I don't feel like an adult all that often. I used to feel like an adult every time I paid for something with a credit card, but that novelty wore off pretty quickly.
I definitely did NOT feel like an adult the first time I wrote a check for a significant amount of money (when buying my car). I actually felt like throwing up because I'd never, ever spent that much money at once (and no, I didn't pay for cash for the whole thing!). But now I spent nearly the equivalent of that down payment on daycare every month, so writing checks doesn't make me feel like an adult either. Sometimes it still kind of makes me want to throw up, though. :)
I think I feel most like an adult when my children hand me their snot-filled, dirty kleenex. That's the mark of a mom, right? Taking other people's snot and cheerfully putting it in your pocket.
In the spirit of Serious Adulting, David and I have been getting estate planning documents organized. This has been a long, ongoing process. It started when I was pregnant with Eliza: We're expecting our first baby! Let's get all our finances organized and in order and make a will! I started investigating estate planning during my pregnancy, but after she died I lost all interest in that sort of planning.
When Zuzu was born, we talked about it again. And when Coco was born I was like, "Okay, but seriously we need to do this."
And then David's grandma died and he was dealing with her estate in a very real way. She was well-organized and everything was mostly accounted for, but there were still a couple of uncertainties about what she really intended or would have wished to happen, and we knew that we really needed to get a will or trust created so that in the event of our deaths, things aren't made more stressful or complicated for our children.
We originally thought we'd draw up a trust (that's what D's grandparents had), but after talking extensively with an attorney about our options, we decided it was simpler and equally effective to create a will that would then stipulate the creation of a trust upon our deaths. This way we didn't have to change ownership of accounts or assets to the trust, but in the event of our deaths, all of our assets will automatically be held in the trust until the girls come of age.
(This is SO MUCH FUN to think about, by the way.)
Actually, even though it's not particularly pleasant to contemplate your own demise, I'm someone who likes to consider alternative scenarios and think about contingency plans, so I found it very satisfying to draw up Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C.
We had to think about guardians for our girls and trustees for our estate and also what we wanted to happen to our life insurance payout should all of us die together (that one was the hardest, obviously).
I researched a lot of different attorneys and solicited recommendations from friends and got a wide variety of prices quoted for drawing up these documents. In the end, we met with an attorney who went to law school (and high school) with the husband of a friend of mine. He met with us before quoting us a price and ended up giving us what I think was a really good deal because we're a young couple with not-very-many assets and we really just wanted to ensure that our daughters' futures are secure in the event that we're not here. He was extremely nice and appeared to be very competent. We just approved the drafts of the documents that he sent us, and we'll go back for the signing soon.
This has also made me (finally) get myself in gear in terms of gathering important information to keep in the fire-proof safe--bank and credit card information, birth and marriage certificates, insurance info, all that stuff that we had filed away but not gathered together in one spot.
I also wrote a letter with some information about specific wishes after death (memorial plans, cremation, who gets my jewelry, etc.). It reminded me a bit of when we had to write our own obituaries in high school and it felt very unreal, but it wasn't especially difficult. I think seeing David and his aunt dealing with his grandma's estate made me think a lot about what my wishes would be.
Anyway, none of this was particularly fun, but it is satisfying to have it done. I feel like a real adult, and like we finally accomplished something that wasn't easy to do.
Now I hope that I never have to think about it again, and I can go back to life feeling more like an overaged adolescent who is still trying to figure out when I became responsible enough to be in charge of grocery shopping and the welfare of two small children.
Have you drawn up estate planning documents? What was your impetus for doing so? Did you feel kind of smug and responsible when it was all finished? If you haven't, what's preventing you from getting it done? Did you also write a personal letter to your survivors telling them what poem you'd like read at your memorial service? What do you do with your engagement ring if you have more than one living daughter?