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Tuesday, February 9, 2016


5 stars out of 5

If you have anything left that's worth more than a loaf of bread or a couple of packs of chewing gum when you leave this world, do you know who'll get it? If you have an estate plan and a Last Will and Testament, you do; otherwise, your goodies may be distributed in ways you neither expect nor want.

That's the purpose of this short book, written in lighthearted fashion by a Chicago attorney. And while it's not meant to be legal advice - an up-front disclaimer I know is necessary because I've got a son who's a lawyer (for better or worse) - the author's points are well taken.

The lighthearted part comes from looking at wills of some rich and famous folks, from Will Shakespeare to Joan Crawford (she of the hated wire coat hangers) to JFK Jr. There's also a list of people who died intestate (that means they didn't have wills at all); although some might be pardoned because they probably weren't expecting to kick the bucket - such as John Denver, who died at age 54 and Jimi Hendrix at 28 - others certainly should have known better (think Pablo Picasso, who lived to the ripe old age of 92).

The sample wills are followed by excerpts from the author's Fiona Gavelle mystery series, which at the time of this writing totals four with a fifth planned for publication sometime this year. They, too, are filled with both humor and dead bodies. These stories, the author says, are derived from personal experience - illustrating that there's plenty of fodder for stories in everyday life. 

The whole thing can be read in an hour or so; and while I'll admit the mystery series is intriguing, it's the "stuff" in those wills that got the lion's share of my attention. It all goes to show, I guess, that we all put our shoes on one foot at a time. Good reading!

Lettuce Read Wills by Una Tiers (Fiona Gavelle, February 2016); 84 pp.