Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Wills And Living Directives

It is the most unpleasant thing to think of, your own death.  We all know it is inevitable, yet so many of us do not want to think about it, let alone plan for it.  For many like myself, with several serious health issues, it should be a no-brainer.  To make the point even stronger, I have two young children who would need to be taken care of in the event of a premature passing of both my wife and I.

Over 22 years ago, I beat cancer.  Though companies refused to deal with me, because of the risk.  Four years ago, I underwent emergency life saving open heart surgery.  This past March, I battled sepsis and pneumonia.  Three major events in my life which could have ended much differently with consequences from family to adminstration.

So two days ago, Wendy and I met with our attorney to finally draw up a will, and a living directive.  I have seen all five “Final Destination” movies so I know when it is my time, it is my time, and it could happen just like that.  And there needs to be a paper trail to tell others what you want done.  Word of mouth, “knowledge” of me, political offiliation, even statements from my children would mean nothing in a court of law.

The first thing that Wendy and I had to decide was an Executor, the person for making sure the will is followed to the letter.  As our children are far from age to do this task, we decided on Wendy’s sister.  Easy enough.

Next, a trustee was needed.  Who is going to make sure that the money is used as it is directed by us?  Again, Wendy’s sister would be able to handle this, and she is quite good with money.  So no doubtedly, our daughters would be taken care of financially.

Finally, and it is a doozy, guardian.  Who would be placed in charge of the girls in the event of anything happening to Wendy or I?  This was not an easy thing for us to agree on, though for Wendy, her answer was quick and immediate, her sister Robin.

We had a conversation years ago, pre-kids about this very issue who would get our children?  Wendy was adamant, her sister and husband.  Mike had a great job with great income.  The conversation had been pre-children,  and only recently into the marriage.  But I had felt differently as I had a friend whom I looked at as a brother.  He was part of a very nice family, wife and two children as well.  But that discussion was a long time ago.

With time seemingly not on my side, especially as spontaneous as events have become, here we were sitting in front of our attorney having only a slight difference in opionion from those years ago.  Wendy was still strongly choosing her sister, while I still chose to rely on friends who showed strong family support, friends that we have kept relationships with since the day before we met our oldest daughter in China.

The difference?  I was concerned for her sister and current circumstances that would put impossible stress on an already stressful situation.  I am purely thinking of effects on our daughters.  They have already been exposed to health crisis one after another with me, which has not been fair to them.  They are small children and all I want is for them to live a child’s life during their child years.  There is no doubt that Robin and Mike would take them in as their guardians.

As in the past, I had been considering friends who had adopted with us.  Over time, we have become more like family than friends, and we have a large amount of trust in them.  But Wendy was firm, only family.  The only downside to one of our adoption families, is that most live a fair distance from us and that would mean less accessability during holidays and family get-togethers, though I am certain, that any family chosen would do their best to make sure our daughters saw our family members.  And then our attorney brought up a point that I had not even considered, even though I claim of doing what is best for them.  If our daughters end up without us, due to an unfortunate accident, their lives will be upset enough.  How unfair and upsetting would it be to them, if they were uprooted and forced to move away from their family and friends.

And so, in preparing for a situation that we never hope occurs, all the discussion over a hypothetical situation, we, we have decided on Aunt Robin and Uncle Mike.

The Living Directive… that is another post.

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