Have you prepared a Will ? Have you appointed a Guardian?

Photo by Landon Hendrick Photography 
Motherhood is so amazing. The moment I became a mother, I feel like my whole life changed. I was now responsible for a little life. I knew that everything that I did from that point on would play a role in the future for my daughters life. Along with that very real sense of responsibility  also came so much joy and happiness. I was excited for what was to come. I was excited for the sleepless nights that awaited me because I knew that they would be sleepless because this perfect little person that I created needed me. Although exhausting, it was something Landon and I had planned for and we were just so ready to be the best parents that we could be.

After a while, the chaos of having a new baby at home settled down. We were in the most blissful state in our life. I can't quite remember what brought the topic up but Landon and I started talking about what would happen if God forbid, something unfortunate were to happen to both of us. Who would watch over our girls? How can we prepare to make the transition as easy as possible for our loved ones? Who would we appoint to handle our estate? How can we make sure that our wishes are carried out? All of a sudden a dark cloud of worry hovered over us! We never had to worry about this before, and it felt like it was a huge risk we would be taking if we didn't get this taken care of.

So where do we begin? The first step that we took was to appoint a guardian. We thought very carefully about this. After all this would be their new parents. We wanted someone that had the same values, and beliefs as we did. It was very important that this person was someone that they knew and trusted and that had been present in their life. This was so hard! You never realize how cocky you are until its time to pick someone that you feel is as good or better than you to raise your child. Regardless of the qualities you consider to decide whether they could be your child's guardian, the next step is to have the conversation. You want to make sure that this person is willing and wants to take on this huge responsibility. Landon and I sat down with the person we were considering in the order  of which we preferred. Thank God, the first person on our list met was ecstatic and honored to be appointed guardianship over our girls. It was a HUGE sense of relief! Step one. Check!

Photo by Landon Hendrick Photography
The next step we took was to put finances in order. We calculated the cost of all of our debt, college for the girls, and living and realized that we needed to up our life insurance. Raising kids can be expensive and the last thing that I wanted was to burden financially the appointed guardian. We immediately contacted our life insurance and bumped it up. We also changed the beneficiaries. We hadn't realized that our girls weren't even listed on there as beneficiaries. We updated all the beneficiaries on our 401k, mortgage insurance and accounts. It is important to do this! I've heard nightmare stories about money staying in limbo because nothing was prepared prior. The last thing you want is for your children not to have access to this money and now they aren't just dealing with the grief of loosing you now they are dealing with their entire foundation falling apart. It's just too much! 

"How do I ensure that my wishes are carried out?" At this point I've done all this work and now I was faced with "how the heck do I make sure that the money is handled correctly. How do I make sure that the girls end up with the guardian we had so carefully elected?" Just saying "This is what I would like" isn't enough. At the end of the day once your dead, your dead and there's no way you can reinforce  it. Plus I wanted to make sure that the money was used to pay off debt and our house first. I didn't want the money to get blown before the girls even entered high school so I wanted to appoint an allowance and then set up a trust fund for money that they couldn't touch until college and then another amount once they graduated college or hit a certain age. We all know how money can make great people get greedy and selfish so I was really concerned with how can I legally enforce this once I'm dead. How can I make sure that the money is used for my daughters and not something else. A WILL and a TRUST! The next step is to prepare your will with all the details that you have already thought of. You can find a lawyer and get all of this prepared. It can get pretty expensive our you can contact your church. Our church actually had this resource available. They offered a lawyer that would help process our will and give us legal advice. 

Photo by Landon Hendrick Photography 
Life isn't guaranteed. You are here one day and can be gone the next. My hopes are that in reading this post you were able to analyze what would happen if you were to not be here for your children anymore. What would happen to them? Who would take care of them? What will happen to your debt? Will your children inherit your debt before they even get a chance to begin life? Will the person you appoint to care for them be able to financially care for them? Have you bought a life insurance? Have you updated your beneficiaries? Are your funeral expenses covered, or will your children be faced with having to cover that cost? Have you prepared a will to ensure that your wishes are honored? I hope that this blog gives you an idea where to start! I know that just having to think of not being here to protect my girls was overwhelming and I just did not know where to begin. Hopefully my experience will help yours be a little easier. Below are some resources to assist you in getting started.

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