Friday, May 23, 2008

Where There's a Will

I have never been the world's best grown-up. I am not organized. I am not great with investing. I do not pick up after myself and most of the time, if given the choice between ice cream and video games versus a dinner party and conversation, I would choose the former.

Having a kid has changed some of that and for the past 16 months, the nagging feeling that we SHOULD have a will, that we SHOULD have life insurance and that we SHOULD name guardians has been plaguing me.

Many of the young parents I know do not have any of these things, which is why it has been easy to ignore. But when it started to wake me up at night, I knew it was time to take action.

Last month, I called our financial planner (as I said, I am not good with investing, luckily one can hire someone to do all the grown-up things in their lives) and set up an appointment to chat about life insurance. Let me assure you that this conversation is neither pleasant nor fun. How much is my life worth? The same or less than my spouse's? These conversations conjure up lovely images of my funeral and the flowers that we will have. They conjure images of R dating after my death and how I plan to haunt him mercilessly until he agrees to be alone forever. As if I would tolerate dating. Please.

But I digress.

As you can see, I am not particularly comfortable around the topic of death and what would happen should we encounter it. It is an unpleasant, unwelcome intrusion into my otherwise happy life. What is a million dollars if I have no husband, after all? The thought kind of makes me want to go to bed, curl into the fetal position, suck my thumb and refuse to emerge for a week or until the big, bad insurance reps leave me alone. But I have to think about it. And so R and I have spent the last month shoring up our insurance coverage in case of our untimely deaths.

I have learned much about insurance scams and false investments. R and I haver been subject to countless blood tests, EKGs, weight analyses and other medical tests to test our insurability. And p.s., in an added salt on the wound kind of logic, I get to pay more for my insurance thanks to my mother's untimely death. So now I have both emotional and financial penalties thanks the suckiest event of my life thus far. Fabulous.

The will, on the other hand, is a stickier issue. We hired a lawyer about six months ago. It should be an easy process. But every time I go to email him the details he needs, I start to flip out. Maybe it is because I know the worst can happen. I cannot imagine anyone raising my child besides me (and R, of course). By naming a guardian, I am entrusting someone with the most important thing in my life and I am not naive enough to believe it could never happen.

When I think of the best people to raise my child, I think of a number of factors: age, income level, location, etc. I think of the family in which I would most want to be raised. We have a short list and some people who have already agreed to do it. But the idea of putting pen to paper is really daunting. Every time I go to write it, I start to wonder if the decision is the right one.

This is rather unlike me. I am not normally this indecisive. But somehow this incredibly grown-up task makes me want to avoid, avoid, avoid. I know it must be done. And I know I have to get there. I have just never done anything quite this important before. And it scares me to death.

(sorry, could not resist a little more morbid humor...)


Lis Garrett said...

Although my husband and I took out a life-insurance plan when we were married 9 years ago, it wasn't until our youngest was almost 5 months old that we secured a will. Like you, our hesitation was due to the fact we had trouble coming up with an appropriate guardian. My mother is a recovering alcoholic and can barely take care of herself. My sister has three children and was in an unstable marriage (they are now divorcing). Finally, we named my husband's sister . . . even though they already have three children, too, and live in Ireland. It's a tough decision, but definitely necessary.

Kristi said...

We've had life insurance for awhile now, but we do not have a will. It's sort of "understood" that if something should happen to the two of us, my mom would raise Isabella, although reading this is a good reminder that I need to get this put in writing.