How many kids do you have? Do the kids ever disagree? Is one a dominant personality? Are they equal in financial assets? Do they have spouses that get along well with your family?
These are some of the questions to answer when pre-planning your final arrangements. By making your pre-plans, one important gift you are giving your kids is family harmony. My dad used to say we shouldn’t “borrow trouble.” However, when no pre-plans are in place – that is exactly what we are doing – borrowing trouble, especially if our children are not “equal” financially and personality-wise.
Some kids are a “hold-out” just because they can be. Some kids control the others just because they can. Some kids bully their siblings. Some kids don’t want to be involved but don’t want anyone else to make decisions without their consent. Do any of these sound like your family? I”m not talking bad about your children, or being disrespectful – I’m being truthful about families. It really is true that issues about money and death bring out the worst in people. When a death occurs, it’s a difficult time, it’s an emotional time, it may be a time when families who don’t spend much time together come together. Personalities come out when there are many decisions to be made. If no pre-planning has been done, there are dozens of decisions to be made in a short amount of time. Decision-making is hard, especially when there are so many decisions in such a short time.
Even if your kids get along beautifully, pre-planning should be done for the sake of time if nothing else. I once sat in on an arrangement conference (the mom had died, no pre-plans) and there were 5 adult children and 5 spouses. They discussed everything in great detail and all wanted to agree – which they did to the tune of 5 hours in an arrangement conference! Is that how you want your family to spend their time the day after your death? At the funeral home? Wishing you had told them what you wanted your final arrangements to be? Pre-planning would have cut this arrangement conference down to an hour at the most, and one or two people, not ten, would have come to answer the questions and sign the paperwork.
Think about your kids. If they don’t agree all the time, there is no shame in that, they are behaving like typical siblings. But do you want to borrow trouble? Do you want to risk family disharmony? I’ve seen families literally not speaking to each other after the funeral – a fact that pre-planning could have prevented.
Do you want to give your kids a gift? The gift of promoting family harmony? The gift of not being burdened with dozens of decisions immediately after your death? Think about your kids – and see if you can think of any reason NOT to give them the gift of pre-planning.