This semester I’m taking Wills & Trusts, so it’s a natural by-product that I’ve got death on my mind. People generally don’t like the reminder of their mortality, but anyone with a date of birth will ultimately have a date of death. Pablo Neruda famously mused about the amount of time a person spends dying, and if the legal system is brought into play, it can take several years for one’s worldly possessions to be dispersed if things are not done properly.
There are many excuses for putting off will planning, but the reality is that unless things are done just-so, whatever you may want may not be respected. We may make assumptions about how our items would be dispersed based on what we believe is common sense, but common sense isn’t at all that common. If you have someone or something you care about and you want to ensure your assets are allocated as you wish them to be, you should hurry over and find yourself a good attorney to set things up for you beforehand.
It’s shocking and saddening for me to see how something like a missing signature is enough to throw carefully made plans into disarray. In this day and age where there’s information at our fingertips, there’s no excuse to be uniformed about the realities of what will happen when one passes away. Yes, the law has defaults, but given how much people care about customization, it’s unlikely that the default will be what you want.
I feel like I’m on a soapbox, but anyone in possession of any physical thing should have a will. Your loved ones will be saddened enough by your demise, it would be devastating to add to their suffering because you didn’t prepare for something that is inevitable. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so the expression goes. And it rings far too true in this area of the law.