It seems that the prevailing attitude towards writing a Last Will and Testament is that the best time to prepare one is right before you die. After all, the statistics show that around 70% of adults don’t have a Will in place.
Today I’ve read two articles that reinforce this strange notion. The first one comes from the memoirs of Dick Cheney. Apparently there was a point where Osama Bin Laden thought he was going to be captured. The memoir explains
“In the first months of the war in Afghanistan, we had bin Laden pinned down. According to the official report of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was trapped like the rat he was in a collection of caves and tunnels in a part of eastern Afghanistan called Tora Bora. Bin Laden was so certain he was about to be killed he wrote his last will and testament.”
It seems astonishing to me that a person with Bin Laden’s resources and “political” position wouldn’t have taken the time at some point in his life to have written a Last Will and Testament. Perhaps there are cultural differences, but even in the Western World people seem to think that a Will is something to be written while lying on your deathbed. In fact, the best time to write a Will is right now. It can be updated as often as you like to reflect changes in your personal or financial situation, but waiting until you are just about to die is really bad planning.
The headline of this article made me laugh. “Anabelle forced to draft last will after death-defying flight”. The story goes that a person faced a near-death experience which made them realize that life was fragile, and they also realized that they didn’t have a Will in place. This happens a lot. When people see tragedy around them , they understand that they are not indestructible and calamity can hit any one of us at any time. The idea that Anabelle was then forced to write her Will is an interesting perspective; as if it’s the last thing any healthy person would want to do. In fact, you should be writing your Will when you are healthy and of sound mind and it should not be a task filled with dread and sorrow.
Everybody should have a Will, young or old, rich or poor, healthy or not.