Berman & Asbel, LLP

Lack of a Will Can Leave a Family Torn By Grief, Anger and Guilt

Life is rarely simple and clean. Grief and loss can mix with anger and guilt after a loved one dies.

An elderly man died not long ago from an aggressive form of cancer. His family members "miss him so badly," yet are also "angry at him." They are angry because he left without a will or trust. And they feel guilty about their anger with someone they love and miss dearly.

A daughter of the deceased wrote to an estate planning attorney who pens a column for a newspaper far from us in Philadelphia. She writes to the North Carolina paper that "we are just going crazy trying to locate deeds to property, insurance policies, bank accounts and so on."

They had urged their father to address the matters after his initial diagnosis, but he had refused to discuss the possibility of death.

The daughter concluded her letter to the lawyer with a sensible request: "You could do a public service by writing about the need to plan so that your loved ones are not left in such a horrible situation."

The attorney wrote that the woman's letter "beautifully stated the way so many families in this situation feel."

He added that it's understandable that people are reluctant to talk about illness and death and that, in his experience, people fall into one of several groups:

· Well-meaning people who think about writing a will, but wind up doing nothing at all regarding estate planning.

· Those who never think about estate planning.

· Those who know they should do something, but they're unsure of what to do and how to go about it. For whatever reason, this group fails to contact an estate planning attorney to talk about their options.

· Finally, there are the "doers": the people who spare their families additional heartache by planning for the inevitable.

The Philadelphia law firm of Berman & Asbel, LLP, can walk you through the process, your options and the benefits of estate planning.

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