Make sure you draw up a will before you 'peg out' – Susan Morrison
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A deep dive of the family paper clutter unearthed our wills, which are hopelessly out of date. Well, there’s another child for a start. It's not something you want to think about, but believe me, wills are important. Things may have changed, but when my father died he left no will. He was what was known as “intestate”. There was a right old rigamarole to get things sorted out, just when we didn’t need extra grief.
Our case was pretty straightforward. Years ago, a woman I knew was devastated to discover that her deceased long-term partner, the father of her children, had never actually divorced his wife, who promptly reappeared. It all got very expensive, as I recall.
So, even though we have no secret or forgotten marriages in the background, and I’m pretty sure there are only the two kids, it seemed sensible to get things in order. I do like lawyers' offices. They tend to be clean and bright, with cheery staff who offer you tea, coffee or water. Well, they can afford to. We’re paying.
Samatha was briskly efficient. Very politely, she didn’t snort with laughter when we produced the old wills. Oh, she said, how interesting. These are typewritten. She looked up at me and said, "you know, on a typewriter”.
Yes, Samatha, I do know. I have an O-level in secretarial studies. Show me a Standard Royale Imperial and I can probably still change the ribbon, get the carbon paper in and bash out 50 words a minute. Used to be 70, but I’m rusty on the manual.
"Well,” she said, reassuringly, “we can get this all done for you in no time. You’re not planning to peg out any time soon, are you?" That depends on the next scan, I thought.
Our worldly goods don’t amount to much, but it does settle the mind to know that it's one less thing for the family to deal with. I know it sounds grim, but get along to a lawyer. See if you can get some free coffee and peace of mind. Your family will thank you.