Where there’s a will

By Renee Fisher

Life in the Boomer Lane has always prided herself in being a take-charge person. She takes full responsibility for all areas of her life, except for technology, and everyone knows that technology isn’t something that anyone should ever take responsibility for.

She has even ploughed right into will-making, not fearing as some do that making a will will automatically create events that will end with said will having to be used. LBL isn’t foolish. Wills and estate planning are important.

To this end, several years ago, she brought Aunt Gert to an elder law attorney. They were accompanied by Now Husband. The three of them discussed the terms of their wills. LBL took all of her paperwork home and never thought about it after that.

For the last couple years, LBL’s financial advisor has been trying to convince LBL that her will should be in the form of a trust, rather than a straight will. (Editor’s note: LBL is referring to American practices.) LBL’s response to him and to others who she has spoken to about this has been, “I know my children, and I know that there will be absolutely no discord about my estate.” They have looked at her in exactly the same way that she would look at anyone who would say that same thing to her.

Last week, she had her annual Meet-and-Greet with the financial advisor. Again, the topic of the will came up. This time, he said something that LBL hadn’t considered before, namely that having a trust and avoiding probate would make her executor’s work easier.  It was this that convinced her. She already feels guilty enough about sticking her kids with everything that comes along with a family member getting a one-way ticket to the Great Beyond. 

She went home, determined to call the attorney who drew up the will and change the estate to a trust. First, she had to find the will. She was shocked and delighted that the first place she looked  (the closet containing her grandson’s crib and a wealth of kiddie toys) actually contained the will. She opened the folder in order to get the attorney’s phone number.

The first thing she noticed was that the will was stamped in giant letters “DRAFT ONLY.” She had never executed it. The date was five years ago. The second thing she noted was that a sentence on the first page was highlighted, presumably by her. This sentence gave half of her estate to one of Now Husband’s dear friends in Greece. While LBL loves this friend, she doesn’t love him quite enough to give him one-half of her estate.

LBL tried to think of what could have possibly been said to the elder law and estate attorney to have this result. She is certain that, because they were accompanied by Aunt Gert, the session must have been surreal in some way.  Aunt Gert took any opportunity she could when meeting a person for the first time, to say that her husband was murdered by his nephew. While this made for a unique conversation starter, the murder was one more figment of Aunt Gert’s fertile imagination, as well as her unique view of reality in general.

LBL knows that Now Husband mentioned his friend’s name to the attorney because, due to the dire economic situation in Greece, he and his family have virtually no money. Now Husband wants to make sure that his friend’s grandson will be able to go to college. But, after a couple minutes LBL’s limited brain cells were totally exhausted in the attempting to connect that situation and LBL’s will.  Perhaps the attorney was so rattled by Aunt Gert’s announcement of the murder that his mind wasn’t on the task at hand.

LBL tried to call the firm. The number was no longer in service. She finally tracked down one of the attorneys at a new firm. She is now awaiting a new draft, which she will diligently review and send back. She hopes that Now Husband’s friend is unaware that he has just lost a certain amount of money. The elder law and estate attorney is likely now retired. She certainly hopes that he is no longer fretting about the murder.