Wednesday, April 6, 2011

#99 - Where There's a Will, There's a Way - Into Madness

". . . nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes." - Benjamin Franklin
"And when I die, and when I'm gone / There'll be one child born in this world to carry on, to carry on." - Laura Nyro (sung by Blood, Sweat and Tears)

For several years now we've talked about writing our wills and getting our estate in order so as to provide for our son when we're gone. For most of that time, talk is all it's been. Until recently, that is.

A little over a month ago, we finally met with a lawyer to get the ball rolling on getting a will in place along with powers of attorney, living wills, and so on. We completed the first phase of that process and have draft documents in hand. Now the real fun begins,

The draft documents we have have several areas where more specific information is needed. Burial or cremation? Open or closed casket? Where should your obituary be published? It's a slow death just getting the paperwork ready so that you are prepared when you actually do die.

And the need for specific information goes on. Who should be your trustee should your original choice resign, die, or otherwise not be able to carry out the duties assigned? What music do you want played at any service? (For the record, I want Elvis Costello's "The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes" to begin things, and I want to close with Barber's "Adagio for Strings".) Who do you want as your pallbearers? I don't know; who wants to carry an urn.

If there are specific bequests I want to make aside from the disposal of my estate (at least I sound well-to-do), I need to list them. If there are specific things I want to buried with, I must list those as well.

You get the idea. It's an important task, but it seems like minutiae on top of minutiae. No wonder we put it off for so long. I no longer feel guilty about that, if I ever did. It's important, but it's painful in much the same way having bamboo shoots placed under your fingernails is painful. Perhaps wills and such documents are the revenge of lawyers for having to go to school for so long.

But I suppose we can't turn back now. After all, we have a special needs child to plan for, which I guess makes it all worthwhile. So, this weekend, I guess I'll be doing a little heavy lifting and some less than light reading. As they say, no pain, no gain.

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