Friday, December 07, 2007


Something is changing inside of me. I am no longer the weak, easily manipulated, pushover that I once was. I am learning to stand my ground. I am learning that I am in fact smart enough and quick-witted enough to engage in a mental battle and stay standing. I can come up with counter arguments and turnarounds, stay calm and detached no matter what is lobbed at me, and am shielded and immune to exploitation and attacks designed to throw me off guard.

I'm withholding the details until it has all successfully panned out. What I can say is this: today I had a chat with the estate lawyer. It was a difficult chat, because I had to point out that somewhere along the way, the lines between the cut-and-dried verbage of the Will and the edges of the personal lives of the executors had become so blurred that the Will itself was in danger of being grossly misinterpreted. That's not how I put it, but that's the gist of it.

When the status of one's personal finances is being brought into question and/or used as a basis for fairness of estate distribution, something is very very wrong.

However, I think we are back on track, back to reading the Will as written, and interpreting it as we were initially instructed it would be, and leaving out anything extraneous.

People, when you write your Wills, don't assume that your darlings will be loving and kind to each other in their grief. Assume the worst. Hope for the best. Hope that they will rally and be there to catch each other, and that they will value each other more than a trinket—but write the Will to preempt the worst. Assume that they will indeed fight, get jealous, that underlying resentments will rise, that it will get ugly. If you even suspect that there is the smallest seed of jealousy or anything else negative, squash its growth potential in the Will.

Think of the absolute worst behavior they could possibly engage in, and account for it in your Will by being so specific that there is no room for misinterpretation or exploitation or for someone with manipulative skill to be able to sway another's thinking. Then, make sure that they know how much you love each of them in a way that they'll never doubt it. Make sure they are ALL your "favorites".

I'm glad for one thing. Though the past two years have been harder than any other time in my life, I have learned SO MUCH from it and grown so strong—stronger than I ever thought I could be. For that, I am grateful. I was watching a show on the Biography Channel the other night, "Six Months", about two people with terminal illnesses who were given six months to live. One of them, author Janice Chaffee, said she was stunned by people who told her how strong she was to be dealing with her cancer, how they would never be strong enough to withstand it themselves. Her response?

"Of course you would. You aren't that strong right now because you don't need to be, but when you do need to be, you'll BE that strong."

I thought that was the most profound statement I've ever heard—and absolute truth.

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At 9:14 AM, December 08, 2007, Blogger Sheepish Annie said...

I think that people make the assumption that wills are supposed to be fair. And by "fair" I mean that it fits their own definition of what they feel they deserve. But, really a will is about what the author wanted to see happen. Sadly, it becomes easy for those folks who don't agree to argue the contents based on what they feel they deserve and what others do not.

Good for you for making sure that the will is executed as written and not based on what others wish was written. And how sad that people's lives end up being reduced to numbers and love defined by "equal distribution." It can't be easy for you...

At 11:41 PM, December 10, 2007, Blogger tiennieknits said...

I hope it all works out for you. What a pain to be dealing with all this.

At 9:32 PM, December 15, 2007, Blogger Carrie K said...

Even wills with all the t's crossed and the i's dotted don't escape that. Sheepish Annie is right. And boy, is it scary to see some families go at it.


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