Sunday, December 13, 2009

When is a will not a will?

Is something unclear about this sentence?

All personal effects and property which I may own at the time of my death, either real, personal, tangible, intangible, or mixed, of whatsoever nature and wheresoever situated, including all property which I may acquire or become entitled to after the execution of this well, including all lapsed legacies and devises or other gifts made by this will, I leave to my wife.

There are lots of legal terms, but it seems pretty clear that my dad left everything he owned to my mom.  Including the bond in his name which matured several years ago, years after his death.

I called the financial company that holds the bond to negotiate the transfer of funds for my mother.  I was prepared with a copy of my father's will and death certificate, documents which I assumed they would require.

Much to my surprise, that was not enough.  An attorney would have to read my father's will and determine that he really meant to leave everything to my mother.  The attorney would then need to create an affidavit to that effect.

Maybe I'm dense, but this bit of news astonished me.  What is the point of a will, if not to indicate who gets what?  And what could be more clear than a will that leaves everything to one person?

I began to wonder if my will could be questioned after my death.  Was it not clear enough that I was leaving everything I own to my two children, to be shared evenly?  Was that not clear?

If an attorney helps me write a will to dictate who gets my stuff after I die, why does an attorney have to interpret what the first attorney said?

These absurd bureaucratic pie grabbing actions seem to be nothing but greed created by instilling a fear of lawsuits.  Common sense goes out the window.

I have a hard time with things that clearly just don't make sense.  During my divorce I had to have my house appraised.  I requested the appraisal and paid for it, but the appraisal company would not give me a copy of the appraisal.  They said that their client was my attorney and they were not very polite about it.  Huh?

I went to a gym in New York City, where I spend a few days every month or two, to see if I they offered a trial membership.  If I liked the gym I hoped to find a type of membership that might be geared towards people who are not in the city full time.
First I had to fill out a card with lots of personal information such as address, marital status, whether I have children, phone numbers, email address.  I left most of it blank but still managed to qualify for a meeting with a membership representative.

His first words were "What's your phone number?".  I replied that I don't give out my phone number and all I wanted was to find out if they offered a trial membership".
"We don't give free trials", he replied gruffly.  Clearly he was done with me.  I explained that I had not used the word "free" and that I would be happy to pay to try the gym for a few days before committing to membership.  He became more friendly but I had seen all I needed to see.  I found another gym where the representative actually listened to me.  I even was offered a T shirt and use of the gym for free that day, and I still hadn't used the word "free"

Both gyms were practically empty at the time I went.  The first one, Crunch Gym, had a bad attitude.  The second gym realized that they lose nothing in letting me try the gym for free, and may gain a member.  I walked out wanting to tell everyone.  Kindness and sanity exist in at least one place!  The nice gym is New York Sports Club

I like it when the world makes sense.  I like it when people communicate, rather than work on their agenda.

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