There are a few things in life no one wants to talk about.
Of course I am not going to mention what they are here, because they will only depress me and will probably do the same to you. Included in the list, but really shouldn’t be, is one thing that I don’t think is depressing at all. It’s the topic of having a will.
You might think it’s strange that I bring this up and wonder why I’m talking about it at all, but the reason will become obvious after the next sentence. Just the other day, Laura and I met with the attorney to create two wills.
I know, I know…I debated for days about whether or not I was even going to bring this up, but I decided to talk about it tonight because I began recalling all the “will” conversations I have had in the past ten years. I think that just about everyone I spoke to about it said something like, “Oh yeah, I have to do that” or “Ummm, I really need to update mine.” There wasn’t anyone who said, “Yup, all done. Nice and tidy.”
I guess the reason why many people don’t have a will at all is probably the same reason I never went about getting one. As I put it to the lawyer, “This has been sitting on my to-do list for about a year now and I am just getting around to it.” It’s really not one of those “must do” things in life. It’s more of one of the “should do” things. I think a bit of organization here and there is much more appealing than total chaos at the wrong time.
We learned a few things while sitting at that big table earlier this week. We learned about the state laws and what would happen if we didn’t have a will at all. We learned what would happen now that we did. We also learned all about another type of will, called the “living will.”
If you remember the Terri Schiavo case, I am sure you will begin to understand the importance of having a living will. This, in some ways, is more important than a traditional will. Basically, this piece of paper gives the authority to one person to make a very important decision for you. You can click the “living will” link to learn more about it.
There is a really big area that so many people forget to address while making a will (or updating your existing one). It’s funny, because we actually reminded the attorney to update his own. This area has to do with pets.
Laura used to work in the animal industry. She told me that most animals that are put in shelters are put there because someone died and there were no instructions on what to do with the pet once the time for that decision to be made. Many family members aren’t too keen on taking on someone’s cat or dog, so these pets usually end up in the local animal shelter. Really, all it takes is one line in someone’s will to specify a friend or “pet friendly” family member that the pets should go to. It’s not like an order, but more like informing the people who usually read a will later on. “Oh, would you look at that. I had no idea that Daisy down the road wanted those cats.”
So, there you have it. I think I got through that with some definite skill. It’s sort of like navigating a landmine, but I realized that talking about these things can be helpful and a reminder for all of those people who might now say, “Let’s go get it done.”