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Wills and Won’ts

Why Some of Us Don’t Have Wills (But Should)



After I made a Last Will and Testament, I threw it in a drawer and never looked at it again. I was unemotional about the entire process and, thinking back, maybe it was because a part of me thought the inevitable would never actually happen. W.C. Fields shared a similar sentiment as he was dying. When asked why he had started reading the bible, he said, “I’m looking for loopholes.” 

For those of you who are a little more pragmatic, writing and keeping a will updated can be of vital importance, especially for friends and family who will want to make sure that your final wishes are carried out. This process becomes even more important as we tack on the years, yet, surprisingly, more than half of adults in the 55- to 64-year-old bracket do not have wills. And according to Forbes, the number is even higher for women in that age group. Common reasons why some of us haven’t dealt with this necessary document are what you might expect:

1) it doesn’t seem urgent;
2) a will isn’t necessary;
3) avoidance of the thought of death; and, overwhelmingly,
4) the fact that most just haven’t gotten around to making one. One Wilton resident also mentioned that a new will was on her long list of things to do after an unexpected divorce, but “after going through the divorce process I wasn’t too eager to step into another attorney’s office.”

The reasons for inaction are plentiful, outnumbered only by the abundance of anecdotes online, detailing the bizarre extent to which some people will go in order to have their last wishes met. Harry Houdini, for instance, required that after his death his wife hold a séance every Halloween and wait to hear the ten secret words he had given her so that she would recognize his reappearance. She never did hear from or see him. Ordinary people have also become famous because of their wills. Thomas Shewbridge, a California prune rancher, achieved notoriety when he left his estate and 29,000 shares in the local electric company to his two dogs, who, after his death, regularly attended the stakeholders’ and board of directors’ meetings.

Closer to home, Wilton resident John Rich, a “Mad Men”-era advertising executive, wine connoisseur, and dedicated jazz drummer, requested a New Orleans-style Jazz group play at his funeral. His wish was fulfilled, and a lively jazz trio led mourners from the funeral service at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church into the reception area where there was a full raw bar and excellent wine. The event became a joyful celebration of a life well lived.

There are some sound reasons why a will is important in Connecticut. According to Paul Burnham from Wilton-based Gregory and Adams, P.C., “If you have assets but no will, then the probate court will get involved, and everything will go to a surviving family member in a way that you might not have in mind.” If there’s no spouse, the assets go to the children. If there are no children, the state outlines about ten different scenarios for the division of assets, which may in no way reflect your wishes. “If not this, then that,” becomes the equation, and the slow grinding probate process begins.

Perhaps you haven’t drafted a will because you’ve been too busy making money. If you’re assuming that your spouse and children will automatically get your vast fortune, keep in mind that the state of Connecticut may impose a tax on a portion of those assets, which could come as a big unwelcome final gift to the family.

And finally, for those of you who think that drafting a will might shave precious hours from your life, fear not. A will doesn’t take a lot of time or paperwork to prepare as long as it’s not complicated, and the invaluable payoff is peace of mind. It’s never too late to get started. 


Final Wish List Tips

DO

Update Regularly 
Have a lawyer look at your will at least every five years.  Most of us will forget what the document says in three years.

Proofread carefully 
Without an estate planner, typos are a real possibility. Take, for instance, the man who left some money to “the protection of cruelty to animals.”

Choose the Right Executor 
Take your time appointing this person. It’s a responsibility more than an honor.

Inform:
Let your family members know where you have filed your will.

DON'T

Seek revenge 
This is not the time to tell someone how you really feel about them.

Rely on Brotherly Love 
Siblings may not be able to sort out assets themselves, especially when emotions are high and money is involved

Make an alternative version for fun 
This is not legally binding and confuses the process, so keep it formal and traditional.

 

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June 2018

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

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Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

A hands-on introduction to woodworking for kids! In this 4-day afternoon camp, kids will plan and create a one-of-a-kind project such as a wooden stool. Skills include sanding, drilling with a...

Cost: Fee: $210 / $190 for family members (supplies included)

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Cener
681 South Ave
Waveny Park
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View map »


Telephone: 203-594-3638
Website »

More information

Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

See Shakespeare’s fairytale fantasy of love and magic potions at in a park setting on the Long Island Sound. The play is in the “round” as the...

Where:
Pinckney Park
177 Rowayton Ave
Rowayton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

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Maritime Garage Gallery
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
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Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

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Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
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KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

A hands-on introduction to woodworking for kids! In this 4-day afternoon camp, kids will plan and create a one-of-a-kind project such as a wooden stool. Skills include sanding, drilling with a...

Cost: Fee: $210 / $190 for family members (supplies included)

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Cener
681 South Ave
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Telephone: 203-594-3638
Website »

More information

Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
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View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

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Wilton Library
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See Shakespeare’s fairytale fantasy of love and magic potions at in a park setting on the Long Island Sound. The play is in the “round” as the...

Where:
Pinckney Park
177 Rowayton Ave
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Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

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11 North Water Street
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
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Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

A hands-on introduction to woodworking for kids! In this 4-day afternoon camp, kids will plan and create a one-of-a-kind project such as a wooden stool. Skills include sanding, drilling with a...

Cost: Fee: $210 / $190 for family members (supplies included)

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Cener
681 South Ave
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Telephone: 203-594-3638
Website »

More information

Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

See Shakespeare’s fairytale fantasy of love and magic potions at in a park setting on the Long Island Sound. The play is in the “round” as the...

Where:
Pinckney Park
177 Rowayton Ave
Rowayton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

A hands-on introduction to woodworking for kids! In this 4-day afternoon camp, kids will plan and create a one-of-a-kind project such as a wooden stool. Skills include sanding, drilling with a...

Cost: Fee: $210 / $190 for family members (supplies included)

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Cener
681 South Ave
Waveny Park
New Canaan , CT  06840
View map »


Telephone: 203-594-3638
Website »

More information

Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

See Shakespeare’s fairytale fantasy of love and magic potions at in a park setting on the Long Island Sound. The play is in the “round” as the...

Where:
Pinckney Park
177 Rowayton Ave
Rowayton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

See Shakespeare’s fairytale fantasy of love and magic potions at in a park setting on the Long Island Sound. The play is in the “round” as the...

Where:
Pinckney Park
177 Rowayton Ave
Rowayton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

KMR Arts is proud to present MAYDAY, an exhibition of new photographs by Barbara Vaughn. Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on June 2, 2018, from 3-7pm, 2 Titus Road,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington Depot , CT  06794
View map »


Website »

More information

Oil paintings by Carol Brightman Johnson will be on display at the Smithy Store Loft Gallery from May 25 to July 7. Hours: daily from 10:00 to 5:30 Subjects include horses, dogs, orchids,...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
10 Main St.
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store Loft Gallery
Telephone: 860-868-9003
Contact Name: Susan Newbury
Website »

More information

See Shakespeare’s fairytale fantasy of love and magic potions at in a park setting on the Long Island Sound. The play is in the “round” as the...

Where:
Pinckney Park
177 Rowayton Ave
Rowayton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Art is pleased to present “Melissa Meyer: Hitting the Right Notes,” her first solo exhibition with the gallery.  The show will open with a public reception...

Cost: Free

Where:
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840


Sponsor: heathergaudiofineart.com
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Take a 2 ½ hour narrated train and riverboat ride through what the Nature Conservancy calls “one of the last great places on earth,” the Connecticut River Valley. The train...

Cost: $37-$42

Where:
The Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
1 Railroad Ave.
Essex, CT  06426
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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