Thursday, June 19, 2008

Are you prepared?

My husband's uncle passed away recently. We've been keeping in touch with family so we can find out what has been going on and how we can help. B's mom has been helping her sister go through everything, and after some basic assessment, had some horrible news.

B's uncle did not have life insurance, so the funeral and other expenses will need to be covered by the family. He cancelled his health insurance a while ago (he's self-employed), so his medical care and ambulance services will also have to be covered by his family. Now they find he has been receiving forclosure notices on the house for the past few months. He also has no will and no money. B's aunt only has a part-time job and will soon lose her house. She is in the worst situation financially, and it couldn't have come at a worse time. I forget how lucky we all were that my parent's were so well prepared, so when my Dad passed, financial worries weren't a worry at all.

I want to note is that B's aunt didn't know any of this. She was of a different era and her husband took care of everything financial. It's fine to have one spouse take care of the finances, but the other person should always have access to everything and check up on things from time to time. My Mom was a rarity in her era... she did all our family finances herself. My Dad worked a lot and my Mom has both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics... so, it was a no brainer. My husband and I do things the same way... he has a way with languages, culture, and geography... I'm the math and science girl, so I'm in charge of our finances. But B still knows what's going on and knows that we're prepared.

No matter what your situation, please make sure that you at least set aside an emergency savings for something like this if you can't afford life insurance. Also write up burial instructions, and write up a quick will. You can find them online- all you do is fill in your name and print. Then take it to a notary public for signatures and give a copy to close family and put one in your file cabinet at home.

There is even more you can do... check online for tons of free resources on how to make sure your finances are stable. It's great to have 6 months salary saved up, put money away for your retirement, and prepare for your childrens' education expenses. We've completed all these goals and continue to contribute to the funds each month. I really do rest easier at night. It feels good to be prepared.


Cheri said...

I love that in the military we get so much free assistance (if we want it) to do our wills, powers of attorney, financial planning...

We're pretty well prepared, enough that if something DID happen, we'd be able to concentrate on healing instead of how we'll survive financially.

Thank you for the reminder on making sure we BOTH know what's going on!

Sarah said...

This is an aspect of our lives that need work, so far we don't have much of anything. But this is a goal we will plan on working on..It is always so important to be prepared.

A, B & C said...

We have a lot of military friends and they always brag about all the free assistance! :-)
We have it a little harder, having to do it all ourselves. We had to do major paperwork to convince our life insurance company to keep insuring us overseas. And signing our will with the one notary we found in Paris was an interesting adventure!
Abbey :-)

tootie said...

So sorry to hear about your husband's uncle.

But you're right - it's such a valuable lesson to make sure that everything is in order, if the worst were to happen!

Nicol said...

This is a subject that I feel is so important and often times overlooked. I have worked extreamly hard to make sure that we are in a good financial position so if something ever happened, my dd would be WELL taken care of. It is hard to think of what ifs, but like you, I do sleep better knowing that we are okay.

Thank you for sharing your uncle's situation. Hopefully it will help someone out there who needs it.

Jacquie said...

So sorry about your DH Uncle.

Being prepared is very important. Are we 100% probably not, should we be heck yes! Thanks for the reminder.

*carrie* said...

Good reminders, Abbey. This is a subject near to my husband's heart, especially since just officially became a financial advisor on Monday!

I don't like talking about things like insurance and wills, but I'm so glad my husband has pushed us to get this stuff lined up!

Sorry to hear about your aunt and uncle.

Susan said...

I used to work for a life insurance company...This story happens way too often. That is too bad for your aunt, and so sorry to hear of it. Thank you for sharing to let your readers give a heads up. This need not happen.

Our family is taken care of. Communication between couples is so important.