it out.

Step Five

Find a comfortable time and place to get together with your relative.

Step Six

Tell your relative how much you respect and value her contributions to the family.
Ask him to tell you about the things he’s most proud of in life. While she is talking, listen without interrupting. Be on the lookout for examples of when the relative made a decision, took a risk or thought about the future.

Step Seven

Mention the strongest of the examples. Explain why you think it was the right thing to do.

Step Eight

Say that the relative has a unique opportunity to do the right thing again by writing a will. The will makes sure that her assets will be distributed according to her own wishes. Tell him about the lawyers you’ve found who are available now, experienced and easy to talk to. Give her the printed information.

Step Nine

Ask if he has any questions. Write them down. Say that the lawyer she chooses will answer all of them. Say that he’ll have peace of mind knowing that this is taken care of.

Step Ten

Thank him for making a great decision that will benefit him and the whole family. Make sure that the will is stored in a secure location that the executor and family members can find when needed. Wills are often stored in safe deposit boxes with copies at lawyers’ offices.

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