March 13, 2006

Where there's a will, there's an executrix

Increasing, that person is me. My older clients, my mother's friends who are 70+, these people want me to take care of distribution their worldly goods once they are no more. It is at once flattering and disturbing.

Yes, I know the drill. An intelligent inheritor knows how to read a will or to interpret one that includes her. Plus, it's part of my day job. Yet I assure you it's much easier to deal with legalese than with what it represents.

For example, money that my father and his sister were due to inherit came in part to me, because my dad had died. His sister, my aunt, called me on the phone: "hello, heiress?"

"I would rather have a father." I depressed the hook and ended the call. Parting gifts? Some perverse consolation prize, that.

Initially I wrote a will when prompted by my father: I had come of age, come into some money, and he didn't want the cash to come back up the food chain into my parents' names should something happen to me. (At 22, pre-Prozac synapses melting, there were chances I needn't elucidate here.)

I rewrote my will when my brother married wife #1, and again when they divorced. Wife #2 never made the cut. Wife #3 did, with the proviso that she be married to and living with my brother at the time of my demise. Scratch that. The divorce is well under way, and any further wives my brother may marry and divorce are women whose last names I will probably never know.

As long as my brother has a dog, I will be more likely to know its name than his femmes du jour. The dogs last longer than the marriages.

And now I have agreed to be the executrix for my mother's best friend, who regards me as the only person she knows in my generation who has common sense, much less a financial background.

It is odd to know that in the end of the lives of the generation preceding mine, I will be the one to carry out the wishes of the departed. Once again, I will be called upon to act as fiscal parent to what was once an adult thirty years my senior, but in death, has become my child.

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