13 10/01/2012 parenting Family

Where there’s a will…

Today is October 1st. It has been one month since we lost Scott.

I spent most of the month with my sister and my niece, supporting them in their grieving process. Grieving with them.
I sat at my kitchen table with my sister as she was on phone call after phone call, sending emails and faxes to various places to tie up the loose ends of Scott’s estate.  Banks. Insurance companies. Service Canada. Service Ontario.
So much paperwork. My oldest sister did much of the form-filling-out with Kelly.
It was a hard thing to watch. All this official business, all the paperwork that needs to be done. All while you are in mourning.
It made me realize that Sean and I need to get our shit together. Kelly and Scott had everything in order. They had comprehensive wills drawn up a few years ago and Kelly still had weeks worth of work to do sorting everything out.
We need a will. We don’t have one. And I realized why two weeks ago, when I sent Sean a text after a particularly draining morning at my mums. It read:
Sean omg. We do not have our shit together. 
If I am learning anything from this process it’s that we need to get our shit together. We need a will.
Sean’s reply? “Yup. Can you pick up some ketchup please

So ya. That’s why we don’t have a will. It’s uncomfortable to talk about because you are forced to think about things you do not want to think about.
Like who will care for your children should something happen to you and your spouse.
And asking those people if they would be willing to take on that massive task.
Replacing our empty ketchup is easier than creating a will.

After a few weeks of short, heated conversations, I made Sean face the uncomfortable. We made some important decisions and made some important inquiries to trusted people.
There is one thing that is extremely unsettling and that we both have a hard time facing.
We have a special needs child who may (or may not) require care into adulthood.  If he does require care or some sort of support as an adult, who do we ask to take on that responsibility should anything happens to Sean and I?  
We really try to live in the present with autism, because we don’t know what the future holds. Our greatest hope is that he will live an independent life, full of meaningful relationships. We expect that will happen, but we would be remiss if we didn’t also have a “backup plan”.
I have talked to my parents and my sisters, they have all put my mind at ease. 
Sort of. Okay – not really.
But the difficult conversations have taken place and soon it will be official (holy geez these things aren’t cheap!) and legal and we can put the notarized envelopes in our safe and forget about them. 

I’m curious how many people have a will. Or don’t. Do you?  
Was it a difficult task for you or were you able to do it without too much emotion?

  • Sara

    So sorry for your all your family is going through Christine! Good for you for getting your will’s done – I did mine last year (Where there’s a Will…there’s a will). the guardianship discussions are awkward etc – but it’s still so vital to have it all in place.

  • joliessmiling

    This is a wonderful blog, thank you Christine (and Kelly!) for sharing your sorrow so others may benefit. My neighbour left us suddenly and no will was availiable for his wife and 3 boys. I can tell you that it was a huge mess to straighten out. 5 years later she is still dealing with the afteraffects.
    I do have one but it is a good reminder to keep it updated. You just don’t know what will happen. In the last 2 months I have lost 4 people in my world, one was only 33 and another was 47. It can and does happen. If we spent 1/10 the time and money on the future of our kids as we do on their daycare or running them to sports than this would be a no brainer wouldn’t it?

  • Amanda

    I am so sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your brother-in-law. We too have put off creating a will but really, REALLY need to get on it. We are hoping to go away on a holiday this winter, just me and my husband and I am half-convinced we will go down with the plane (I am an anxious flyer) so I am going to make it my New Year’s resolution to get one done before we leave.

  • Jen

    We have a will but some things have changed since we created it so we really need to make a few amendments. Thanks for the reminder!
    As hard as these things are when you are grieving I did find, in some ways, they were a welcome distraction at times. Thinking of you all. xo

  • Kath

    Christine, my heart breaks for you and your family.
    I had a will when I was married, but now that I’m separated I guess I need to get one on my own. Thanks for the reminder, although I’m sorry it had to come from such a terribly sad place.

