Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Yesterday I looked death in the face. I stood nose to nose with my own mortality. I contemplated the end of my life under solemn and grave circumstances.
Yesterday I signed my Last Will and Testament.
It's the responsible thing to do. And it's not actually the first time we've done this. But it has been a while since Terry and I last did our wills and some things have changed since then. Like, for instance, the number of our children. So it was time to make new wills. We actually started discussing this last month after a visit with a financial planner. We learned several important things during that visit. Such as the fact that we will never have enough money to retire and that we are worth very little presently. Neither of those facts were very surprising.
The financial planner also said he would strongly suggest we update our wills. He gave us forms to fill our with regard to our preferences and wishes and told us to send them back when they were done. Since we don't have that much stuff to dispose of you wouldn't think these things would take much decisions. But there were a few details to consider. Like the disposition of our underage children. I mean, we love them, but not everyone we know would want to take in four lively boys.
We also had the "durable" problem. You know, the durable power of attorney, the durable power of attorney for assets, the durable power of attorney for health care. The living will. It's so complicated. Who's going to take care of our stuff and who's going to take care of our kids and who's going to take care of us. Matthew's twenty, but that's still a lot to put on him. So we ended up putting the kids' guardians in charge of everything for the good of the kids. Matt gets the job if something happens to the guardians.
Matt had a few questions when we told him. Terry explained the durable power of attorney over healthcare and the living will as succinctly as possible. His basic explanation? "The longer you leave us plugged in, the more money it will cost." I was touched by the sentiment.
Our belongings were another problem. Not that we have tons of stuff, but some of it is special to the kids. The way things are set up, the guardians have control of everything for the purpose of taking care of the kids. Matt wasn't sure he liked that. After all, there are some things he didn't want to ever lose. Like his father's firearm collection. And the mounted deer heads on our wall. Important stuff. We finally convinced him that this was where trust came in. If we could trust the guardians with our kids, we could trust them to do what's best for all of them. We could trust them to respect our wishes and the feelings of our children when it came to using or selling our worldly goods. I did find it curious that Matthew wanted his dad's things, but didn't seem to need any reminder that I had ever inhabited the earth.
And so we spent almost an hour yesterday afternoon going through all the paperwork and signing our names in numerous places. The last time we signed that many papers we walked away with a house. This time we were just signing so people know what to do with the house once we're gone. It was a little depressing. But you know what? I've known for a long time that we weren't going to leave much materially. What's far more important to me is that we leave our children with a strong sense of character. That we equip them with the knowledge and talents they will need to serve the Lord with all their heart and soul and mind. If they live their lives for Him, that will be the best legacy we could ever leave behind us.
Even so, would it kill them to ask for one small item of mine to keep as a remembrance? It doesn't have to be a "girly" item. After all, I have firearms too.