Planning on dying? We all should, and this handy primer provides guidelines for properly writing a will.
In this debut, Turner, an estate attorney, warns of the problems that crop up when one dies without a last will and testament; for example, state law could give the house that you lived in with your current spouse to your children from a former marriage. He advises writing a so-called “holographic will”; it’s a legal term, not for a shimmery, 3-D image but for a will that’s written out entirely by hand. Because it can be authenticated by comparing it to handwriting samples, it doesn’t usually need witnesses or lawyerly vetting, making it the least expensive option for people with modest, uncomplicated fortunes (in the 26 states that allow it). Turner shows how to craft a will that does what one wants while also avoiding the ambiguities and pitfalls that can tie an estate up in court. He covers the basics along with advanced topics, such as how to list bequests of tangible belongings so that there’s no squabbling over who gets what; how to specify a guardian for children or prevent an 18-year-old from blowing his inheritance; how to deal with the possibility that your spouse could die with you in a car crash; how to provide for a pet; and how to bequeath your gun collection without getting your executor arrested for illegal firearms transfers. Turner deals with these niceties and others in concise, no-nonsense prose; for example, he notes that specifying funeral arrangements in a will is a bad idea because “By the time someone locates your will and the executor takes the necessary steps to start acting on behalf of your estate, you will be long buried.” He also provides checklists, model clauses, and complete sample wills; these cover a multitude of contingencies from the bare-bones “Tangible list, spouse, adult children” case to a convoluted “Divorced, Tangible List, Specific Bequests, Residence Sold, Residue to Charity” case. The clear advice and specific language will give readers confidence in drafting their own wills.
A useful, reader-friendly guide to one of life’s most daunting chores.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)