I don’t ever want to be a vegetable. I’m not ready to die. I certainly don’t want to lose my husband. Honestly, I don’t even want to ever think about such things. Imagining any of them is too painful and it’s much easier if I don’t. Until I think about what would happen if I didn’t. And so I do…
We just met with the lawyer and completed all of the legal documents necessary should something happen to one or both of us. We’ve been putting it off for years, and now that we have completed it I am not sure why we waited so long. Actually, I am embarrassed to admit that we have an eight year old and a sixteen month old and that we haven’t put the time into intentionally planning for what would happen should one or both of us die. It’s hard to actually type these words but if something happened to us prior to this week; some random person from the state would decide who would be the new guardians of our children and our money and belongings would have been divided based on state law.
Sadly, though, we are not alone. Most recent studies over the last few years show that nearly half of all Americans who have children (or less) do not have a will. The typical reasons for putting off this important responsibility were true for us…we didn’t want to make the difficult choices, we didn’t want to think about dying, the cost was unknown so we put it off, and we were too busy with the stresses of today to think about tomorrow.
Many people think that there’s no use in making a will because they have no assets or because they only have debt. If you are of this mindset, here is a new perspective for you to consider: If you are killed in a car accident and the other driver is under the influence, your estate could be awarded millions of dollars from a wrongful death suit. Without a will, the state decides who gets this money. Yikes.
If you or someone you love have ever lost a parent that did not have a will, my guess is that you are much more motivated to get your own will in order so that your family and friends do not have to go through the nightmare of wading through a mess and figuring out what to do. And it’s really not that bad.
Our attorney suggested the following legal documents: A living will (to specify our wishes should we become a vegetable), a power of attorney (specifies who can act on your behalf for all legal matters), a last will and testament (specifies what we want to happen should we die) with a trust for the kids (specifies how we want any money to be distributed and when).
It can take anywhere from one to three visits with your attorney (many times they will come to you if they are from a smaller firm) and the cost can range from only a few hundred dollars to thousands depending on the complexity of your needs. Ours was one lower end since everything was fairly simple in our plans. If you’d like to get your will taken care of in a quick and affordable manner, are in the Central Indiana area, and would like an attorney referral, message me and I’d be happy to send ours.
This was a very healthy exercise for my husband and I go through. We learned a lot about one another and what our wishes are….it got us talking about if we’d like to be buried or cremated (so who knew that my husband would like to be turned into a diamond and pawned?), how to handle tough decisions if we were incapacitated and many other things that we didn’t really know about one another. I am still laughing about the question about healthcare choices. Imagine my husband reading these out loud as I answer them…
Please select Y or N for each of these questions. If you select the first option, you don’t need to answer 2 & 3, as you will have turned power over to your representative.
1. N/Y I intentionally make no decision concerning artificially supplied nutrition and hydration, leaving the decision to my health care representative.
2. N/Y If I have an incurable illness and will die soon, but procedures may artificially prolong the dying process, I want such procedures withheld (excluding those which alleviate pain).
3. N/Y I wish to receive artificially supplied nutrition and hydration, even if the effort to sustain life is futile or excessively burdensome to me.
“Umm, hell yes to number three, I want you to at least TRY to save me!” Actually, upon further thought I chose one but he knows not to give up on me too easily.
So what about you…Will you or won’t you make it legally clear what is to happen when you die?