Reasons For Not Making A Will
Where there isn’t a will, there isn’t a way
Reasons for not making a will
- You’re never going to die.
- You have no assets, not even a broken DVD player or the litter box an old girlfriend left behind.
- You can’t wait to be called “intestate”!
- Other people are going to die, but you’re not. You’re immortal.
- No, for real. You found this fountain in Florida. Also you met a guy who swears he can turn lead into gold and he does seem pretty rich …
- You have fond memories of your Great Aunt Bessie dying without a will. All the potential heirs got to squabble over the estate for years like citizens of Westeros over the Iron Throne.
- Basically, you enjoy drama.
- Death is such a depressing topic. You prefer to think positive.
- Isn’t it time-consuming? Aren’t there lawyers involved? Aren’t “the Animaniacs” now streaming on Netflix?
- You’re flirting with the idea of becoming a vampire.
Good reasons for not making a will
Yes, making a will can be an annoying process. But it’s an annoying process that you will only have to go through with once, like middle school. It’s also an important thing to get through so that you can enjoy the rest of your life. (Like middle school.) Consider the example of Prince.
Musical icon Prince died unexpectedly without leaving a will or any clear heirs, since he has numerous half-siblings but no current spouse or children. His estate is valued at about $300 million. The result? Chaos.
“It’s one thing to divvy up dollars among six people, but how do you divide a guitar collection, or ‘Purple Rain,’ or an unfinished piece of music, among heirs? And what if they don’t agree on how to use or sell those things?”
For example: What if they can’t decide on whether or not Prince wanted his unreleased songs to be heard by the public?
His former manager told The Guardian last year that Prince said he one day planned on burning everything in the aforementioned vault, which was rumored to have enough music to release one album every year for the rest of the century.
As exciting as it has been for investigators to run around discovering secret vaults and speculating on whether Prince has several albums’ worth of unpublished music, and as lucrative as this mess will be for the attorneys who handle probate cases, the mess could have been avoided through strategic use of the words, “I devise and bequeath.”
Of course, Prince is hardly the only wealthy celebrity to skip out on estate planning. Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse all died intestate. And the reluctance to commit to an after-death arrangement doesn’t only plague musicians. Howard Hughes, Picasso, Martin Luther King Jr., and Abraham Lincoln didn’t make wills, and their decisions had real-world repercussions: as of 2014, MLK Jr.’s family was still fighting amongst itself. What a waste of energy as well as of resources.
I find Prince’s case to be particularly sad in part because he’s known for giving to good causes, albeit quietly.
Like nearly everything else in his life, Minneapolis’s rock icon was private about his philanthropy. He often made his donations anonymously, from the $30,000 he reportedly donated to his Chanhassen neighborhood elementary school for musical instruments to the hundreds of thousands he put into #YesWeCode, an organization to help land low-income children in the high-tech world.
You may not have $300 million, but if you have even $30 in quarters, and if you would like some say in what happens to it after you’re gone, get your Adulting merit badge and draw up a will. That will help you, and your heirs, rest in peace.
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