Details matter in life — and they matter just as much after you die

From the Glenview Herald, "Estates Made Easy," column with Corinne Cantwell Heggie


The Trinity Irish Dance Company performed at the Chicago Auditorium Theatre in early February for the first time in nearly two years. The lights-out performance in the venue reminded me that details matter.

Known as a National Historic Landmark and conceived as a public venue accessible for all Chicagoans, Adler and Sullivan designed the Chicago Auditorium Theatre to push the limits of modern architecture. To punctuate the spectacular lines, art captivates the eye from floor to ceiling. The theater is decorated with mosaics, bas-reliefs, and 24-carat gold-leafed ceiling arches. Details matter.

At the same theater in the early 90s, “Showboat” had a run. We attended the performance “en famille,” my father piloting the Chevy Caprice Classic station wagon to The Loop. Stubborn traffic nearly jeopardized our arrival; however, my father knew every inch of the Edens and side streets to get us to the show on time, resorting only once to the expressway’s shoulder before carpool lanes were a thing. Today, nothing brings a smile to a Cant- well family member’s face faster than singing “Ol’ Man River.” IFYKY. Details matter.

Walking to the theater south on Wabash, my father switched positions with my mother, taking the street side of the sidewalk. When my father did this walking to the parking garage after the show, I asked him why he took the street side again. He answered, “manners.” Every time John takes the street side, as he did when we saw Trinity, I am reminded that details matter.

Details matter in life. Details matter in death, too. However, people often forget the latter. When details about property, ownership and succession are not organized while you are living, chaos can descend upon family, friends, and business partners when you die. So what details matter while you are living? Friends, the answer is not to just “sign a will.” I don’t want to shock you, so I am going to explain why “signing a will” is not the best answer.

Every adult needs a will. No excuses. For parents with minor children, a will is crucial because a will is where you identify a guardian.

For anyone, a will can identify a beneficiary or beneficiaries. It is important to remember that you may have also designated beneficiaries on a bank account, retirement account, or even your home. If conflicting beneficiaries are named in your will versus your property, it will cause a problem. It will also cause a problem if a beneficiary predeceases you. When this happens, a probate judge will solve the problem. Better to avoid problems and check the details — because details matter.

The details that matter can be discerned when you answer three questions. One, what property do I own? Two, how do I own the property? Three, who gets the property when I die? The details can be kryptonite to probate court and dysfunction. Friends, details matter.



Corinne Cantwell Heggie is a principal of the Wochner Law Firm LLC in North- brook. Corinne helps people avoid asset loss, court battles and taxes, with wills, trusts and powers of attorney. Corinne lives in Glenview with her husband and law partner where her family is active in sports, ministries that support women and children in crisis, and Boy Scouts.



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Details matter in life — and they matter just as much after you die
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