I’ve been thinking about writing a will for a while now. It’s not like we have much to give away, but we own a house, we don’t want to make things difficult for anyone left behind, and reading c jane’s and Nie Nie’s blogs brings home the truth that anything can happen, at any time.
Ashley at Wide Open Wallet has been writing about her will recently, and this has finally inspired me to action.
To anyone who hasn’t made a will before, I will say this: it’s a lot quicker and easier than you think it will be! My husband and I went to a very sweet solicitor on Monday, to go through the finer points. Wills for the pair of us are only going to cost £100, which is less than I was expecting. We took along the forms that our solicitor gave us to fill out with details of any pensions and stocks (ha ha ha), who we wanted as our executors and guardians of children, plus details of any legacies that we wanted to leave.
Filling out these forms makes one very morbidly-minded. We chose one of our in-laws as the first executor, on the grounds of his Teutonic efficiency. But then fell to thinking, what if he dies? So we added my brother as the second executor, just in case.
We also decided to fill out the guardians section. We don’t have any kids but hey, we like to be prepared for any eventuality. Choosing our imaginary guardians for our imaginary children was a toughie. Only the very best for our non-existent infants! Seriously, we spent ages on this one. Dear friends were dismissed on the grounds of financial incontinence, moral torpor(!) and glum dispositions. Beloved family members were dismissed on the grounds of being batshit crazy, and not having books in their respective homes. For non-dead non-parents, we’re pretty fussy. We selected the Chosen Two in the end, thank goodness.
Like I said, we don’t have much to give away. We have a slice of equity in our house, some knick-knacks and a Thriftymobile. But when I was filling out the form, I realised that I wasn’t happy about leaving everything to my husband or (in the case of dual death) dividing everything between close family members. My husband would probably try to hold onto everything – my clothes, jewellery and books etc. – when I would much rather he cleared them out so that he could move on. My family would be very welcome to divvy it all up, but I can’t help thinking that a lot of trinkets and other items of sentimental value would end up down the car boot sale.
So when it came to the list of legacies, I ended up filling two sheets of the bits and pieces that I wanted to leave to various friends and family members. Favourite books, jewellery and other small items are all there. My clothes and shoes are bound for my mum and sister; not only are they fashion-obsessed, they are also the same size as me. My sister would get my sewing machine, too – I know she’d use it. My brother would get our great-grandfather’s Bible, and my guitar. Even my 78-year-old grandma is on there, just in case she outlives me. Does all this sound mad? I have to admit, when I finished writing it out I felt happy that all my little wishes were down there, on paper.
The solicitor certainly thought I was bonkers, when he read the list. He stroked his beard and said eventually, “People used to write wills like this in the olden days. But I haven’t seen anything like this for… a while”.
He nearly fell off his chair after he asked if I wanted to be buried or cremated, and I told him that I wanted to be cremated – with the stipulation that my ashes were put into a big rocket firework. I didn’t think that the firework idea was that new-fangled anymore – heck, Hunter S. Thompson did it years ago – but there you go. What would he have said if I’d decided that I wanted to be turned into a diamond? I wonder.