I don’t plan on dying anytime soon, although I think I’ve hit my swear and bad-deeds allotment, so I could get struck down at any moment. Most parents don’t like the idea of planning for death (notice I wrote “most”). They’re haunted by the question of whom to leave the kids with should both parents meet an untimely death.
Instead of feeling morose, the question creates a fun game for Brian and me while we burn time before a movie or as we sit simmering in traffic. We envision our deaths, and then we laugh as we picture various relatives taking care of the children, a picture that always ends with said relative having a breakdown. I’m sure this is just what the after-life is like — pointing and laughing at those living.
Brian is a bona fide Eagle Scout, so the moment my E.P.T. stick read “pregnant” he was looking up life insurance companies. Within weeks, we saddled up with a nice policy that would keep our kids comfortable if Brian and I don’t make it through the next 20 years. With life insurance in place, we took the next step of planning out a will. According to Brian, making a Facebook declaration as to my wishes should I go into a coma or die does not count as a legal will. Maybe a declaration in the local paper counts?
So here I sit, debating where my two little ones should go after I float to the great beyond. It’s not an easy decision, as you have to take many factors into account — age, fondness of children, money, locality, religion, and whether or not you actually like the person.
Natural direction is to grandparents, but let’s be honest — most of you reading this already want me dead, so obviously my parents failed. Do they really deserve a do-over?
My mother-in-law is lovely and smart, and her boys are fairly normal. Her problem is she already falls victim to Scarlett’s big, blue eyes, and Benson’s giggle; add “lonely orphan” to the mix and her yard will be overflowing with ponies and a swimming pool. Both my children will drive BMWs with vanity plates reading “Indulged.” Our deaths would be the best thing that ever happened to them.
My eldest sister has two boys of her own and a giant house in Denver, and she’s all-around amazing. What could be the downfall? It would lead to certain death: Scarlett is a miniature copy of Liz. If they lived together, it would be like Marty McFly meeting himself in “Back to the Future” — one would try to destroy the other.
Luckily, I have another older sister; unfortunately, I’m fairly certain she would dye Scarlett’s hair pink and shave it in a mohawk to match Benson’s gauged ears — a gift for his second birthday.
That leaves Brian’s brother, Aaron. He’s 18 months younger, a bachelor living with his Great Dane and dachshund in a house that makes the Winchester Mansion look childproof. The kids wouldn’t make it a week. But they’d have a helluva good time in that week.
I’m twisted to laugh about death, but it’s a reality we all have to face; that and taxes. Brian printed off the paperwork, and years later I’m still dragging my feet. Now I realize this is the nicest thing I could do for my kids. In a time of heartbreak, stress and confusion, the last thing a family needs is a battle over children and money. By creating a will, I’m making the living easy for the living.
If that’s not reason enough — without a will, the state decides what happens with your estate.
Downloading the paperwork is basically free at any website. It’s a cheap service that’s not difficult to navigate, especially when you have nothing to give away, like me.
A case of “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst” is a perfect definition of a will. Although I haven’t decided who will “get” the kiddies should we meet an untimely demise, I’m certain I could employ some extortion tactics, at least between the grandparents.
I’ll be expecting gifts by the hour if they hope to remain in the running.