Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where’s the will?

This is the question in the forefront of our minds. My two brothers, Andrew and John, and I converged on Greg’s house today and sorted through his things searching for that key paper. Andrew’s wife Tammy was with us. She was a filing genius. Andrew went through the three organized filing drawers that contained papers only up to 2004; Tammy sorted a box full of papers from 2004 to the present, organizing all those papers into folders. I realized a bit later that since Greg lived in that house four years, the papers in that large cardboard box were ALL the bills, etc., that came in since he moved into that house!

My job was to open and sort new mail. We found out more about Greg’s financial affairs than Greg would have ever been comfortable sharing. How much he made. How much he owed. How many credit cards he had and what he spent his (or rather not his) money on. It didn’t feel right finding out all those details.

The elusive will was not in the filing cabinet. Nor the box of papers. His divorce lawyer did not write one up. Greg’s ex-wife knows nothing of a will. Nor does his fiancée. Yet Greg had come into my office one day and demanded, “Do you have a will?” You don’t do that unless you have one. It would be like me asking, “Did you eat all your vegetables?” I can only challenge that if I ate mine. So there must be a will!

We don’t know of a safe deposit box (his credit union doesn’t have one). His will isn’t on file with the county clerk’s office. It wasn’t among the papers at work. (On a long shot, I drove to the company to pick up my brother’s effects.) We found no record of it on his computer when we did key word searches. Greg wasn’t the neatest guy, but there are only so many places you would logically put a will – aren’t there? Where or where can it be?? If we don’t find it, I will get appointed executor, and that’s a crash course I didn’t want to go through – while homeschooling children and working?!

Homeschooling? Oh, that. For the last week as I frantically took care of funeral details, I shoved a book at each of the kids (The Jungle, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and a book of short stories by Tolstoy) and told the kids to read. Fortunately, I’d started school with them in mid-August, in case we had guests that would distract them from working. Instead, my brother’s death distracted them.

But now I’m being distracted. What is a logical place to keep a will? Wouldn’t you put it in a place where others would find it???

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)