Monday, September 28, 2009
When There's a Will, There's a Way...
Thank you so very much to the Prawfsblawg gang, especially Dan, for the wonderful opportunity to guest blog. It was a blast!
I'll make my final post a bit of a mea culpa. I've recently been motivated by the impending birth of our daughter (and sheer embarrassment) to actually sit my lawyerly self down and draft wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, etc. You know, those types of documents. For months (years?), I had been meaning to undertake this task, but somehow never quite got around to it. I'm not even a procrastinator by nature--it always seemed as if there was something slightly more compelling to address first. But once I sat down to read through many of the online forms, I found the process to be quite amusing. The language of several forms reminded me of a wonderful quote from the movie Alice in Wonderland: "Doorknob: Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction."
In recruiting various witnesses for these documents, however, I discovered that I was actually in good company in my prolonged failure to find the "will" to tackle my "will." Ironically, many other prawfs with whom I spoke mentioned that they were also in the very same situation. I suspect that if there was a plague upon Prawfs a good number of us might go gently (but perhaps with an outdated will) into that good night. So to those who find themselves in that situation, I wish you "Good Will Hunting"! And, of course, a convenient Notary Public.
Posted by Jody Madeira on September 28, 2009 at 08:04 AM | Permalink
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Jody, one of the interesting things about about starting a new career well along in life is the funny skewing of professional cohorts and life cohorts. My youngest child (of three) will turn 21 next May, so we're just about to review again our documentation. But our original wills and trusts, containing most importantly our instructions on the guardianship of our children, date back to July 6, 1984, just one month after our eldest was born. Nevertheless, your comment on avoidance of difficult things is well-taken. Neither my wife nor I yet have durable powers on health care, or health care directives. Oops.
The key thing, in addition to wills and trusts, is life insurance for both spouses. Unless something has changed drastically, go with term! It's the best bang for the buck. And buy enough to make sure you replace the income of the lost parent.
Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Sep 28, 2009 9:47:20 AM
Life insurance is definitely a must--although getting enough to replace the income of the lost parent can be very expensive. From what I know, term was still by far the best bet--nothing's changed there, although there are many more options out there these days!
Posted by: Jody Madeira | Sep 28, 2009 10:00:18 AM
Interesting. Delaying on such matters is not a luxury that your gay and lesbian colleagues have, especially those of us with children. My partner and I have all the documents you could possibly imagine, and we did not dare do them ourselves-instead, we spent close to $4000 on a specialist, in the hopes that she could put together documents that maybe, maybe will be respected by hospitals, courts, and so forth--or maybe not.
Posted by: Gayprof | Sep 28, 2009 10:05:53 AM