Posted by: laughs4dads | January 29, 2010

When There’s a Way, There’s a Will

Almost as soon as you have a child, there’s something that makes you want to run right out and get a will drawn up.

It’s like, buy the cigars, e-mail the pictures, send out the birth announcements and, oh yeah, write your will.

This sudden urge toward estate disposal may be the result of your new responsibilities, the need to be sure your new child is provided for.

More likely, however, it is the result of an instinctive feeling that the child will be the death of you.

To be factual, we didn’t immediately draw up a will.  First we bought life insurance.  We became masochists overnight, but instead of purchasing whips and chains and various leather goods, we actually invited an insurance agent into our home.  This is similar to watching a video of someone else’s vacation.

The agent was a very nice lady who asked us all sorts of questions about our mortgage, the number of miles we drove each day and our bad habits.  Then she described in detail the various types of policies her company offered, all of which were guaranteed to be completely incomprehensible to mortal humans, which, of course, was precisely the point, as insurance companies do all they can to avoid people who may be mortal, at least in the short term.

First she explained term life, which she pooh-poohed as being nothing more than basic life insurance, which, naturally, was exactly what we were looking for.  Then there was whole life, which was very much like term life except more expensive.

“The difference,” she said, “is that whole life has a value in case you live.”  She made it sound like an unlikely eventuality and, if she had stayed much longer, she would have been right.

Finally, there was universal life, which was very much like whole life, except it was even more expensive.  This was because the insurance company would put the extra money in our choice of incomprehensible investments so that we’d have more money to live on in our old age.

“We’re not interested in living,” I told her.  “We just want to die, okay?”

“So it’ll be term life, then,” she said, putting all her incomprehensible tables and graphs back into her briefcase.  “I’ll get back to you with a rate.”

Then my wife, Barbara, and I did a very strange thing.  We invited the same lady back a week later.
When she returned, she had a new set of tables.  Unlike the old ones, these were totally understandable.  That was because they were telling us exactly how much we would have to pay.

So now we were covered in case one of us met an untimely demise.  But what would happen if we both met the grim reaper simultaneously?  That’s where the will came in.

Now don’t get the wrong idea.  We don’t have much of an estate.  There’s the house, certainly, but that automatically goes to the bank, which is kindly letting us live in the house while we pay the interest on our mortgage.  I believe, if I remember the agreement correctly, that we don’t start paying off the principal until some time in the twenty-third century.

Of course, our heirs could choose to pay off the mortgage with our insurance money, but then what would they use to pay off the credit cards?

Anyway, we left everything, including our daughter, to Barbara’s younger sister, Karen.  But then we also had to provide for the possibility that Karen would be with us when we arrived at our final destination.  In that case, we didn’t want Casey going to Uncle Gary, who had already begun teaching her college drinking games.

So we set up all these eventualities and tried to cover them in our will.  I think the final version stated that if, somehow, every person we knew died at precisely the same moment in time, our entire estate and Casey would go to Prince Charles unless Chuck had already ascended to the throne, in which case Madonna and whoever she was currently married to would get everything, including the right to change Casey’s name to something Kabbalah-approved.

Of course, now that Casey is 23, all that is academic.  She gets everything.

Sorry, Chuck.

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