Adulting: You Need a Will


This editorial series, Adulting, is brought to you by The Law Shop by Skogerson McGinn LLC and Des Moines Mom. The Law Shop provides 100 percent customized client services for families in central Iowa. All 5 original articles from the Adulting series can be found here.

When you are 12 years old, you think you will live forever.

When you are 21, you think you’ll never be a middle-aged person who goes to bed before 10 PM.

When you turn 30, you think “am I an adult now?”

And then, when you finally turn 40, you think “WOW. How is time going by so fast? I need to get my crap together!” And you’ll say to yourself “I really need to act like a grown-up who knows what they’re doing. I need to know things like how often I should rotate my tires, or how to file a home insurance claim, or what my 401K account statement actually means” (dear reader please note that these are things I’ve googled in the past 6 months). But one of the things I definitely knew I needed to get taken care of was my will.

Kara Knaack family - You need a willPlanning a will is not fun. In fact, it’s the epitome of #adulting. But I know that as a married adult, with two kids, a home, and some assets stocked away for my future I need to have an intention for all of it.

Unfortunately, no one is going to live forever. We’re all going to die someday, whether we have a will or not.

For me, one of the biggest challenges in finishing our will was figuring out who is going to raise our children. Basically, I never had a great answer because no one is going to bring up my children the same way I would (good or bad). I don’t like the idea of someone else not following my directions. A will dictates my final wishes for a guardian for my children which is better than letting a judge in a courtroom decide or hoping a friend or family member steps up to the challenge.

Having a will also helps streamline costly probate expenses. Essentially this means a will tells the probate court what I want to happen and who I want to be in charge of my estate. Again, if you make these decisions ahead of time, it’s much better than having a judge who doesn’t know you, make these choices for you.

My life situation is pretty cut and dry. I am married without any ex-spouses in the picture. I don’t own any joint real estate with others aside from the house I own with my husband. I do own a business with a partner which makes life a little trickier. If I died tomorrow, life would go on without me. The stuff I leave behind would eventually get figured out, with or without my final wishes taken into consideration.

In the event of my death, I want to ensure my husband and children are taken care of financially. I want to make sure the money I have set aside, goes to them and not the government or some other organization. I want to ensure my children have a guardian I approve of. Having a will helps ensure my children and husband have the time and space to grieve me without being bogged down with trying to figure out all the final details.

Sometimes being an adult means taking care of the things I’d rather ignore, even when that is a will. No one said #adulting would be easy!

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Kara originally hails from northwest Iowa where she met her husband, Lance, through a 4-H fashion show. After a decade of living in central Iowa, Kara is still figuring out which way is north. Wearing the hat of “wife, mommy, employee, chef, ribbon tie-er and family calendar organizer,” Kara knows a bit about juggling life and work. Kara became a boy-mom in June of 2011 to Lucan and a girl-mom to Gracelyn in December of 2014. Most days you can find her mixing up metaphors and oversharing life’s moments via social media. Kara enjoys yoga, reading, gardening, cooking, sewing in straight lines and singing along to musicals. A spender by nature, but thrifty by necessity, Kara is always in hunt of a bargain. She’s an active member of Northpoint Church and a resident of Grimes. Her vision for life includes “doing the best we can with what God gives us.”


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