who could? who should? who would?

I am a pretty anal, type-A sort of person about a lot of things in my life. I love spreadsheets and lists and having my ducks in a row… (though nottypea has brought it to my attention that perhaps I am more like her and actually have “Type A aspirations and Type B execution – almost always with disastrous results.” 🙂

This brings me to my failure to get a family will drawn up. I mean, where do you start? Do I create one online for cheap? Should we hire a lawyer? Who could/should/would raise our kid(s) if something awful happened to us?

So many questions, and since they’re ones I hope never to answer, I guess I’ve just buried my head in the sand thus far. Now that there are both a mortgage and a child in my life though, I guess it’s time to put my big girl panties on and deal with this! I’ll start off by answering the PAIL prompts:

  • Do you have a will? When did you draw it up and what sorts of things did you decide on with regard to guardianship?
    • No, we don’t have a will. This is definitely getting moved up on the priority list though. Stella has two sets of Godparents – Charlie’s brother and his wife, and my sister and her husband. Honestly, both would be great guardians, so I’m not too worried about this particular part of the process. I guess we should have the conversation though about who should actually be designated as guardians and make sure that they’re on board with that. Hm…
  • Where do you live? Are you in a house you hope to stay in for years? A city you’re desperate to escape? Are you farther than you’d like to be from family (or, ahem, too close for comfort)?
    • We bought our house about 3 years ago, but I’m not sure what we’ll do long term. It’s only 1,400 sq. ft. – and it was a 2bed+loft until Charlie turned the loft into a nursery for Stella. Right now, we are in the upstairs bedroom across the stairway landing from Stella, and the downstairs master we use as a guest room. I guess moving or not will depend on if we have any more children. For now, we like where we’re at, and it works for us. However, we’re not sure if Charlie’s parents will stay here forever, and my parents live 1,100 miles away, so if we end up here without family close, I’d be more inclined to move to a larger city. Right now we live in a town with a population of < 1000. Ya, it’s small. I’d love to live closer to Denver for job opportunity and travel reasons. My husband would prefer Phoenix. Ew. So far, we’re staying put here in rural Colorado!
  • Does the size of your world match your family’s needs (ie, do you need a bigger car or a house with an additional bedroom if you have another child)?
    • Nope! If we get blessed with a 2nd child, we definitely want a bigger car (we love the Acadia), and probably a bigger house, or at least an addition on the one we have. Both the house and the car were bought pre-Stella when we weren’t even sure we would be able to have ONE child, let alone two. I suppose the IFer side of me is afraid of “sizing up” until/if there’s actually a second child in my arms though.
  • What about the details, like “my sister would be the guardian for our son but she has no idea what he likes to eat for breakfast”?
    • I’m actually not worried about this at all. We are blessed to both have really close, loving families, and since love is the main need and Stella would have plenty of that – I truly believe the rest would fall into place.
  • Do you have other safety nets in place, like life insurance?
    • Yep! We both bought policies around the time we got married. If I remember right, we have 500k policies on each of us (enough that if one of us died, it would pay off the mortgage plus cover basic living expenses for awhile), though now that I’m writing this, I’m thinking I need to check that Stella is next in line after the spouse as beneficiary. I suppose she is by default?

So ya, basically, we have life insurance taken care of (bam!) and great options for guardians for Stella (bam!)… but it would be smart of us to get a will drawn up to make it easier in the case of the worst case scenario for those who have to deal with our affairs.

I’m super curious what other people have done on this. Are we the only ones who have procrastinated on planning ahead, especially when it comes to a will?


This is my contribution to PAIL’s Monthly Theme post topic for February, “Planning Ahead.”
Click here to join in, if just to read everyone else’s thoughts on this topic!


  1. This was on my baby to-do list before I gave birth, but yeah, it didn’t happen. I hear the best way is to set up an irrevocable trust instead of a will, which covers everything and I even downloaded all the free docs from the size orman website (you just fill it out and hire a lawyer to file it). However when discussing guardianship, we couldn’t not agree 🙁 and planning went to the wayside. Neither of us really have a go to sibling we are super excited about watching our daughter for life. I wanted my cousin who is like my sister, and has girls of her own so my daughter could be brought up with loving sisters, but my husband got defensive worried about his side of the family rights. Um, it’s not as if we are planning on dying! And they’re never need to know our master plan!

    It does worry my slightly though that we can’t get on the same page, because I don’t want family to argue over her if the worst should happen. I want her to feel loved and taken care of should she lose us.

    Hmm, I might need to bring this up again today. I kind of feel like it should be my choice and a no brainier, so I don’t know what the holdup is.

    We have life insurance through work, but should really get additional private policies for more… Just so much to plan for.

    Thanks for bringing this up! I have some work to do!

