One of the most emphatic pieces of advice the Foreign Service offers to employees who are getting ready to go overseas is “write your will!” Not all that encouraging, I must say. But the task has been long overdue for Mark and me. My beloved uncle, a lawyer, prepared wills and living wills for us many years ago; we never got them witnessed. I would have been too embarrassed to ask him to do it again. But the State Department is so insistent about this that it provides a free service — get your will and living will from a local attorney and pay just a little more for powers of attorney.
So we did.
The first local attorney I was referred to went on at length about his considerable assets and how he has set up trusts for children so they won’t spend all they inherit at once. He assured me that, if I didn’t do the same, young Jack would want to buy that Corvette rather than go to college.
I nodded and uh-huhed, figuring I was stuck with him.
But talking about dying — and our children’s future in that eventuality — bothered me more than I thought it would. Wills and living wills are mostly boilerplate, to be sure, but they tap into your deepest fears and greatest hopes for your family. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted a lawyer who could put me at ease. So I asked for another referral.
The new lawyer was affable, self-effacing, and fast. I quickly made decisions on everything from a trust to a guardian to extraordinary lifesaving measures and organ donation. Yesterday I signed all the documents; Mark will get his signed in Washington.
Now we’re ready for anything. Right?