11.24.2006

Death...not just for murder mysteries any more!

Your kids will out live you, maybe your dog. Your literary agent, maybe, if you're lucky.

Your work will too.
You need to designate an executor and an heir for your literary work EVEN if it's not published.


Neil Gaiman is one smart guy. He's also one of the nicest people I've ever met. ( That's saying something cause nice people usually leap on the nearest southbound streetcar when Miss Snark arrives on her broom.)

But back to the cheery subject of your demise.


Neil Gaiman is on a crusade to get writers to write wills. (Told you he was nice).
Do it.
Here's the link.

Miss Snark may look like death warmed over, but she's provided for KY in the event the broom backfires near a coiffure fire.



thanks to Allison for the linkage and heads up (fire optional)

20 comments:

Ryan Field said...

You need to designate an executor and an heir for your literary work EVEN if it's not published.

At first I didn't get this, thinking it might be like leaving a mermaid with a clock in its stomach to an heir, and then I remembered an unpublished novel (can't think of the title, but JABerwoky was the agency)that went on to become a posthumous sensation in print and film. Guess you never know.

cm allison said...

I've been on a personal crusade to get all my relatives and friends to make out wills, ESP. those with children or animals. Hey folks, it's not that expensive for a simple will! Who do you want to raise your kids or keep your four legged best buddy, Glenda of the North or the Wicked Witch of the West? The fights over custody can tear a family apart, and even a $10,000 money market can cause decades long arguments, not to mention Great Aunt Sadie's china! Who knows, Miss Snark could plant her stilettos in your heart tomorrow, or the proverbial bus could hit you! DO IT, NOW!

Cheryl Mills said...

We just had wills done in August. We don't have any money while we're alive, but dead, we're worth a small fortune and we needed to make sure that the 1. the kids went to the right person and 2. the money would looked after by a responsible person and none of the money-grubbing relatives would be able to lay a finger on it.

Alley Splat said...

Wasn't A Confederacy of Dunces published posthumously? That was a huge hit, in the UK at least.

Miss Snark said...

a few people noticed it here too.



wv:pltzr

Anonymous said...

Once you have a will, keep it up to date. The person originally in line to serve as guardian for our kids subsequently had a special needs child of her own and could not possibly take ours if something happened to us. We shook the family tree for another nut, so the kids should be OK, adn we updated accordingly.

PS -- my word verification looks like a cuss word. Can i have a new one?

Marcom said...

Congrats on your word-verification Pulitzer!

JPD (my word was Gwibczqk, which is in Khazakstan, just south of Squibczshaakt)

Seanachie said...

Random fact:

The vast majority of Kafka's work was published after his death contrary to his dying wishes that all of his manuscripts be destroyed.

Anonymous said...

While we're on the author death subject, can we talk about the Big Exit of agents? Whether thru death, disease, or whatever. If it's a big agency like ICM and the writer is a star client I'm sure the firm can find someone down the hall to take care of the author's new work and manage the backlist, but if it's a one-agent agency, what then? Do they usually have sucession plans or do the authors just suddenly going to find they're back at the query stage again?

Miss Snark said...

Clients of dead agents are referred to the well known firm of Jarndyce and Jarndyce.

BuffySquirrel said...

Case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce. You meant case.

Dagnabbit, should have made my will before posting th--

Miss Snark said...

I see the evil Squirrel Army has stolen your sense of humor and replaced it with pettifogging literalism. Never fear, KY is on the job. Just hold still for the electrodes. We'll get you jumpstarted and back on track post haste.

docbrite said...

A Confederacy of Dunces won a Pulitzer Prize eleven years after the death of its author, John Kennedy Toole, and remains a big seller. However, it has never been filmed, never should be, and most likely never will be (there's said to be a curse on any attempted filming, which I fervently hope is true, as a Confederacy movie would doubtlessly be an even bigger embarrassment to New Orleans than The Big Easy).

BuffySquirrel said...

fzzzzzzzzt! ow!

Linda Adams said...

My co-writer, who is an estate planning lawyer, highly recommended this post to our writing critique group. One of the things he also added is that some states are not lenient about estates without a will. If there isn't a will, some states will happily put their hands in the cookie jar.

BuffySquirrel said...

fzzzzzzzt! ow!

ow!

ow!

What do you think of the beetle method of ms evaluation, Miss Snark?

fzzzzzt!

Anonymous said...

The topic of a will is a timely suggestion around my house. My 84 year old mother just had a stroke last weekend (fortunately a small one), and my siblings and I are openly discussing the topic of Last Wishes.

A word of warning, my friends... the stroke affected my mother's power of speech, AND her judgement. When we called 911, the paramedics asked her: "Do you want to go to the hospital?" My mother, who didn't realize she'd had a stroke, shook her head "no." The paramedics looked at me and my sister and asked, "Do you have a Power of Attorney form?" Our reply was "Huhnh??" They informed us that since Mom was conscious and indicating refusal of service they could not legally transport her to the hospital. It didn't matter that it was obvious she needed help. They were legally unable to render assistance until I got in my mother's face and said, "NOD YOUR HEAD UP AND DOWN to tell them you want to go to the hospital!" Fortunately, nod she did, and away we went. But this holiday weekend my family is having a Power of Attorney party... I got forms for everyone. Don't be caught in the same situation, unable to get medical help in an emergency for someone you love because no one bothered with the legal drivel.

Anonymous said...

Be aware that this is not a one-size-fits-all document.

I have sole custody of my children. Not primary residential custody. Sole custody. The kids' father is not allowed to be in the same room with them without supervision.

Yet when I drafted a will naming one person and one alternative to look after my kids and separately to control their money, both lawyers I consulted said those provisions would be worthless. The care of the kids would go to whoever my ex-husband sent them to. The money clause, which was "clearly inextricable" meant whoever got the kids would get the money too.
So I have no will. My major life insurance policy's beneficiary is my brother, who is perfectly capable of paying the kids' school bills and dental bills from three states away if necessary. My minor policies are both payable to my current husband. My house is JTROS with my current husband. Having a "will" like this would screw up whatever sidewise preparations I've made.

Mac said...

Thanks for this message.

I spent almost a year tracking down the copyright holder to a long-forgotten World War II memoir.

It turns out the current copyright holder is the author's grand-niece (via two 'Everything I own I leave to XXXX' wills). However, the current copyright owner (who is living in a retirement village) won't give me permission to use the memoirs .. partly because she doesn't believe she owns them! (She doesn't seem to understand that 'owning copyright' is different to 'owning a copy').

In fact, until I spoke to her, she had no idea that her great-uncle had written any memoirs.

I don't know how the law would cope if they hadn't been such simple wills.

Any ideas on how to convince people to let me adapt long-forgotten memoirs ?

Mac

lauowolf said...

We're muddling through settling, not one, but two estates (one left to the other), both with both wills and trusts, and all of it a royal mess, pleasing to no one but the small posse of lawyers we have come to loathe.

Here are some important points. Basic, yes.

1) After a certain age, if you name an executor or trustee, try not to name people even older than you are.

2) Provide a back up for them in any case.

3) If you set up a trust to avoid probate, it only works if you put the stuff in it.

4) If you fill out medical power of attorney forms to make your wishes clear in the event you can't speak for yourself, don't hide the only copy on a closet shelf, under boxes.

5) If you really care about how things other than money are to be distributed, just tell people. For that matter, if you really want Sally to get the turkey roaster, just go ahead and give it to her as soon as you stop using it.