Saturday, April 14, 2018
John Schwartz did not have a will until about a year and a half ago. With no specific impetus, John and wife, Jeanne, decided to take care of some looming financial matters they had placed on the back burner for a number of decades. Initially, the pair sought out online assistance. Though there are a number of websites that offer aid in preparing a will, many of these fail to accommodate complicated estates and can completely subvert the intent of the drafter if filled out incorrectly. Following the recommendation of a friend, Schwartz found a local attorney, Nathan Arnell, to provide much-needed assistance. Arnell brought the pair into his office and discussed tax implications and possible difficulties with administration of the estate. When Jeanne told Arnell that the couple had “only been married to each other” and that all “of our children are our children” and that “we all get along,” he seemed to visibly relax. The conversation moved to a trust for a depressed child, charitable giving, advanced directives, and powers of attorney. A short time after the initial meeting, the couple received the bill: a bit under $2,000. Now that John and Jeanne have wills, at least one worry is gone. Though neither enjoys the consideration of death, at the very least, there is no longer the torment of leaving this loose end undone.
See John Schwartz, What It Was Like To Finally Write My Will, The New York Times, April 3, 2018.
Special thanks to Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.
Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.