I have been helping my husband over the last 6 weeks to gather all of his dad's records as best as we can find. I have spent hours making phone calls and trying to gather information. It's alot like playing detective.
All that being said, I realized how important it is to make sure we have all of our stuff in order, should God forbid, something happen to me or to Brian. Death is not an easy subject, but one that must be talked about and prepared for. Speaking from experience, it's very hard for the family to grieve when there are so many financial things to deal with.
So I am going to post some steps that you can go through to see how prepared you are for death. See how many of these items you can check off the list.
1. Life Insurance- You would be surprise how many people do not have this. YOU MUST HAVE LIFE INSURANCE. Simple really. Especially if you have children. If you are single, it's still good to have a small policy to help pay for your final expenses. I had a small policy before I was married just for that reason. I didn't want my parents to have to pay for my funeral.
2. A Will and/or Living Trust-ANOTHER MUST HAVE! You may think it costs alot to do, but it really doesn't have to. You can go to LegalZoom and get one done for $119. My husband and I used LegalZoom for our Living Will (another great thing to have regarding life support) and it was great.
3. Have all documents together and at one location- This tip I got from my accountant last week when I ran into him at church. We were talking about my father in law's estate and everything we've had to do just to find out the basics. His advice was to gather all of the important financial information put them down on paper and store them in a lock box, with your accountant or another safe place. Here is what I have done:
*List all of our credit cards, bank accounts, 401K, etc. with account numbers, user names and passwords
*Copy of Will and Living Will
*Copy of Life Insurance policy
All are under lock and key in a safe location.4. Tell Someone- My parents know where these documents are kept in the event something should happen to both Brian and myself at the same time. If you are married, you should do this as a couple. For example, in our household I pay the bills. I wrote down all of our accounts with user name and passwords and have them in a hidden safe place so that Brian at anytime can go in and access them. That way if something happened to me, Brian would not be in the dark.
This all sounds like stuff that would be common sense, but believe me you would be surprised to know how many people die leaving a mess behind for their loved ones to clean up and deal with. Please be prepared so that all your loved ones have to do is mourn your passing.
I know this is not fun or easy to talk about. It took Brian and I going on a vacation together for the first time since we had kids, to actually do a Will. I was not getting on a plane without having it done. I do know it's not fun to do, but one that is so very important.
I've been following a blog about a mom who delivered her baby girl and then developed Strep A. Most of the times this infection will take a person's life and quickly. Today Katy had both of her legs removed to just above the knee and tomorrow she will lose her left arm above the elbow. I tell you this story for 2 reasons, one is to pray for them. I cannot even imagine how their lives have been forever changed. Secondly, the husband's post today just reiterated how important it is to talk with your loved ones about the difficult decisions before they happen.
Have you that hard talk with your loved ones yet?