dont wait until mortality stares you down to write a will

April 23rd, 2008

Don’t Wait Until Mortality Stares You Down To Write A Will

Yesterday I went to the hospital for a (scheduled) CT scan. Without getting mired in details, I’ve been having some unexplained abdominal pain as well as a few other intestinal symptoms, and my doctor decided to do a CT scan to look for both a colon issue or an ovarian cyst at the same time. Dependent on the results of that (I go in for a followup to talk about it next week) I might get the pleasure of either a colonoscopy or an ultrasound as well. Yippee. :)

But that’s not the mortality part I faced yesterday. When I went in for the CT scan, I had to sign a waiver that I understood that the contrast media they use in the scan actually is fatal to a small percentage of people (about 0.0007%), and a larger percentage (about 5%) have an adverse reaction to it. And then I got to sit for 90 minutes thinking about that before I had my scan done. Honestly, I hadn’t even considered the idea that the scan itself might be dangerous to me, and I got a slight bit panicky.

And so I did what any not quite rational person might do, I took out a piece of paper and wrote a will.

This is not the best of ideas. A good idea is to already have a will in the first place. Use a kit, hire an attorney, do something, and have a will in place. Don’t wait until mortality stares you in the face to actually do something about it. I’ve started researching options for creating a will, and my goal is by the end of the month, my spouse and I have something formal in place. And then by the end of the year, we see an attorney and spend the money to create something even better. But we need to start now. We’ve put this off too long.

It turns out, I was in fact one of the lucky 5% that have an adverse reaction to contrast media. Although my reaction was mild, the radiology department still got quite excited over it, and if I ever have another scan, I need to be medicated beforehand because once you have a reaction, it’s worse the next time. That makes me super excited to have another one, let me tell you. Hopefully it won’t be necessary… ever.

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15 Responses to “Don’t Wait Until Mortality Stares You Down To Write A Will”

  1. Sounds scary, and I wish you much luck & good health. Just an FYI, if you like Dave Ramsey, check out his website ( Under “He Recommends”, U.S. Legal Forms offers will kits for $15 and a package that includes a will, living will and power of attorney for $29. And no, I don’t get paid to point that out. :-P

    Best of luck babe!

  2. Thanks for the info! I will check that out!

  3. I’m a lawyer and can tell you that the laws of writing Wills are different all over the country. In some states you can write your own Will entirely in your own handwriting (called a self-proving Will) and it is legal — other states don’t allow it or require that you have one or more witnesses for it to be legal.

    My advice is that you figure out long before you need one what the law requires in your state and be sure that what you’re doing is appropriate. When in doubt, hire a local lawyer.


  4. Hugs to you!

  5. Sorry to hear you’re under the weather! Hope everything turns out OK.

    In addition to a will, you should have a living will and be sure your husband or someone else you trust has a medical power of attorney.

    Having a will and being sure it will stand up legally in your state makes life a lot easier for those who survive you. The mother of a dear friend recently died, somewhat unexpectedly. She hadn’t written a will–and had just bought a condo with an inheritance. Now her daughters will have to make the mortgage payments on the condo out of their own pockets until such time as a court gets around to probating the will. This could take upwards of two months. If she’d had a will and made one daughter the executor, the payments could have been made out of her estate.

  6. I’m hope it’s nothing serious and that you get some good news next week.

  7. Hmmm….there are alternative contrast medias…I know. I’m allergic to a common one and they have to use an alternative with me. The problem for many hostpitals is that the alternative (at least the one they use with me) is more expensive. Our healthcare system at work again.

  8. Hope you are doing better today…I know what you took a scary event to get us moving too..but now we have the peace of mind. If you’re military, you can get wills and POAs done free on post. Another option besides the one mentioned above is Lowcost legal paperwork, and they can even do up a living trust for you (they do the paperwork, you do the funding and running around).

  9. We saw a financial planner earlier this year and were recommended the Nolo Will Maker software to take care of a basic will, living will, and health care power of attorney. The software is available on their website:

  10. My mom sometimes throws up after her barium swallows. But they’ve found a way to make it work since she gets a scan 3 or 4 times a year.

    Pretty scary stuff…and mortality can be just around the corner. We thought mom had IBS, instead it was metasticized cancer which almost killed her by blocking off her intestines. It was strange how it went from something we thought was just a discomfort to something so awful involving major surgery and chemo virtually overnight.

    All that to say, yeah, you really don’t know when it’s your time.

    And I hope it’s nothing bad.

  11. I hope you hear good news when you have your follow up next week.


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