Rewriting My Own Will — An Estate Lawyer’s Reflections.

I’m accustomed to the challenges of being an estate lawyer. But I’m not accustomed to the challenges of being a client! Rewriting my own will after a long time, I was surprised at some of the issues I encountered.

For one, I found that some of the people who I would most want to name as my executors or other agents are people who currently have young kids, and I would not want to burden them with any additional responsibilities. It turns out that some slightly less-close people who are highly competent and trustworthy have turned out to be the better choices, at least for now.

I also realize that since I don’t have kids at this point, and my nieces and nephew are mostly grown now, no one in my family needs my money. Suddenly, I am thinking very deeply, and very enthusiastically, about my charitable interests. I’m delighted to think that I could make some significant bequests to causes that I really care about.

Finally, my husband and I have looked carefully at our different concerns. His family has some financial needs that my family does not have. It makes sense for him to provide for them and not just for me if I survive him. We have had to think carefully about how to ensure each other’s financial security, while also looking after these important family obligations.

All of this makes me realize, freshly, how unique each person’s and each couple’s circumstances are, and how many tools I need to draw from my experience in order to craft an appropriate plan to meet the client’s needs.

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