is your house in order? a story to illustrate the point

hot off the press!

Back in 1995 – that’s twenty-three years ago when we were living in Pensacola – Rebekah and I visited our lawyer’s office to sign copies of our newly updated wills. He liked to use the traditional fountain pen so the ink was still wet on the signature page when I pulled my little red pickup truck onto the street near Seville Square downtown.

I made two turns and got onto the main road near the Civic Center, picking up speed.

“Hey I’ve got an idea,” I said, instantly changing plans and lanes. “It’s still early enough we can get brunch.” I checked the light, which was green for straight-ahead traffic, then pulled my steering wheel hard to the left.

But the light was green!

Evidently, I’d forgotten about the new exit lane that merged in from the Interstate. Consequently, we were T-boned by a fully loaded semi traveling around 45-mph. Not only does the “I” for “International” look really huge when it’s a millisecond from direct impact with the driver’s side door of a small Datsun, it is also the exact same level as the top of my window!

Our little pickup was snow-plowed sideways until everything came to a halt, leaving the door on my side up against the stick shift. I was very impressed – both with the completeness of the destruction and the fact that neither of us was severely damaged.

The point of this story is the fact that the truck hit us when the ink was still wet on our new will. Never have I seen the need for such a document illustrated so succinctly.

23-years later:

So this week – Friday afternoon – we updated our wills for the first time in twenty-three years. The documents are a little simpler now the children are no longer 11 and 13. For starters, Andrew and Naomi won’t have to go live with Aunt Rachel and Uncle Tom in the event of our untimely demise. Good to know, huh?

The plan, of course, is that we are both going to hang around long enough to spend all of our children’s inheritance.

But for now we have fresh new wills, health powers of attorney, and our living wills (directives) – all as clear as they can be.

Is your house in order? Are all your wishes set out in writing? It’s certainly worth taking a look.



Family life Live Like You Mean It relationships Uncategorized

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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