Dear ______________ (you fill in the blank),
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we want to let you know that we are thankful in advance that you’ll read this letter. (We know you won’t want to discuss this, but we really need to.) And we’re making it as easy as possible for you to fill out; just check the boxes you like. You can also add in any words you wish.
☐ I don’t have a Will.
☐ I have a Will but I don’t have the faintest idea where it is.
☐ My Will used to be in a safe deposit box at this bank but:
☐ The bank has been merged into bigger banks at least twice and nobody working there knows anything;
☐ The branch is closed and is now a Dunkin’ Donuts.
☐ The branch I used to go to is in Brooklyn.
☐ I have a Will but I don’t want to discuss it.
☐ You’ll find it soon enough after I die.
☐ I hope you find it after I die since I can’t find it now.
☐ The lawyer who has the original Will, let’s see, what’s his name?
☐ The lawyer who worked on this Will:
☐ worked in this financial planner’s office but I stopped using long ago.
☐ worked in this insurance agency but they moved and I don’t know where to, and the insurance company is like Mission Impossible: they disavow any knowledge of the agent’s whereabouts.
☐ was a stranger. Your stepsister and stepbrother took me to his office to sign the papers.
And now that I’ve got your attention, you should all be thankful:
☐ that information about that most expensive piece of real estate I ever bought (i.e., my burial plot) is here:________________________
☐ OR: I’d rather be cremated:___________________________
☐ OR: I like the idea of being cryogenically frozen like Ted Williams and have made arrangements: _______________________. (Try to arrange to thaw me out in the year _______.)
My important papers you’ll need – like my Will and Powers of Attorney – are:
☐ At this lawyer’s office: _______________________________________.
☐ locked (really!) in a safe deposit box at ________________________ You’ll find the key in _____________________________________. Remind me tomorrow when the bank is open, and we’ll go there and put you on the signature card (or make sure you’re on it already).
☐ here at home in ___________________________________________.
☐ in the safe which is located – where is that thing? And what’s the combination? Just kidding: look in ________________ or look under _______________
☐ I’m going to tell you things at the Thanksgiving table which you’ve never heard about. Why things are the way they are. How I grew up. And who those people are in those old black-and-white pictures.
☐ I then want you to do the same things for yourselves.
☐ Finally, we have this twelve-carat diamond ring hidden among our possessions. Whoever finds it, gets it. If you don’t find it as you go through our pockets, maybe we sold it already. Sorry.