Do you consider yourself a prepared person or….would you describe yourself as more of a “free spirit?”
I’m of the belief that everyone should have a will. My biggest conundrum is: what do you do when you don’t have kids? We have no one to leave our assets to. Most parents can leave anything and everything to their children, and with it goes most of the responsibility and decision making. I’m the youngest of 4, and Mike is the youngest of 2. When you don’t have kids, who do you leave money and/or things to? Is this why we have a will? I believe that I had better speak up if I want to have a say, and it turns out I wanna have a say. Mike probably believes that’s important too, but I think if I left it up to him, we would not have a will in place today. It’s just easy to put off. And how grim? Who wants to talk about when we’re not around, and morbid things? No one that’s who! I’m guessing it has something to do with our childhoods.
I grew up in a household where I’d say my parents were very responsible. Getting eyes tested and teeth checked was seen to regularly, and I feel like they planned for and invested in their future, bought insurance, and probably had a will among other things I don’t even know about. My parents were very private about their finances.
Mike describes no such thing, and I think his upbringing was about the opposite of mine. We were allowed no candy, or pop, or junk food really. We’d snack on popcorn, Rice Krispy Cake, and have cinnamon toast and hot chocolate after public skating…but the aforementioned were major treats. Mike could go down to the local grocery store, and charge a 2L pop, a bag of chips, and 2 candy bars pretty much whenever he wanted to his parents tab. I was like “you could what?” Never heard of such a thing.
I wanted to make a will but I didn’t know how to go about it, and I didn’t want it to be a huge expense. So I tried to do one of those will kits. There was no way…just too hard for me to understand the legal jargon, and decided DIY was off the table. (See…a prime example of how “not knowing how” can put the brakes on something pretty quickly.)
We paid a lawyer to get our wishes squared away on paper. The annoying part is when life changes, your will changes, and I didn’t want to pay a lawyereach time to make the changes. So eventually I figured out what works best for me. We got the big stuff officially updated after we moved into our new home with our lawyer, but I keep a file in the computer of the little stuff that is to be carried out by our executors. It can change as often as I want to change it. It’s not legally binding, but what executor wouldn’t want some instruction? And these are the things that change often.
My friends/coworkers laugh at me when we are about to leave on vacation and I’m frantically making the final revisions to that document. “PS…Rocky likes to be scratched behind the ears”. I can’t help it…I care what happens to Rocky, and I care about the delicate dessert dish left to me by my grandmother to ensure it stays in the family. (All of us granddaughters got one of a whole set.) I care that the people who mean something to us are remembered, and that our absence isn’t a burden. Call it “Type A”, or call it whatever, but I just think I’m being responsible. Isn’t every adult supposed to be responsible?
I used making a will to make a point.Think of when you were learning to swim, skate, ride a bike, play baseball, use a calculator, work out, mow the lawn, drive, find an address in a big city, go traveling, having a relationship, starting a new job. Anything at all you were uncertain about over time seems laughable because you know your way around that terrain all too well.
How many things do we plan to do “someday”, but that day never really seems to come? What is holding us back? How is a household budget really any different? I wouldn’t describe it as daunting as making a will, although there are people out there who would disagree with me. My budget system and I go back 25 years, so no wonder I treat it like it’s an old friend. I wouldn’t dream of going even one month without it! Any unchartered territory is going to be scary at first. But like anything, the first step is just to start.