- Ian at New Approach
Interesting Article from yesterday's newspapers
Writing a will is a milestone of adulthood – and now I can threaten to cut people out of mine
Even more than folding fitted sheets or bleeding the radiators, making a will feels like the most grown-up of tasks
Tue 16 Mar 2021 07.00 GMT
The milestones marking the passage into “real” adulthood are rarely the ones you expect, such as homes, jobs or partners. For me, getting a boiler serviced, a chimney swept or paying a window cleaner have the dull, intimidating sheen of definitive adulthood. I asked around: folding fitted sheets (comedian Jane Godley does a brilliant riff on this deadly chore), bleeding radiators, switching energy suppliers and changing fire alarm batteries have that effect on others.
This stuff feels like playing grownups, wearing your parents’ clothes, until you realise you can’t remember the last time you ran out of loo roll or let your insurance auto-renew: that’s just who you are now.
I was wondering about this because I am making a will, the big daddy of minor grownup tasks. It’s well overdue: I have seen more than once how someone dying without one makes a wretched time worse. Writing one is probably the most useful thing I can do for the people I love now.
Speaking to a nervous young lawyer, I feel as if we are both role-playing grownups, him writing down what should happen when I die, using Dickensian words, such as “residuary estate”, “testatrix” and “hereinbefore”. “This is a difficult subject,” he says at one point. “It’s fine!” I reply, gaily, high on extreme adulthood. “Now, what does happen if I outlive both children?”
The basics are grim, boring and involve tax, like all the worst adult stuff. But then – sorry, “thereinafter” – the fun starts. What coffin would I like (I agonised about the aesthetics for my mum’s; there’s no way I’m leaving this to my sons)? Can I appoint my best friend “literary executor” to delete 15 years of our uncensored online chat? Who gets my stuffed magpie and what about the tortoises, who will certainly outlive us? Even better, I can now become someone who issues veiled threats about changing her will when displeased with family members: that is surely the ultimate adult achievement unlocked.
· Emma Beddington is a Guardian columnist