For the last 3 months I have had something on my todo list that I have consistently been kicking down the road. I look at it a few times a week and know it is something I should do, but procrastination gets the best of me. Today was the first time in a while that I found that list getting a bit bare and so rather than practice my Spanish, I decided to write a will.
Considering the logistics of your own death is a funny thing. I don't have any intention of dying in the next few years. I wonder what the likelihood of something happening to me while traveling is opposed to if I were living the American dream and punching that clock. I suppose either way it is the responsible thing to do at this point and I guess it gets it out of the way for the future.
I don't have much to bequeath upon my loved ones: two properties in Detroit (one nice, one a complete shit hole), some bitcoin, a few stocks, and a little cash. Both properties are co-owned, the bitcoin appears to be spiraling into an abyss of ruin, the stocks could follow suit due to impending trade wars and renewed gusto for the nuclear arms race, and I will spend most of the cash on tacos and tequila over the next two years. All of this makes writing a will for me relatively straight forward.
I won't bore you with the details of my will though. I will bore you with my thoughts on death. First of all, I cannot say for certain, but there appears to be a great deal of paperwork. On top of the will, there is a world of court and medical documents that need to get filed. And how about the fact that whoever gets my bitcoin is going to need to jump through a number of digital authorization apps to get to it. Good luck getting through two factor authentication after I've been dropped in the Sea of Cortez and my smartphone has been sold to some brat that just wants to Snapchat with his delinquent amigos.
You also have to name an executor or two and find a handful of witnesses to sign it. As far as a friend or family member goes, this is sort of a shitty position to be in. The executor is in charge of doling out all of your worldly possessions in good faith based on what you have written in your will. The document is of course open to interpretation and you can bet your ass that if you have anything worth gifting there is bound to be some bastard in the family that feels slighted and will want to have it out with the executor. In some cases it is recommended that this person be bonded or that you write into the will that any legal fees for disputes with the him/her get paid out of the estate so the self-servers have an incentive to work things out on their own. Being the executor is a thankless job. Being a witness isn't as bad. All they have to do is sign where the line is dotted.
Here's the rub. Due to conflicts of interest, none of these people should be beneficiaries in the will. So you basically have to find a handful of friends and family that are important enough to you that you are willing to have this conversation about the limitations of your own existence and the need to make sure that your property is dispersed according to your wishes and also not cut them in on any of it. Kind of lame. Sure, you can throw the executor some scratch from the estate for the effort.... but it still seems like it would sting a bit.
The best part of writing a will is the special directives section. This is where you get to have a little creativity with whatever is left of you. This is tough because I think it is highly dependent on the circumstances of my death. If I froze to death on Mt. Everest, I think my preference would be to just be left up there. If I got hit by a geriatric in a Mercedes running a red light here in St. George, I think my preference would be to not have my bike spray painted white and left at the scene of the accident like I often see because that makes me sad. I decided to go with a little Hunter S peppered with Kerouac for this passage. It reads:
I hereby state, that in addition to the directives and bequests as set forth in this Will, it is my desire and wish to include the following special directives and last wishes: Send me out the right way. Don't stick me in a box and drop me in the ground with a bunch of people crying in stiff clothes they'd rather not have to wear. Fire my remains out of a cannon over the sea or pour them out at the top of the last mountain with an untarnished view of America.
I have no intention of dying anytime soon. Too much to see and do. I guess it's not my choice though and spending a day considering all of the things that would need to happen in the days and months following my passing was an interesting endeavor.