Death Series Part 1 - Wills
Hello grandbabies! It is time, at long last, to talk about my favorite topic: death! Here is the first of a three-part series about the grand finale we all ultimately face. This first part is about wills, followed by a discussion of eulogies, and concluding with a piece detailing what I believe the afterlife is all about.
For the uninformed, a will is a legal document used to stipulate to whom all of your worldly assets go upon your final demise. Not having a will and dying anyway can create many problems for your family. This is called dying “intestate,” which sounds like a GI disease, but I assure you, it can be way worse. The specifics of what exactly happens depends on two things: the state of which you are a resident and the state in which you die. For the most part, though, dying without a will means your estate is given to your heirs: a surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, and really anyone else the state can find. If they cannot find anyone, they keep it all, which just feels like they’re kicking you when you’re down.
If my family will inherit everything anyway, why should I bother with a will?
There are many reasons to get a will: it forces you to organize your assets and think about exactly who you want to get what and how much, it is a great way to snub a sibling in a final, soul-crushing manner that they’ll never be able to top, and it’s an excellent means for stating once and for all that you never really loved your children equally and that’s why Sally will inherit more than the others. The reality is, you won’t be around to dictate where things go and therefore without a will, you can’t guarantee that half your assets go to your secret second family in Canada unless you whisper it on your death bed as you take your final gasp, and who has the time for that?
How do I get a will?
There are lots of different ways to get a will. Here I’ve gathered a roundup of the main ways to get it done:
FreeWill.com – As it sounds, FreeWill is a free internet platform for creating a simple will. The catch is they strongly nudge you in the direction of leaving money to charitable organizations (tax break!) so if being generous is your thing and you don’t have an overly-complicated estate, this might be the tool for you!
TrustandWill.com – Like FreeWill but one step up, Trust and Will is not free but not expensive, allows for a bit more customization than FreeWill, and offers additional services such as trust planning. Not sure what at trust is either? Probably skip this option.
Get a lawyer – As a grandma with many years under my belt, I can assure you this method has been used for many, many years. Most people choose this option, because most people want a legal professional to look over the document that will outlive us all! That said, lawyers cost mucho Robert dinero and should be sought only if your estate is mucho large.
Do the Aretha Franklin – Handwrite your wishes on a piece of paper and stick it under a couch cushion. Don’t tell anyone. Die. Let the scavenger hunt begin!
What should I write in my will?
As previously mentioned, the majority of a will is about leaving your possessions and assets to others. As such, here’s a breakdown of some popular will bequeaths:
Leave it all to your spouse: Grandpa is a bit older than I am, so in all likelihood he’ll be the first to go, meaning this isn’t a viable option for me. That said, it’s a romantic gesture and as someone older than you, I can assure you, you are never too old to offer a romantic gesture.
Leave it all to your children: They’ve ruined your full nights of sleep, spent all your money at the local roller rink, and still expect a birthday gift every year but sure, leave it to them.
Leave it all to your grandchildren: Probably the most brilliant of ideas, bypass your ungrateful kids who do nothing but suckle at your never-ending teat and leave everything to their children who, in all likelihood, are more grounded than their parents.
Leave it all to your cat: In a classic case of life-imitates-art, Karl Lagerfeld left much of his $195 million fortune to his cat, Choupette, and one can only assume he came to this idea after watching the Disney classic The Aristocats. I personally plan to leave my walker, my Life Alert®, and my vast collection of doilies to my pup, Moses.
Now that you know what a will is, where to get one, and what to put in it, you’re ready to go forth and get willing! As a reminder, stay tuned for part two of this series coming soon: Eulogies!