By October 5, 2007

I will.

Last week I finally got off my ass and did something I’ve meant to for years and never got around to. No, it doesn’t involve twins. I went to see a lawyer and made a living will, along with an advanced medical directive. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I don’t use drugs. I’m not overweight and while I don’t exercise nearly as much as I used to, I am not a total couch potato, either. However, I do ride a motorcycle, none of my grandparents made it past their early 70s, and mental illness runs in the family. So I figured I’d get my shit together and set forth who’s getting what in the event that I cack off.

The biggest hurdle to overcome was finding a lawyer. Luckily my employer provides legal references as part of our compensation package, along with a 25% discount on services. I found an approved lawyer about fifteen minutes away from my house, and made an appointment. It was just like making an appointment with a health care provider, right down to the anal prodding.

I spoke with the lawyer on the phone and basically told him what I wrote above, sans the “you never know if you’re gonna shoot yourself” bit. I also said that I had no heirs, no obvious beneficiaries, and didn’t want my neice or my mother’s other daughter (my half-sister) getting any of my cash. It’s a long story, but to insure that this wouldn’t happen, my mother couldn’t get my estate either, as I was concerned that the money would devolve into immature hands one way or another.

The obligation of executor and beneficiary of my estate was thereby passed on to Stilts. He generously accepted the duty of sorting through my shit when I kick it. Aside from a specific provision providing Lady Jaye with any surviving dogs from our relationship and a small amount of cash, the will is very vague. The lawyer suggested that I attach a sheet with other specific assets that should be transferred upon my demise. Changing the items (or the beneficiaries of said items) would be much easier on a rider sheet than by re-writing and re-witnessing the will every time I bought or sold something worth passing on. Stilts gets everything not explicitly outlined in the will, debts and all (sorry buddy!).

The advanced medical directive was pretty boilerplate, and only took about ten minutes or so to go over. Basically I am not to be kept artificially alive if I am incapacitated either by injury or illness and there is no hope of recovery. I am allowed painkillers, but the iron lung and other such apparatus are right out. The document is somewhat vague, and I am relying on my long-standing relationship with Stilts to make judgment calls. My mother is my backup AMD contact in the event that Stilts cannot be contacted, or perhaps we were both incapacitated while gunning down zombies or some shit.

I had my will and AMD drawn up over one phone call and two meetings. The second meeting involved a witness, the lawyer, myself, and a notary — basically validating that I made my will of my own volition and without duress or mental disturbance. The lawyer understood what I wanted and was very good at recommending specific things to avoid legal pitfalls after my death. One such recommendation was not setting up a trust for the dogs. There are certain tax and legal entity implications for trusts in the Commonwealth, and I avoided them by stipulating that Lady Jaye receive the dogs and money for their upkeep. If I had “real” children and wanted to set up trusts for them it would be a different matter, but you get the idea.

Anyway, even if you are single, young, childless, and in relatively good health you should still put together a living will and an advanced medical directive. With my discount it cost $375 for both documents. Not a drop in the bucket, but I only have to do this once in my lifetime. It is also a LOT cheaper than trying to settle a dispute, or get my estate out of probate.

I like thinking about the high-fantasy aspect of preparedness — stockpiling weapons, food, ammunition, and pornography for the upcoming apocalypse — but the probability of a disaster happening are slim. What’s 100% certain is that I won’t make it out of here alive. If something happens to me unexpectedly, at least there will be directions on how to handle the belongings I left behind.

Posted in: gibberish, preparedness

8 Comments on "I will."

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  1. Stomper says:

    Kudos Doc! You’re right you should only have to do it once. But given that laws change it’s a good idea to review it at least every couple years.

    I had done an AMD (living will) many moons ago in a different state and didn’t keep it up-to-date. When I looked into the AMD early this year I found that the one I had won’t have been of any use in Maryland (different rules in different states and laws just changed over time).

    For what it’s worth I did my new AMD with a lawyer. But I started by downloading a free program that helps you design your AMD. I’m glad I did that because so much had changed. The questions/situations in the document are much more specific than they used to be. The hardest section to complete (which didn’t apply to you for obvious reasons) was the what should they do if you’re pregnant and “brain dead”. Should they do everything they can to get to a viable birth or let you die as soon as possible? It’s a tough and personal decision and I’m glad I had time to think through it before I met with the lawyer.

  2. I didn’t think debts were inheritable (barring partnerships, in which case it’s the partnership that’s in debt from the beginning). Was that a joke about Stilts getting “debts and all”?

  3. drfaulken says:

    Not at all. Let’s say that I die, and Stilts gets ownership of my home. I still have quite a hefty amount left on my mortgage. He’s responsible for it somehow, whether it be by paying it off with my insurance payout, by selling the house, or something else.

    Same thing with my motorcycle, windows, etc.

    What kind of debts did you think weren’t inheritable?

  4. Ed says:

    Stilts as the executor will be required to pay all debts of the estate/dead man before liquidating the estate to the beneficiaries. So Stilts does not owe the debts, but he is responsible for them. And in theory, if he screwed it up, he could get sued by the debtors.

    So, what does the Ed get if you die!

  5. drfaulken says:

    I have two complete sets of Battle Masters with your name on it, buddy. 😉

  6. Bond says:

    Why does this remind me of an MMO “I quit” post?

    Can I have ur stuff, k tx bye.

  7. Ed says:

    Yes! That will bring me up to 4 Battlemasters. Imagine the war! WE should get together and play it.

  8. Essie says:

    So I guess I should probably re-think all the masking tape labels I have on the bottom of my stuff designating what goes to who if I kick the bucket?
    Pregnant and Brain dead… Hmmmm That’s pretty much what took my brain in the first place.
    Seriously- Good Blog!