by Brian Tomasik
First written: 19 Nov. 2014; last update: 12 Mar. 2015
This page outlines my feelings about my end-of-life care and after-death asset transfers. It's probably not of interest to most readers.
I know this page isn't legally binding, but I have legally binding durable power of attorney (in general and for health purposes) given to Jonah Sinick. So at the very least, this document can inform him. It's also possible that having a long public record of my wishes (including on Internet Archive, assuming that still exists decades from now) would make it harder to contest them?
In 2011, I created an official will and associated documents with Lyle M. Clark, Jr., Attorney at Law, in Bellevue, WA, USA. Right now it's located on a black shelf in a clear plastic bag next to my treadmill in my current place of residence. I also sent a copy to my dad.
I still agree with most of what it says. The main thing that has changed over time is the charity where I want my assets to go.
I'm unlikely to die before the second half of the 21st century, but I created this will early just in case. It's especially important if I get into an accident or have a sudden medical emergency that leaves me incapacitated.
My health care directive mostly says standard stuff about favoring pain relief over longevity if it looks like I'm pretty likely to die. This is very important to me and was my original impetus for writing this page. I especially like this sentence from the directive:
I request that medication be mercifully administered to me for terminal suffering even if it hastens the moment of death.
If it's pretty certain I'm going to die, I want to just die as soon as possible, with the primary goal of minimizing pain and the secondary goal of minimizing wasteful hospital expenses.
In fact, when I enter old age, I plan to move to a state that allows physician-assisted suicide to make sure I can avail myself of that option, which seems probably the best way to die. I hope and expect more states will legalize it between now and ~2065 (a rough guess of when I might die).
I hope I would end up in a medical facility that respects my health directive, and if not, I hope I'd be moved to one that would apply more pain relief and less life sustenance, unless the pain costs of moving would exceed the benefits.
Where my assets go
In 2011 when I created my will, I chose Vegan Outreach to receive my assets when I died. Since then, better charities have come along.
- Currently I would give all my assets to the Foundational Research Institute (FRI) if this can be done tax-deductibly through GiveWell or if FRI has a direct US deduction vehicle.
- If that doesn't work, and if the tax on assets left to FRI exceeds ~30% (such as because of a high estate tax), I would instead leave the assets to the top USA-deductible charity listed in "My Donation Recommendations" in descending order of their "Expected impartial value" numbers. Non-taxed assets (e.g., below an estate-tax threshold) should still go to FRI.
- If FRI doesn't exist at all, I would again defer to the top-ranked charity in "My Donation Recommendations", or specifically to the top-ranked USA-deductible charity if taxes are high for a non-deductible one.
- If none of these charities exists by the time I die and if I haven't kept this piece up-to-date, I would ask the person who has power of attorney (Jonah Sinick) where I would have wanted my assets to go, considering both the value of the charity and tax implications.
I'm sure my top charity choice will change many more times into the future, but it's not worth the cost of changing my official will every few years because the probability of my dying soon isn't high enough.
I created a video in which I verify that I'm the author of this piece. It was recorded 12 Mar. 2015.