Resources for Writing a Will?

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Last Friday, I drove from Corvallis to Portland to help my cousin, Duane. Duane has been living with throat cancer for several years nowbut in recent months things have grown worse. It feels like he’s preparing for the end. And that means he’s packing up his apartment (where he’s lived for 21 years!) to move someplace smaller.

We spent all of Friday afternoon sorting through his office. This was a challenge because (like most Roths) Duane is messy (and a self-proclaimed hoarder). Duane and I packed boxes and boxes of collectible card games, ancient coins, books on Greek and Roman history, and outdated computer games.

While we packed, we talked. Duane is my cousin, yes, but he’s also my best friend. Because we’re family and friends, I feel like we share a deep connection. We can call out each other’s bullshit without hurting feelings. We can sing each other’s praises without becoming obsequious. Most of all, we can talk about nerdy stuff like Magic: The Gathering, The Great British Baking Show, the ignorance of history in supposedly “historical” television dramas, and so on.

At one point, I found a piece of paper buried on a bookshelf. “Can I have this?” I asked. “I want to publish it on Get Rich Slowly.”

“What is it?” Duane asked.

“It’s your net worth from 1993,” I said.

Duane laughed. “Go ahead,” he said, and I gleefully tucked the page in my pocket. I love it.

I love that his net worth lists assets like “Aquariums $100” and “Albums $100” (referring to his progrock record albums) and “Stamps $16,000”. Duane used to collect semi-official Canadian airmail stamps. Then he moved on to collecting ancient Green and Roman coins.

I also think it’s hilarious that Duane listed his $9 Texaco charge card as a liability. Nowadays, I wouldn’t bother with aa debt so small. Thirty years ago, though, Duane did.

Although our work was non-strenuous for me, it took its toll on Duane. He recently finished another round of chemotherapy and…

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