‘Keep it simple stupid’ is the aphorism that most people think, but are too polite to say, when it comes to making their Wills.
To them, while it is one of those ‘1001 things I must do before I die’, it is really no more than an ancient ritual producing an elementary piece of parchment containing an aged old mantra – everything to my spouse, then to the children.
I then feel like a purveyor of pestilence when I respond, ‘Ah but but but:
- Don’t focus on the cost of doing something simply, but rather, on the value of doing something well;
- You might pay little now but ‘they’ could pay lots later; and
- Do you want what’s best for you or what’s best for ‘them’?
I then embellish their anxiety with tales of yore, of human tragedies arising from the ashes of the simple Will – of children receiving a large inheritance at a time when it was the last thing they wanted e.g., in bankruptcy, family law disputes or with tax problems – of spouses losing their pensions or having to pay more for aged care or, indeed, finding later life love.
I then allay the doubts invading their conscience and tell them we can address those concerns in a Will but not ‘simply’ or for next to nothing – for a reasonable ‘fee’, not for ‘free’.
Death can distort our view of life. When confronted by complex life circumstances we often resort to our favourite legal advisors for help. For Wills, however, death is not treated with the same good sense or respect – maybe because it is about your death not your life.
Trouble is – it is all about life – other peoples’ lives, not yours.