Terry Pratchett and the Steamroller: a lesson in unusual requests

Terry Pratchett, famed author of the ‘Discworld’ series of satirical fantasy novels, passed back in 2015. He may have been a citizen of the United Kingdom, but watching his estate teaches a good lesson on how proper planning is done. He had a will which specifically handled is multi-million-pound estate. However, more importantly, he talked his last wishes out with his loved ones to ensure even his most unusual requests are honored.

As a prolific author, Mr. Pratchett had several books he was working on at the time of his death. Since he had fair warning, he made sure to tell his friends what he wanted to happen to those unpublished works. On August 25, 2017, that wish was fulfilled thanks to the help of a bonafide steam-powered vintage steamroller. As fellow author and friend Neil Gaiman had told the press previously, Mr. Pratchett had asked that all his computers and work “…be put in the middle of a road and for a steamroller to steamroll over them all.” The idea being the author did not want anyone trying to finish and publish what he had still been working on. Fortunately, sufficient instructions and liquidity was available to be sure the odd desire was fulfilled in excruciating detail.

Requesting such a bizarre task may be on your wish list, and if so, you can learn from this tale. First, and most important, is to make sure the wishes are not a secret. Telling your loved ones and additionally getting it in writing is a great way to know it will be on their minds. Second, making sure there is enough liquid funds set aside as needed can be the difference between a hope and reality. While loved ones may be willing to go out of pocket to see ashes spread on a faraway beach, it is much more likely if there is a provision that the cost be paid for by your trust or estate. Those two together can ensure almost anything happen after your passing. It may seem like a far-off situation, but as we discussed last year, even David Bowie was not buried where he wanted because no one knew about his request until he was already in the ground. (read more here: http://thedaytonlawfirm.com/2016/02/bowies-last-request-who-decides-where-you-are-buried-or-cremated/)

For more details, including pictures of the steamroller, see BBC’s report on the rolling here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-dorset-41093066