Unfortunately, my sisters and I had to start talking about Dad’s funeral. It’s hard. Really hard. Trying to decide what to do when he passes. As we’re wrestling with some decisions, I’m really really glad that a few years back I hounded him to make a will. I have one, and (I don’t think) I’m anywhere needing to have it in place. But it’s there, just in case I’m wrong (it’s rare, but it has happened before…).
In his case, we were looking to make sure that there wouldn’t be any fighting between his survivors. In my case, I wanted a will to be sure that what I wanted for my children was taken care of.
It’s one of the hardest things to do
To say it’s hard is an understatement, to confront the end of your own life and what could happen afterwards.
In my case, the Army makes my husband write a will. So we had to sit down and think about what our wishes were in the event that he died. It’s not that big of a stretch then to sit down and think about what happens if I die, or if we both die. We’re already there, talking about it, making a plan, writing our will.
I’m going to be honest, it’s not pleasant thinking about what happens to you, or your spouse, or your kids, if someone dies. But I’m willing to push past the discomfort for the sake of my kids.
The lack of a will, a plan, of written instructions/wishes, could be hugely detrimental to the well-being of my kids. The idea that my discomfort could lead to something bad for them just isn’t acceptable to me. So I push past through the discomfort. And make a plan.
Make a Plan
Who gets the kids? Who gets the life insurance money? It doesn’t have to be the same person.
What happens if the person of our choice isn’t able (or willing) at the time that we actually pass? We made a plan for that, too. We spent weeks hashing out the what-ifs. With a huge time span between our three kids, we had to think about who could care for them. His parents are older. So are mine. One sister’s kids are much older than ours. Another sister has three, all between our 2nd and 3rd child. Is asking her to take on three more too much??
We went round and round on it all. Everything we could think of. The concerns each of us had about each of our choices. Some things were compromises. Some things we were in perfect agreement about. But we had the talk. We discussed it. Everything. Everything we could think of. And then after talking to others, more things that we hadn’t thought of.
Peace of Mind
In the end, I had the peace of mind that what we want, what we hashed out between the two of us, is what is likely to happen. We have a will. I don’t have to worry that the State will get involved. No temporary state-appointed guardian or foster care while the State decides who would be the best guardian for my children. The State won’t be sending our estate (such as it is—sorry kids!!) to probate to spend time in limbo, while they decide what our estate is worth and how it should be handled. Our chosen executor will handle making sure that kids get what they need—how we outlined it. We have life insurance to make sure that if the worst happens to us, the kids are taken care of. But I want to make sure the kids are actually taken care of—how we envision.
In the end, despite the discomfort of thinking about how my kids would have to be raised by someone other than me, and the sadness that comes with thinking about what I would miss, I’m really glad that I made a will. I’m glad I can rest easy knowing that if the worst happens, there can be a seamless follow-through of what I want for them.
It doesn’t matter what you want: all the kids with one person, each with a different person, money going to their guardian, money in a trust, a separate person managing their trust—it’s all something you can do. You just have to think it through and spell it out in your will.
You can do it!! If I can, you can!