This group of people have taken on the unenviable task of sorting out other peoples problems. From the start of any innovation, project, scheme, development, partnership, business or initiative, they are there to ensure that the “Is” are dotted and the “Ts” crossed.

One of the first clauses in any agreement or contract drawn up by a lawyer, is how to break down the thing that is so lovingly being put together. Only then will they go on about the wonderful things that could arise from the initiative. When, (or “if” in a very few cases) the breakup comes, the lawyers take the flak and are blamed for all that has gone wrong.

They are painted as being self-serving, slippery to the point of dishonesty, untrustworthy and lacking in integrity. I recall being told a story (apochryphal I am sure) about two lawyers sitting in a restaurant and the conversation went like this:

Lawyer 1: “Blast, I left my safe open in the office, I must go back and lock it”.

Lawyer 2: Why, I am sitting here after all?”

That, I think, represents the popular view of lawyers.

In reality, your Lawyer should be one of your closest advisors. They should be able to understand risk, anticipate where it could happen and affect you, and prepare a solution to avoid potential consequences. This applies, to us “ou balies”, particularly in the matter of our estate and what we want done with our possessions when we can no longer make use of them

The reading of our Will is one meeting none of us will attend. It is, normally, an emotional and stressful occasion.  I have experienced the unfortunate outcome from the results of such an occasion, to the point where blows were exchanged and the protagonists had to be forcefully separated.  This was the result of the contents of the Will where the wishes of the benefactor, as written in the will, differ from the spoken direction/wishes interpreted by the beneficiaries.

Often, this additional stress and upset is the result of the benefactor either wishing to appease, or simply failing to be clear and direct, but, also, the legal representative may have misinterpreted the wishes of the benefactor. It is important that your Will truly reflects your wishes. Using a specialist in the field acts to improve the chances that your wishes will be correctly interpreted and recorded.

The choice of Executor is also an important step. Many organisations will encourage you to use their services, but the cost of this service can be high. Make your will simple and clear, so that everybody understands what goes where, when and how.

The liquidation of estates can be a long and harrowing process. Small estates can be left unattended, beneficiaries live in hardship and remain so until the liquidation process is complete. It is wise to ensure that the Executor is a person who will carry out the process speedily and efficiently so that those you leave behind are able to carry on their lives with the minimum of disruption.

Have as much fun in this life as possible, but try to ensure that, when you are gone, your loved ones can follow in your footsteps (on the “fun” road!).