Years after we should have made some proper estate planning changes (read: a couple of years ago) (read read: like we were supposed to) (read read read: but you’re also supposed to have a wedding album made after you’re married yet that hasn’t stopped me from staring at two boxes of proofs for six years, HEY-O), Adam and I finally met with our estate lawyer this weekend.
Since it was precisely as fun as you all suspect, I shall keep the details to a dull roar. I would, however, like to pass on the few pearls of wisdom I gleaned during said meeting. (TAKE THAT, GOOGLE ANALYTICS BOUNCE RATE.)
1. Be completely unprepared. Your lawyer will most likely present a variety of scenarios in which the outcome is far from…cheery. For example, it turns out you will die. You may also become disabled and incapable of managing your assets, although that part typically happens before the dying part, notwithstanding the part where your husband may also die at the same time thereby leaving your child AN ORPHAN. It is best to deal with this by doodling and smiling vacantly.
The lawyer will try to be gentle about the death and crippling illnesses. He will even smile sunnily when passing you your health proxy “homework,” at which point you will never sleep again NEVER EVER.
2. Use inappropriate humor. Mask your discomfort with the topics under discussion by making wildly improper jokes and off-color comments. Also, divert serious and somber conversation with unrelated stories. Suggestions:
- To counter subject of possible guardians for your only child: Relate how you take a lot of whole omegas and also ginkgo biloba. Smile winningly and with the herbal-supplement-laden confidence of One Who Will Never Die.
- To steer conversation away from trusteeship: Hum. Loudly.
- To lighten mood during discussion of mental incapacitation: Tell story of how someone you knew joined a cult. But somehow get the details wrong so that it suddenly sounds like you have a problem with Russians and OHMYGOD THE LAWYER’S LAST NAME IS SOMETHING LIKE KOROVIN.
3. Act especially intrigued at the notion of cougardom. At some point, the lawyer will present the possibility that you and your husband may someday get divorced, marry others, and perhaps get divorced again, setting off a nasty battle over monies that should belong to your child. Brush off this prospect and pay only a smallish amount of attention until the lawyer jokingly says something like, “You never know, Kate. You might up and find a BOY TOY some day.”
At this point, it is prudent to jump into the discussion at hand with both feet and full enthusiasm. Between making salient points regarding your future second marriage, adjust doodling accordingly. It is besides the fact that your doodles may have boy toys the world over rushing to the mirror, wondering aloud what happened to their eyebrows, cheeks, and formerly non-receding hairline.
That should about do it. Godspeed. (We’ll both need it.)