October 26th, 2007

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Gaiman on authors and wills

Interesting piece by Neil Gaiman, inspired by the fact that John Ford didn't have a will.

Neil's point is that writers should care about who gets their intellectual property, even if they don't care about their other assets, and therefore have a will written.

My one quibble is that I really, really wouldn't try drafting your own will, even with a template. I know Gaiman warns against this, particularly for those of you who don't know whether your state accepts holographic wills. But even so, go get yourself a lawyer for drafting a will.

Yeah, going to a lawyer is a pain in the rear and will probably run you about $500 for a standard will and possibly more if you are in a complicated situation. But just as I wouldn't try to fix my own car with the help of the owner's manual and some online resources, because my life depends on it, I didn't do my own will because Aaron's future depends on it.

I will close with the final verse of that old poem by Lord Neaves, the classic toast To the Jolly Testator Who Makes His Own Will:

You had better pay toll when you take to the road
Than attempt by a by-way to reach your abode
You had better employ a conveyancer's hand
Than encounter the risk that your will shouldn't stand
From the broad beaten track when the traveler strays
He may land in a bog or be lost in a maze
And the law when defied may avenge itself still
On the man or the woman who make their own will