“They” say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But those gut punches can certainly send you to your knees for a time. I daresay we’ve all experienced it.
But we somehow manage to pull ourselves back up to our feet, often with a lot of creaking and groaning, an assist from those we depend on for emotional support, and—in my case for sure—a lot of choice four-letter words. But rise, we do. A little worse for the wear but also a little stronger. Or maybe just a little numb to the pain? Either way, we carry on.
Which brings me to the point of today’s blog. It’s a public service announcement more than anything else, since I’ve recently and poignantly experienced what-not-to-do lessons where our own deaths are concerned: have a will.
Wow, those three little words don’t seem very impactful. It’s a bit of a Duh statement, isn’t it? But I’ll say it again: HAVE A WILL! Not just a legal document about what to do with the major things, but also include the little things. DO NOT assume those left living will abide by your not-legally-binding, spoken, conveyed in passing to a friend, or even jotted on a drink napkin wishes. They might. But unless you’ve legally bound the distribution of your stuff, they might not.
Even for those of us who think we have nothing of value to distribute… surely you have something, even if it is “only” of sentimental value to you. Writers, we have our business and our future royalties to take into consideration. Great Aunt Martha’s cheap costume jewelry. Pictures. Clothing. Dishes.
Do not leave it up the people you leave behind to decide how to disperse your estate, however small you think it might be. Firstly, those people are grieving for you. Do them a favor and don’t add to the emotional turmoil. Secondly, people can get ugly when there is money (or even “things”) involved… Haven’t we all seen, heard about, or experienced such a harsh twist of human nature? Thirdly, if you believe at all in some manner of the afterlife, how angry would you be if your (insert cherished item) ended up in the hands of that person?
Please please please. Have a will. Hire a lawyer to craft one. Go online and download a template. Get that bar napkin witnessed and notarized. Whatever it takes and in whatever format your state will accept. No one wants to contemplate their own demise or deal with the morose reality that life is fragile. We all want to believe we’ll live to see a grand old age and that accidents happen to other people. Personally, I don’t like to tempt Fate because I believe she can be an underhanded little tart when you throw down gauntlets.
Any thoughts or lessons-learned-the-hard-way on the matter?