As morbid as it may seem, Gentle Reader, I’ll be turning thirty this year; it seems like a solidly responsible adult thing to execute one’s will. It helps that I’m in the process of moving at the moment; I am very aware of what, precisely, I own. Also, writing my will is on the List, so I had to do it sooner or later.
The Task: Write my Last Will and Testament
The Execution: Well, first of all I had to look into the legalities – in the U.S., these things vary state by state. In Washington, where I live, one can perfectly legally write one’s own will so long as one follows a certain general formula and signs it in the presence of two disinterested witnesses, who also sign. If you three all do this in the presence of a Notary Public, though, it becomes “Self-Proving” evidently, and passes much more easily through probate. How Dreamy!
This task became much more sentimental than I had thought it would – and I expected just buckets of sentiment when I began. It was delightful at first, thinking about my friends, you know – “Oh, I’d better leave Miss Ward my Cabinet of Wonders – I mean, part of her is in it!” or “I want Miss Goss to have my top hat and tailcoat and white satin cravat with explicit instructions to have them tailored to fit her.”
My collection of Art and beautiful Objets? I thought there could be a sort of show arranged, with the pieces for sale – the proceeds to go to the artists, if living, and if not, donated to a queer youth shelter.
Things quickly got a little odd, though – more in the realm of “I really love Mr. Darling, you know – but I’ve only left him my collection of fans. Everything else I’ve got – well, it’s just not his style, but I want to leave him something significant.” I struggled, for a while, with some people who mean a lot to me. Ms. Capere is getting my intellectual property rights. Ms. Spectacular is getting my occult paraphernalia. Mr. Darling, indeed, is getting my fans, some small, personal items, and Great-Uncle Frank’s drafting table in the hopes that he’ll start painting and drawing more often again.
Things got a little more serious, then; there are a lot of family heirlooms in my possession, you know, and at this stage in life it has become quite apparent that I’m unlikely to have children. What would become of my Twice-Great-Grandpa Borland’s Baleen? or the Masonic ring passed down from Brother-Father to Brother-Son for four generations? The guns, the glamour – my mouldering trousseau?
I’m leaving the trousseau – the china, the crystal, the linens, the trunk itself – to my deceased brother’s daughter, Haley. She’s about 14 now, and I haven’t seen her since she was a baby, but I’d like to keep certain things in the family and I feel, as someone who had a legacy from a long-lost uncle myself, that she might be pleased with it, whenever I pop off this mortal coil. As for the furniture – well, I have cousins all over the place. There’s some chairs, and some family photos, that I’d like my Cousin Mary to have. The Baleen and the guns – Cousins Homer and George can pick who gets what. And so on.
The Verdict: There are many people who might be surprised to find themselves not mentioned here, and that’s because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Those that I feel close to, I thought of. I did my best. This was sentimental and strange, but an honest exercise. And now I know what I intend to be cremated in.