STRANGERS TO THE BLOOD

Here’s something new I’ve learned that can be filed under RPP (Rich People Problems).

Many people, especially as they get older, become concerned (read: obsessed) with what will happen to their money once they are dead.  Determined not to let the hard-earned (?) money fall into the wrong hands, they spend their final years, months, days, tracking every penny and ensuring not one brown coin is left misdirected.

I was dubious of this activity when I first heard about it because 1. You will be dead, so what the hell do you care?;  2. My estate planning is defined as ‘’that will be the next guy’s problem’’; and 3. When closer to the end of life than the beginning, who would choose to spend time counting pennies instead of petting puppies?

Nonetheless, I have it on pretty good authority that this is a real thing, and it’s a common thing.  Apparently, it is all part of turning old-age crazy.  You know, when you start to believe everything on Facebook is real (spoiler alert:  it’s fake); when you watch Fox news and complain about it being too liberal; when you worry that America is going to go broke and all the banks will close and you can’t get your money so you keep it under your mattress; when you are planning for the Zompoc.  Wait a minute; that last one is really gonna happen…

But back to the title of this piece.  Here’s the thing:  people actually pay other people (read: lawyers) money to ensure none of the former’s money is given to anyone outside the bloodline once they are dead, hence the phrase Strangers to the Blood.  Officially, it is Strangers in Blood, but it’s more fun to yell Strangers to the Blood while shaking your fist and making fun of the whole idea.  Legally, the term is to identify someone in a will that is outside of the direct family, identified as Next of Kin.  So, inside my head, it would be easy enough to scratch out a will that says “I give all my worldly possessions to my Son, Ralphie, and nothing left to any other next of kin or strangers in blood.”  Simple, right?  Apparently not so much.

It seems the (irrational) fear is that someone who is linked to the family somehow (Married? Divorced? Lost a bet?)—but not by blood–accidentally falls into a sweaty wad of cash from the deceased that the deceased did not care for said recipient to have.  So, before kicking the bucket, people are spending their precious time, and a whole other sweaty wad of cash, to keep outsiders, aka Strangers to the Blood, from their precious coin.

Here’s the other thing:  it doesn’t work.  According to my reliable source, once you are dead, you are dead.  Also once you are dead, you no longer have control of your money.  So you can finagle and scheme all you want to point your inheritance directly to your blood; knock yourself out.  If your beloved son to whom you bequeathed a nice, healthy sum wants his (ex?) wife to be rewarded for putting up with your crazy shit while you were alive, he will simply collect his inheritance from you and stroke her a check.  Side note:  I usually use females as my example since I’m a girl (despite my name; thank you, Mother), but I figured if you’re bat shit crazy enough to do this, you are probably going to deny anyone with a vagina any money as well.

And now here’s the (hopefully) last thing:  this is too sad.  It makes me too sad to think that someone who is over the age of 50 is spending a vast amount of time on her personal countdown clock worrying about what will happen to her hundred dollar bills after she is dead.  Here’s a tip:  it doesn’t matter.  You are dead.  Let the cash fall where it may.  And because I don’t feel like yelling about this anymore, I will quote someone else…

a-hundred-years-from-now

Now I need to go spend some time with my Nugget.  Priorities, people, priorities…

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