She Done Got Herself A Lawyer!

“Now she’s done it! This will screw everything up!”

I heard this while having lunch at the Totem Diner in my hometown Everett Washington this week. I have heard this before in my office.

Or I hear “She went to a lawyer”… stated with lament, as if the process of transferring property at death was as simple as filling your Chevrolet with gasoline at the Shell station.  Instead it is much more like replacing a timing chain.

The gas station metaphor works well here. The people into see me might as well say She really didn’t need a mechanic. It’s was really simple to work on cars until they started putting computers in them.  Everybody knew what to do. It’s was easy. Thats the way it should be.

Stated another way: Everybody already knows the house was supposed to go to me.

I look around at the people at the diner and I see what we call “plain folks”. They work when they can, and save what they can. They drive Fords or Chevy’s, go to church on Sunday and like football. And life is pretty simple, until some lawyer, or auto company, makes it complex. The people at the diner do not want life to be hard and they don’t want death to be hard either.

Unfortunately the only people who really know what is going on legally are lawyers just like the only people who know what is going on under the hood are the modern auto mechanics. Cars are safer and get better mileage than they did 50 years ago. We have come a long way from carburetors.

Likewise we have come a long way from the simple will. Consider that in the 200+ years the country has been in operation layers and layers of law have been enacted or cases decided by courts. Now how is the guy at the Totem going to figure that all out?

I would prefer to live in a simpler America. I liked working on my old mustang. But those days are gone for good. Like I rely on my mechanic, people are better off coming to see a lawyer for family property transfers. You know you will do it right, and leave it the way you want it instead of what “everybody already knows.”

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