  • Amy

    I think we have talked about this before, we have a will but it really needs to be updated , I am incredibly sad and hurt that the people we approached to care for our special needs child into adulthood…. Said no…it was a hard thing for them to admit, but they couldn’t do it….
    I get it… I logically get it… But doesn’t make the pain any less. So i feel screwed, can’t ask my brother… You know why… And now I feel more screwed and torn because with no one left to ask… Unless time changes some things, it falls to his younger brother.. Not something I like to do…. He’s 9… But one day soon this will all be discussed, placed, and thrust onto him…my little one… Is it fair? Will he be ok taking care of his brother, like I have been taking care of My brother? And in the meantime… Until he grows up, we just can’t die.
    Got half my shit together, just don’t know what to do with it….
    Proud of you for doing it, xoxoxox

  • Julie

    the one thing we had to change was who was allowed to “pull the plug” if both of us were incapacitated cuz i had my mom but she said no way. i asked my brother to be the one and he said yes rather too quickly! 🙂
    putting it off makes no sense since we’re all going to die! no surprise there! i think it’s doubly important with you not knowing what the future holds for C.
    but after we got the will tucked in and put to bed i felt relief! i know it felt good to get life insurance, too, and i said to my hubby that it’s great knowing that the house would be all paid up! then he said, but one of us has to die first…oh right!

  • Tracey

    We have to do the same thing, Christine – and you’re right: it never feels good to think about the what-ifs… we have insurance and things, but we haven’t sorted out guardianship properly yet. This is a good reminder to get on things.
    Sending love your way, lady. xox

  • Sara

    No will. Have talked about it so many times. Have even called a lawyer. Just haven’t made the appt. Not because we’re too emotional, but because we’re too busy. In light of your story, I know that this is not something we should put off doing….

  • Leslie

    We do have a will and I am so glad that is taken care of!! One less thing to do on my list. Good for you for getting it organized, it is hard to do but once it is done, you will sleep better, I promise!!

  • Kelly Campbell Rutherford

    This was the first thing I saw this morning and I was so pleased!!! I’d really like the word out about having a will. Scott and I having a will made the paperwork easy. Well, not easy but more straight forward. No one needs extra problems in deep mourning and grief.
    We did pay the bucks and sit down with a lawyer who did it all for us ($800.00) three years ago but I understand you can do it yourself and take it to a notary public. It is cheaper but more work on your part. The main point is make sure your assets are clearly left to your heirs and the executor (who will oversee the money) has the power to take over your finances. We thought of it a year before we did it. I never thought I’d need it.
    It has been a month since Scott died and it has been a journey. I still don’t know what hit me most days. I have been offered so much love, support and comfort during this horrific time. My family has been brought tighter, more together and is strongly connected.
    I really, really miss my sweetheart…

  • kimmyz

    We have a will. Created it after our first daughter was born. never amended it but it included all future children so our second is cared for as well. It also included power of attorney and the other term??? um, can’t be bothered to goggle it right now but who is to take care of you if you can not take care of yourself, if the spouse is no longer there, more caregiver than just power of attorney. It was non emotional at the time a very distant future preparation. We also have life insurance separate from any company benefits (good considering we are now self-employed and have no benefits)
    What people do not understand about the “official” part of the after death process is how long it takes. There is insurance and government forms and banking forms and forms and forms and forms. It takes upwards of 18 months to get all things settled. This is often why they recommend the executor of a will is not also one of the beneficiaries. It’s a LOT of work and lawyer apts. and travel and gaining signatures in the case of adult siblings of a parent’s estate.
    Oh and THEN you have to create a NEW will if you are the surviving spouse. Things do change.
    Heavy sigh. It is life though, just the uncomfortable part we secretly hope we never have to deal with or go through but know deep down its inevitable.
    Hoping there are happier days ahead for you. 🙂

  • linz

    Christine..firstly I am so sorry for your families loss, how heartbreaking for you all.. your post made me think.. i dont have a will either and i really need to get on this..
    do you have RESP’s for him.. if u do you can have a trustee so he can be supervised with the money.. if you put in 1500 each year the government puts in 2000.. he will have over 800,000 by the time he is 60.. but you dont want anyone taking advantage of him. ex: if he were to get married, and sadly seperate.. his wife could not touch the resp as they are in trust.. I only found out this recently and have been dealing with a company in Milton.. it just makes me feel better knowing Logan will have some money waiting for him..

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