Friday, November 16, 2012

Last Will and Testament*

This semester I am taking a Trusts & Estates drafting lab. My assignment for this week was to draft my own will.

Sometimes high school bible teachers have their kids write their own eulogy or something to make them reflect on how they want to live their life and be remembered. Writing your own will stirs a slightly different bucket of emotions.

Forcing people to confront a world they aren't a part of can bring out the worst. It's a quick way to find out who the control freaks are. People suddenly feel the need to control exactly where all their stuff goes and even how people use it down the road. To allow people to control their stuff after they've died, estate planners typically use a trust. My professor likes to joke that, "You only use a trust when you don't trust the people you're leaving your stuff to." That's not entirely true, but it's funny so I'll allow it.

At its best, contemplating your own mortality can help clarify who the people are you care about. It also helps if you, like me, don't own anything of great monetary value. It's easy not to care when you don't have anything to give away. I love it. Stuff just holds you down.  

My estate is full of sentimental equity. I decided that the material things I value the most are my guitar,  "Taylor Swift," which I left to Tommy. Followed by my soccer jerseys, mostly to Alban. My original Jacqueline Erwin painting, to Cody. And Alban, whom I left to Tommy.

Now, for those of you thinking, "David! Why would you tell people they get some of your stuff when you die? Aren't you afraid they'll kill you"? Don't worry, Washington has a "Slayer Rule." If they slay me, like with the "jawbone of an ass" or whatever, they don't get any of my stuff.

I encourage anyone who wants to measure their attachement to their junk to think about who they would give it away to. Would you be tempted to add any conditions?

Don't worry Phil, I left you a fun surprise.

This kid is pretty attached to his ice cream

* This is not my "Last Will and Testament." It is not intended to be a testamentary document of any kind, including but not limited to a codicil or will replacement.


  1. This is good.... It made me laugh. I didn't know you own Alban, isn't there some kind of a law against that?

    1. There's no law against having a pet :)

  2. Even without the asterisk, it's unlikely any court would treat this document as a will. We haven't caught up with the technological revolution. But, if you wrote it by hand on a napkin...

    Until the last line, I was alarmed you were leaving Phil out.

    1. I know, I just thought I would clear up any possible confusion. We read a case where a farmer had mortally wounded himself with a tractor and scratched on to the fender of his tractor, "everything to my wife," and his signature. They took the fender into court and it worked.

    2. Yeah, I don't quite understand why they are so open to holographic wills, but not electronic. They'll probably catch up to technology at some point... not that I want that.

  3. Maybe this isn't the time or place to be asking for things...but, can I have all the future found cats you would have given to your mother?