Willing your will and trusting your trust

My wife and I recently had the joyous opportunity to discuss in detail the logistics surrounding our—God forbid—untimely demise.

We figured it’s about time we arranged our wills. Not for us—we’d be dead—but for our daughter, lest our vast, vast fortune get lost in a sea of probate. Our situation is not dissimilar to the one detailed on Downton Abbey, where the Earl of Grantham must ensure he has an heir to inherit his estate. Likewise we felt it necessary to mark down legally who will inherit things like my New York Yankees memorabilia and our printer-scanner-fax machine.

In fact, a simple will would not suffice. No, we needed, apparently, a revocable testamentary trust. The cost of that was enough to make me wonder if one could inherit the trust itself.

Of course, all of these hypothetical scenarios were prefaced with the phrase “God forbid.” I feel like that should be implied, but everyone involved, including myself, still finds it necessary to verbalize. Say, for example, you’re in a terrible accident in which a local drug lord mistakes your vehicle for someone else’s and blows it to smithereens when you put the key in the ignition … GOD FORBID. If I ever owned a company that arranged such matters I think it would be cool to name the company God Forbid. Please nobody steal that idea because I might do it one day if I don’t die first. God forbid.

The decision-making process involving our personal details was interesting to say the least. For example, we both always thought it would be helpful to be organ donors since it really makes no sense not to. But then when you have to actually mark the box, I mean … let’s just say we’re not organ donors. I think I get caught up on two things: a) What if I come back to life? And, b) what if you need your organs in Heaven? I don’t want to get there and have God be like, “Welcome to Heaven! We’re having our big feast over th—oooohhhhh, I see you left your liver behind. Going to be tough to digest the tuna steak without it. Oh well, it’s just for eternity, right?”

The decision-making process involving our daughter was even more interesting. We chose my sister and my wife’s brother, who are married to each other, to be guardians should anything ever—God forbid—happen to us. But then the financial advisor threw us a curveball: what if something happens to one of them? We both agreed my sister would be fine, but my wife worried her brother wouldn’t be able to handle it. “He’ll have no idea how to dress her and he’ll probably have her caddying for him on the weekends,” she argued. But I thought it would play out like a Lifetime movie where opposites attract and they become inseparable. We had this discussion in the financial advisor’s office, by the way. She won. Sorry, Joe!

The difficult part is that no matter who you choose for certain things, you’re always presented with the scenario of: what if something happens to them? It’s like an endless hypothetical cycle, and at some point you realize you have listed Tim Tebow to be guardian of your child should anything happen to your wife’s fifth cousin in Italy.

Anyway, we got it done. Well, not yet. Almost. Should be fine as long as nothing happens to us in the next week or so, God forbid. If something should, God forbid, this column pretty much sums things up, so someone please show it to a lawyer. Thanks.

Note: This column appears in the 2/28 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/1 issue of the Peoria Times.