Several years ago I decided it was time to write my will.
By outward appearances I was not the usual candidate. At the time, I was barely in my 30s, single, and had no children. I had, however, just purchased a house. The lawyer handling the sale offered to draft a simple will at a very reasonable price.
It’s a simple will. It outlines what to do what my assets and specifies bequests to my family, my local Seventh-day Adventist church, and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Canada.
While the purchase of my house spurred my decision, it wasn’t my main motivation. My main motivation was love.
I wrote my will so that if the worst happened to me, my parents will have a little less to worry about. I have also made sure that all my relevant papers are stored together so that my family would not have to search for anything. My mother thinks I’m being morbid; she doesn’t want to know the details and refuses to discuss the issue. I still did it for her.
I know that life doesn’t proceed as planned. Several years before I drafted my will, I was involved in an accident. As an out-of-control car careened towards me on the highway, I had just enough time to think, OK this is how my life ends, before I was hit. Thankfully, my injuries were minor.
The experience made me consider, more deeply, the stressful experience it must be to lose a loved one. Not knowing his or her final wishes intensifies that stress. Having a will in place eases some of that stress.
I have seen families ripped apart after a loved one died. Family members who got along well before the death disagree about how best to handle the remaining estate. Often the issue is minor, but emotions become heated and relationships are lost. I doubt that would happen in my family, but I’m sure many people have felt the same way before their passing – I doubt any planned or expected to be the cause of decades of hurt and estrangement.
Making my will didn’t take a lot of time. I spent half an hour explaining my wishes to the lawyer and then he returned for 10 minutes to sign the document. I recently added a codicil, as my personal circumstances have changed, and that took less than an hour to complete.
There are many reasons we put off making a will: We hope that we will still be alive at the Second Coming, but we have no such guarantee. We don’t think we have anything that anyone would fight over. We don’t want to think about death.
People write wills to ensure that their last wishes are known and honoured, that appropriate guardians are chosen for their children, and that a trustworthy executor is in place to help make that final process a little easier for loved ones.
I’m glad that I’ve taken this step to give myself and my family peace of mind.