Worldly Goods

Not many people can tell a story like Taki, and this excerpt, about him signing his will at a lawyer’s office in Switzerland, is one of his gems:

An eerie business is the one about death and making a will.  One becomes a judge and jury of one’s friends, dispassionate and coldly rational, “reward and revenge standing at his elbow ready to nudge his pen.”
Not in my case. I’ve already made a will long ago and turned everything over to the mother of my children.  Let her deal with it, I simply cannot face it.
When I signed the will in front of a lawyer and notary public, the lawyer asked time and again if I was in my right mind.  (It’s a Swiss requirement.)  “Not really,” I answered, “but she’s got a gun pointed at me under the table.”
The Swiss did not find it funny and demanded I get serious.
“I’m seriously out of my mind,” I repeated, “but I don’t wish to be shot in cold blood.”
They threatened to walk out, so I gave in and signed after categorically stating that I was turning all my assets over of my free will.
I could almost hear them thinking what an idiot I must be.  The Swiss do not believe in letting easily go the root of all envy.

It should be remembered that the old Greek fart is himself heir to a considerable fortune derived from his family’s shipping business — no wonder the Swiss thought he was crazy, leaving it all to one person.


  1. When my mother passed, my brother and I were co-executors of her estate. He is located sixty miles from the ancestral home while I am over fifteen hundred. He and his wife did the heavy lifting in the process. I remember when we visited her bank to take over her accounts. When the banker handed us a checkbook that required both our signatures, I sat there and signed all the blank checks and handed the book over to my brother. I noticed the banker’s alarmed facial expression and remarked. “We have always trusted each other. Loss of money would be insignificant to me compared to betrayal of that trust.”

  2. Having a small family reduces the size and amount of angst that comes from what my father in law coined as the “grab bag”. Just my wife and son. I’m not wealthy but I have accumulated a lot of “stuff” over the years that is meaningful to me (guns and guitars) but probably no one else. So my wife gets all of it, good and bad, and our son will get whatever she doesn’t want. I told them both that they should wait a year before making any big decisions regarding anything at all. Let the ether wear off.

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