Yesterday I stepped into the parallel (some would say alternate) universe known as probate court. A friend of mine had a hearing in Dallas and asked if I would cover for him. It was a simple matter, one attorney was withdrawing from the case and I just needed to stand up and say we had no objection.
While waiting for our case to be called I sat and listened as the court held hearings in a handful of other probate matters and I was struck by the expense these folks fighting over their relatives' estates must be running up while arguing about who got what.
So, if you've got kids, and you don't have a will, please find an attorney who can draft one for you. If you have little kids, be sure to designate a guardian should your kids find themselves without a parent. If you've got children from more than one marriage, make sure each of the kids is named in the will and that your estate is divided correctly. Make certain that any trusts that need to be set up either are set up as living trusts now or are created in your will.
While it may cost a few dollars to draft the necessary documents, it'll be a lot cheaper to spend the money now and get it right than letting the family wait until after you've died to figure it out.