  2. […] Josey of My Cheap Version of Therapy checks some items off the list and starts considering a few others in Who Could? Who Should? Who Would? […]

  3. It’s so hard to think about this stuff, but so important, especially with children involved. Can I also add Josie, that maybe you and your husband discuss a living will? Two weeks ago my beautiful cousin Julie had a massive stroke at the age of 32. She was a gym fanatic and had no known health issues. She has been in a deep coma and her husband has decided to take her off support because of the severe brain damage. She has two children, 10 and 14. This has caused the family a lot of pain and second guessing about what is best for her since we don’t know what her wishes were.

  4. I didn’t take part this month, because I didn’t want to think about this. HA! We have life insurance, and a guardian selected, but no will… and my dad’s an estate attorney. how stupid is that? B hates talking about this stuff, and I sort of do too. But it needs to get done.

    You’re so lucky you have great choices for guardians. We STRUGGLED with that a great deal. We did pick some great ones that just popped into our heads one night, and we’re RELIEVED.

    Stella is very lucky to have such a loving, involved families on both sides. And so are you!!

  5. Right there with you! We have TALKED about doing these things…but execution is definitely lacking. We were talking about it yesterday in fact, and have decided that they are on the priority list for this year (sad, but we need the whole year to plan for it!)

  6. We also had this stuff on the pregnancy to-do list with Gracie (yeah she’ll be two and a half next month!) Never got done. We discussed my sister as guardian and both agreed she’d be the best one for everything except her financial situation. My mom would give her all the money she needed and couldn’t get though so I knew that wouldn’t be a problem. McMister wasn’t so sure. Now that the girls are actually here, there’s not a doubt in either or our minds she would be best by a long shot! We have still done nothing about it officially though… Not even unofficially. 🙁

  7. It sounds like you and Charlie are well on the way to getting things sorted out since you at least have the life insurance and some awesome guardians set up. Good for you! The guardian thing was the first thing I sorted (seriously, this all happened after Gemini Momma’s post about this stuff so I should really thank her for getting my life in order!!!). I definitely don’t think you are the only ones who have put the will thing off so far.. well I know you aren’t because we don’t have wills either!! Gee.. all these adult stuff is a bit much eh? 😉 Also, so sad if you were to leave your cute little cow in the street town!! I love the look of it there but I do understand your reasons. I hope I get to visit before your move then! 🙂 I was so late getting around to doing my own post for this topic that I missed the deadline but may still do one anyway as it is something being talked about a lot this month at our house!

  8. Elizabeth · · Reply

    Great post! We don’t have a will written up either. I guess I never really gave it any thought. My husband has a life insurance policy that would more than take care of paying off our house and paying our monthly bills for a long time. We never took a policy out on me since I don’t work outside the home. Thanks to this post, we will get ourselves together and have a small will written up.

  9. I’ve had this on my radar for a long time. I’ve been dragging my feet, too!

  10. GAH. You are so right about all this! I am inspired by this post, it’s something I’ve been ignoring for far too long myself…

    P.S. I’m totally down for being weight loss buddies! If I’m not mistaken, we were buddies back in 2010 whilst preparing for 2011 cycling, no???

    1. LOL, yeah, I think we were!

  11. It is important to remember that if you do not have a Will in place, your chosen guardians do not necessarily get to raise your child immediately – the State has every right to put your child in care whilst it is being sorted out which can takes weeks and weeks without a Will. It is imperative to get this taken care of for Stella’s immediate safety net if you and your husband die together. Good luck!

    1. Yep, this is definitely a huge reason to get this in place.

  12. I agree, I’m Type A with Type B execution…I like that. My dad was helping us start a will but Matt took too long to fill out his preliminary questionaire and it kind of got stuck there. We’ve discussed that should anything happen to both of us then my sister would take AR and she knows that but with our family, it needs to be in writing because I’m sure it wouldn’t be agreed upon. Oh drama!!! Thanks for reminding me I need to follow up on this! Good luck!

  13. Hi Josey,

    I tried to leave you a comment about this last week, but I don’t think you got it. My brother is an Estate Planning attorney (in California, though, so he can’t help you in Colorado) and we (I work for him) have seen SO many families hurt by badly written wills and estate plans. It is really important that you make sure to hire a competent attorney who specializes in estate plans. You need a family trust (it’s b.s. that only rich people need trusts) and you need HIPAA documents. If you visit the Estate Planning section of my brother’s website you’ll get a lot of really good information that will arm you with knowledge before you start meeting with attorneys who are local to you. If you want the web address, email me and I will forward it to you.

    Lots of love!

  14. […] my BFP a couple of months later. Not awesome, but much better than nothing. I also wrote “Who Could? Who Should? Who Would?” about planning out the family will, etc… and this is something I have totally failed […]

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