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Young Lawyers Division › Newsletters › The Advocate, November 2010 › Are You Kidding Me? Where There is a ‘Will’ There is a Way

Are You Kidding Me? Where There is a ‘Will’ There is a Way

Article Date: Friday, November 19, 2010

Written By: Susan Grimes

I got to thinking the other day, I really need to make a will. There are a lot of things you should have to live – such as life insurance, savings, food, water, and shelter – but you also must think about what you need when you die.

Well, you can always go the route of not having a will and then everyone can fight over who gets what when you die. Little Tommie can fight over his Aunt Millie’s table, because he wants to put it in his dorm room, to place his bubble gum collection on. Becky and her sister Jane can fight over who gets Grandma’s makeup brushes and bobby pins; and Jack and Jill can fight over who gets the one shoe string from their dad’s shoes, and who actually gets the shoes, because supposedly, the shoes were passed down the family, and their great, great, grandfather wore them when he met Christopher Columbus as he got off the boat to welcome him.  Are you kidding me?

Or, you can do the responsible thing and make a will.

Oh Susan, you’re an attorney – you should have a will. If anyone does or should, it’s you. Well, that seems logical and expected; unfortunately, logic is definitely not what I follow when it comes to wills.
My legal assistant will tell you that I am deathly afraid of, well, death. Hence the reason why I don’t have a will yet and I refuse to draw up my own. I am the person who, when I leave a funeral, goes to any place that is not my residence, or anywhere with my loved ones so death does not come knocking at their door. No kidding.

So, it’s McDonalds (no offense Mickey D, I love your fries), or whatever place I see before I go home. Crazy I know, especially because I have to walk to the place I am going. I am not kidding – otherwise, I have brought death into my car and I certainly don’t want to track death back to my house.

When I watch something that deals with death, I have to watch something comedic right after – yes really – it has the same effect on me as when I watch a scary movie. I have got to get it out of my mind before I go to sleep, or else “Nightmare on Elm Street” is what my night will be.

There are countless news stories about the surviving spouse fighting with rest of the deceased spouse’s family over belongings, or, when there is a large estate that needs to be settled and people fight like cats and dogs for years, because although the deceased was extremely wealthy, they were too scared or superstitious to draw up a will.

You are probably wondering if I have been traumatized by the death of someone in my family or a friend. No. Next question I am sure is, have any of my friends or loved ones even come close to death? No, I can’t say that they have. Thankfully, my child, husband, parents, sister, close family, and all of my friends, even those who I grew up with, or went to college with, are all alive. But still, I have this aversion to death.

For some people it is a matter of formality. Let’s take my neighbor, for example: she had her will drawn up as soon as she got married. I, on the other hand, have been married for almost 12 years, and I still do not have a will. I have life insurance and I know that deals with death; heck, its sole purpose is to provide something to the beneficiaries of the deceased when they keel over and die.  But in my mind when I think about life insurance, the only thing I am thinking about is not what my husband will get when I die (*smile*), but how much it will cost me to insure myself. So, that blocks me from even getting to the death concept.

I keep telling myself that I have got to get my will written. Not because I am on the verge of death (at least I don’t think so). And hopefully I have many, many, many, many, many, many, many (okay you get the picture) decades left on this earth.

So I am going to go through all of my little belongings and possessions, which are relatively few, and figure out who gets my remaining items when I croak. Oh, I just quake in fear, as I wonder, *gasp*…who will be the lucky person to get my law books, my study group notes, my highlighters that have dried out, and my post-it notes? Who will get the bar prep materials that cost me an arm and three legs? No, I am not kidding on that one, you have got to really be special to get those.

Okay, here’s what I will do, in an effort to keep my word, I’ll make drawing up a will one of my new year’s resolutions. I will call my attorney-friend . . . soon . . . I promise *fingers crossed*, because where there is a will, there is a way. And some kind of way, I am going to get that thing drawn up. In the meantime, I going to keep thinking about what I might want to leave to whom, and hope I don’t die as soon as I sign my name.

And who knows, maybe once I get my will done, I’ll go purchase my tombstone and the plot of land that I want to be buried in at the family cemetery – Are you *bleep* kidding me?

Susan Grimes received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and her Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law. She works for Novozymes North America, Inc.
Views and opinions expressed in articles published herein are the authors' only and are not to be attributed to this newsletter, the section, or the NCBA unless expressly stated. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of all citations and quotations.