Mo' Wills, Mo' Problems

I don't totally understand wills in regards to how those in "the will-making business" justify them to others. I do see the benefits of them; however, there is a big piece with which I just don't connect. Are these so-called "benefits" just a way to capitalize off of death?

Measurable benefits of a will:

  • Cost: wills are less costly than the alternative - probate court.
  • Speed: wills allow for your assets/debts to be disbursed/settled more quickly
  • Property Rights: wills allow those who you select to get your stuff (killer SWAG, pun intended)
*Which of these benefits will I realize upon the activation of my will (aka my death)? NONE.

Immeasurable benefits of a will (excerpts taken from will publications):

  • A will is 'doing the right thing.' (This simple phrase automatically entitles you, otherwise making you a horrible person.)
  • It is a final expression of your love for family. (Why not share this love during your life?)
  • You don't have to worry what is going to happen to all your possessions should something happen. (Why worry about things that will happen after your death?)
  • To ensure that all of your assets and personal possessions are distributed to the people that matter. (Freeloaders!)
All of this being said, I do think that having a will is the responsible thing to do because it takes the burden of "cleaning up your life" off the shoulders of your family/friends. However, a big piece of me wonders why I should be paying for benefits that are, by nature, impossible for me to realize. Why shouldn't the potential recipients be paying the fees associated with creating a will? After all, they will be gaining from it.

Here are the possibilities:
  1. I make a will = My family/friends can get my stuff quicker and with less hassle. Yes, that's courteous, but it's free stuff to them. They should take on this burden, since they are benefiting.
  2. I don't make a will = My friends/family can take it or leave it. If they feel my assets are worth the time in probate court, by all means, make a living from it. If not, "Whatever." You weren't due my assets anyways. My assets can go to the state (or wherever they end up) for all that I care - I'm DEAD.

To be continued...


USPS Hoops

My last 2 experiences at a USPS office have taught me patience (and shown me that none of their employees really want to help).

Experience 1:
I picked an appropriately sized box from the shelf, assembled it and put my item inside to be shipped. There was no built-in adhesive on the box. I made my way to a side counter where I used the only available tape to hold the box together.
I got up to the counter and said, "Media mail please."
"This has Priority tape on it; it has to go priority."
"Oh, even if it's marked Media mail?"
"Hmm, ok, I'll be right back."
"You have to buy the box before you leave."
"Do you have any clear tape that I can use?"
"Yea, but you'll have to buy it."
"Ok, never mind. I have an idea."

I headed back over to the side counter and looped the "special" blue tape so that it was only taped from the inside. Ta-da! No tape was showing, suckers. So I headed back to the counter, a mere 10 feet from where I just was. The attendant had definitely watched what I had done, yet said nothing.
"Ok, we should be good now," I said.
"You still used blue tape."
"Yea, but it's hidden."
"But I know it's there."
"I don't get it..."
"If someone opens this up and sees the blue tape, it will go Priority."
"I hope that the recipient is the only one opening it up."
"Well, it's subject for inspection," she said as she simultaneously stamped it with a red stamp that read the same.
"What do you think are the chances of them inspecting it?"
"I am them. They are me. So do you want to just pay Priority rate already?"
"No." I spun around and fast walked toward the door."
"You have to pay for that box!"

I headed back to pay for it. With only 15 minutes until close, I rushed to a nearby bookstore, where I recently bought $200+ of textbooks (if it's any consolation). They gave me FREE clear tape. the woman at the bookstore asked if I was having difficulties with the post office. The must get this a lot. I headed back to MEDIA mail my package.

Experience 2 (different location):
After waiting in line for a few minutes, the guy in front of me got out of line and walked down the hall, at which time I heard knocking. I looked up and saw a sign that stated: "Knock on door for passport assistance." I heard him knock a few times with no response, so I was ready to let him back in line. I was called up to the counter before the man gave up knocking.

I stepped up and said to the attendant, "There's a guy knocking on that door."
"What do you mean?" came from behind a blank stare.
"I think he needs passport help."
"Do you want to mail that?" pointing to my package.
"Yes, but the man knocking was in line before me."
"What do you want me to do about it?"
I didn't move. It took me a few seconds of standing there, blinking, and not putting my package on the counter before he stepped back to page someone to help with the passports.

*Picture courtesy of Guerneville, CA (Apr. 2009)