Tuesday, June 21, 2011

After the Dust has Settled

A conversation with a friend brings me to this post about what it means for the long term when you're a full-time single parent.

So you've gotten your divorce, you have sole legal custody, you've found your routine as a single parent family. Congratulations!

At some point, a fear creeps in: what happens if something happens to you?

If you're in a situation like mine, where your ex is not a viable option to care for your children (and you have sole legal custody), you need to get your will & last testament in order to ensure that your children are left with the right person(s). As soon as I had the final legal decree, I went onto LegalZoom, got my legal papers in order, and handed them to my father so that he would already have everything he needed if something happened to me. (While you're there, you should also do a living trust.)

But that wasn't all.

I realized that someone would need to know my banking & other financial information. I suppose through the court process, they could find out eventually, but it seemed a lot easier to just pass that info along to my sister.

And someone should probably notify blog readers, so a friend has my google account information.

And, as I'm writing this, another thought occurs to me. I should probably leave some final thoughts to my daughters. Of course, those thoughts will change with each year as they grow older, so I think on (or around) my birthday, I should write them each a letter, and I've asked a friend to please make sure they get them.

The more I write this, the more I realize it's not just for single parents. While some couples may talk about this, there's also the possibility that a couple may go together (I remember attending one such funeral). I think that might be one of the reasons why I'm spreading the wealth; my parents know some, my sister knows other, and a few friends know the rest. That's something couples might want to think about as well.

I know, most people don't like to think about death. It's just that when I do think about it, I prefer to be productive about it!


Tara R. said...

I have worried about this for a long time. My children are both of 'legal age' but with a special needs child, I worry about what would happen to him if his father and I weren't around. I really need to get my legal matters in order. Thanks for this important reminder.

Missy June said...

I write letter to each of my children on THEIR birthdays. I've left important documentation with my parents and a copy in the house with clear instructions.

Yes, it's best to be productive about rather than avoid the hard stuff.

Anonymous said...

In my Personal Finance class we discussed leaving a will. This is something I have always passed off as a "meh" thing. But then my grandmother died and my mom had to deal with EVERYTHING (because none of her 5 siblings would). She had to sign over my g'ma's house to an uncle who was trying to buy it, she had to pay off what little debt my g'ma had, settle her estate, etc. God, it was awful. Both my mom and I realized very quickly, that having a will is a MUST. Great post, April!

Mandy said...

I did make new arrangements following my divorce and I promised my friend who would be my executor that I would write it down for her. But I haven't - now I'm going to hear you bugging me until I do ...

Cat said...

I have a "master doc" that my mom has. Jase is out of town right now, and it's taken me back to my "just me and the boy" day fears that I will collapse and die and he will be alone and hungry until someone figures out I'm missing. I used LegalZoom for my will too, it's great. Now that I'm remarried guess I need to update.

Lifeofkaylen said...

You are ON TOP of things!!! I don't have this stuff done now, and my son is 18...I certainly didn't think about it when he was younger and I was a single mom. I know I certainly should have!!!