Ten years ago I bought a flat and in a moment of feeling terribly grown up, I also bought a ‘DIY Last Will & Testament’ pack. Having procrastinated on it since then, I found the pack when I was clearing out some paperwork. Despite my fortunes having taken a downturn and my estate being significantly smaller than it was (I’d be lucky to raise 20p at the moment), and despite general good health and a family predisposition to longevity, I find myself motivated to settle my affairs.
A large part of the procrastination on this matter has just been lack of knowledge. I didn’t know how to write a will, what else I needed to do, whether a lawyer was necessary and what is legal/possible in terms of funeral arrangements. Turns out you don’t need a lawyer and there are no legal requirements in the UK for funeral services. I can be buried anywhere I like so long as I have the land owner’s permission. The pack, once I’d opened it and started reading, provides templates for a will, letters to executors, notes for funerary wishes and a handy list of what people will need to know when I die.
I’ve always been fairly certain about what I wanted to do with my money, should I end up with any. I want to give it to the British Museum. I don’t plan to have children and it would be nice to have something with my name on it in my favourite place. I’m less certain about funerary arrangements, but it turns out there are many more options than I thought.
This has been an energising and motivating experience. Living in the now is all very well when your circumstances are good but can be depressing when they’re challenging. Writing my will got me thinking about the future, about what I want to achieve, and reminded me that things will get better.
And when they do, I’m going to buy some woodland so that I can be buried in it.