November is Will Aid month, so it somehow seemed appropriate when the news on 1st November referenced Mark Shand, brother of the Duchess of Cornwall, who died without a Will. As a result his girlfriend of five years, and the person at his bedside at his death, will inherit nothing.*
I have two friends who lost their husbands at young ages, leaving them with babies to care for alone. One of these men did not have a Will as he died unexpectedly. The other fought a brave battle against Cancer in the days after his youngest child’s arrival. In many ways this makes me very lucky. I would give anything for these dear friends not to be in this position, clearly, but I am reminded every time I log onto Facebook, which has made me (possibly) a little obsessed with planning for a similar scenario to hit our household.
No-one wants to think about their death, least of all a Mother: who could imagine leaving their children behind?
But here’s what you have to think. You have to think about how much worse everything would be for your other half, for your family, for your children- all of whom would be grieving for you- if they had to deal with extra complications that come from dying without a Will. A friend writes a great blog called Corporate Grief which demonstrates the difficulties in dealing with companies after losing your partner, which shows how tricky it can be to negotiate with companies even when a Will is in place.
Will Aid is a special partnership between the legal profession and nine UK charities. Every November, participating solicitors waive their fee for writing a basic Will, instead encouraging their clients to make a donation to Will Aid.
I know that if something happens to DH I do not want to be spending time on unnecessary bureaucracy, worrying about how to pay bills when I have no access to our accounts. I want to be holding my children close and missing the things he does that irritate me immensely on such a regular basis: the things that make him him.
I would miss the way that he never quite manages to shut the drawers on the vintage chest in our bedroom, even after seven years.
I would miss re-stacking the dishwasher to get more stuff in.
I would miss going to do laundry and realising that there is a load in the tumble dryer than has probably been there for two days.
I would miss getting cross when, not finding him anywhere at the weekend, I discover he has snuck off to bed with the dog for a nap, or left the house and gone off into the woods without taking a walkie-talkie.
I would miss his fire-making skills, and the burns in the carpet.
I would miss sitting in the passenger seat, on my hands.
I would miss constantly putting his shoes in the hallway, where everyone else in the house removes theirs as soon as they come in.
I would miss his face when I announce a “healthy” meal for supper.
I would miss the million small things that make the man: the man I love.
I also wrote: Why You Should Make A Will
*His Estate will go to his teenage daughter.