Every once in a while we need to be reminded that estate planning documents aren’t simply technical instruments effectuating the tax efficient transfer of assets from one generation to another. Which brings me to this wonderful description of a will in Strangers in Paradise: How Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas got to Heaven, The New Yorker, Nov. 13, 2006, at 57:
Wills are uncanny and electric documents. They lie dormant for years and then spring to life when their author dies, as if death were rain. Their effect on those they enrich is never negligible, and sometimes unexpectedly charged. They thrust living and dead into a final fierce clasp of love or hatred. But they are not written in stone—for all their granite legal language—and they can be bent to subvert the wishes of the writer.