Wills are strange things.
They can be an affirmation of love or an opportunity to say things that would never have been said in life. They can make dreams come true or be an instrument of revenge. They can bring families together or tear them apart.
When you have young children, making a will also includes making provision for the care of your family if you and your partner are both gone. This can be an agonising decision. Who will love them or raise them the way you intend ? Are the grandparents too old, too sick or unwilling to take on raising another family?
Is your sibling’s spouse on one side charming but way too casual with their own children? Is your sister-in-law a martinet whose children are frightened to say boo and live in something close to a prison camp? Are other siblings unmarried and always travelling or partying and will other siblings on the other side take offence that they weren’t chosen?
Are you both orphans with no close relatives? Would any of your friends be agreeable or capable? You pray it will never happen but you must make some provision or they will end up in state care. You may be fortunate that you have someone who is both willing and loving but many couples don’t have that luxury and agonise over the best of a very ordinary bunch. In our case it meant them being put into the care of an interstate uncle who barely knew their names and changed partners more often than his socks, or an aunt who drank heavily and screamed like a fishwife at her own children.
Will your children not only lose their parents but their home and friends and be forced to make great adjustments while coping with overwhelming grief? These are sobering thoughts for any parent.
We wrote letters to our children to be given to them, in case the worst happened, before the reading of the will, (updating them every two years) so they would have written proof of how much we loved them and how proud we were to be their parents. We included a couple of photos very special to us all and then we prayed hard that they would never need to read them.
We breathed a sigh of relief when our eldest child reached an age where he could have the guardianship of his younger sister and brother.