We must be prepared for so many things because, in a split second, your life can change. It may be a job loss, a car accident, a serious illness, or an unexpected accident when you are at home. We have all had someone affected by some of these situations and it’s heartbreaking. You may think you have a handle on everything and BAM, your life can change instantly. This is why we must all share with our adult or married kids certain things that are critical if we find ourselves in a life-or-death predicament.
I know I can hear some of you say, there is no way I’m sharing with my family certain things about my bank accounts, my retirement accounts, blah blah blah. I get it, I really do. But for me, my daughters know everything because I have worked at a bank and I do not want my accounts to be taken by the government from inactivity.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about when the newspaper or online notices post names in the state where you live looking for individuals that have money sitting in bank accounts that are dwindling from inactivity. Or property that is owned and considered by the state to be abandoned. I look every year but my name is never there.
The reason I’m writing this post today is to make people aware of what happens to the family if YOU are hurt or incapacitated. If you are the breadwinner, does your family know where you bank? Do they know if you have a mortgage and where it is paid? Do you have loans or other obligations set up for automatic payments? Do you know where the utilities are paid? Is your health insurance paid monthly, quarterly, or yearly?
What about the car or home insurance, is it paid? Do you know who the agents are, etc? If something happened where your family member is in a hospital with no way to communicate, could you make the payments that are scheduled and do so on time? If the family member died, do you know how to keep the home front going until insurance kicks in?
This brings me to another item, TERM Life Insurance. Maybe some of you have it or maybe you don’t believe in life insurance. I see donations being made to help others, that is so nice, I understand helping others. But, we must be self-reliant and purchase life insurance if we have a family, especially if we have kids at home. Term insurance is purchased for a particular term, like 10 or 2o years and the premium is based on your age, current health, and lifestyle, along with some family health history issues. When the term period is up and you go to buy another policy more than likely it will cost more since you’re older and more likely to have health issues.
Here’s the deal, it’s cheap if you are young and healthy. Once you get a disease or have something like a heart attack you may be uninsurable. Please buy life insurance to at least help the family that’s left behind because of an accident, or serious illness. Typically where you work they offer a group plan with a bargain price on life insurance.
When Mark and I had children at home, we bought enough life insurance to cover our home mortgage and income for at least three years. This amount would cover Mark’s income and life insurance on me. Should I die first it would cover daycare for our daughters. It was cheap. Now universal life or whole life insurance is another story. They are like putting money into a savings account on a regular monthly basis. The premiums stay the same over time based on the amount of coverage you purchased initially. The good thing is you can build up what is known as “cash value” which can be borrowed against in case of emergency. The cost of this insurance is higher because of the cash value factor and because the risk of death goes up with age but the premiums don’t.
I have a friend where the husband died unexpectedly and the wife had no idea where or how the bills were paid, or where her mortgage was held, she didn’t even have a cell phone of her own. Her whole life was turned upside down in a matter of minutes after her husband was gone. She had four young children. Luckily, her husband had purchased life insurance. It’s been a blessing to her and the kids.
I have also seen just the opposite, the family did not have any life insurance and the kids had to be handed off to family members and the wife had to go back to work with small children at home. This may be a very touchy question to ask a family member to see if they have taken advantage of the group policies available through their work. I’m not an insurance agent or expert, but someone who has insurance and feels it is important. Sit down with someone who is licensed to sell the various types of life insurance and make sure you budget something so you and your family have some protection.
If you are uncomfortable asking, just wait until they are left without the spouse’s income. It’s a nightmare, I know from experience because I have helped neighbors figure it out. It’s not fun, we must be self-reliant, please do not count on donations, we must take care of our own family.
Life Can Change
Here is a list of things that you may have to do if someone you love dies or is hurt and unable to communicate for days, weeks or even months.
- Pay the mortgage payments as well as the homeowner’s insurance and property taxes.
- Make sure your/their health insurance is paid in a timely matter.
- Vehicle insurance and property taxes must be paid on time.
- Pay the utility bills or they may be cut off.
- Please share with your family where your life insurance policies are and who the agents are.
- You may want an adult child on your bank accounts if you are getting older, they can then help you when needed.
- Set up automatic payments for all bills that need to be paid monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
- Set up a “do not resuscitate” sheet at your doctor’s and post it on your frig, where it can be seen by anyone.
- Set up a trust so there are no fights after you die or maybe less fighting. Fingers crossed.
Have a folder with bank account numbers and retirement income sources. My FREE printable binder has the sheets ready for you to download and fill in as needed. I pray you will never have to deal with a life-changing emergency, but the chances are you will. Please be prepared in this way so you can sleep at night knowing your family is well taken care of if something happens to you.
May God bless you and your family to be healthy, and safe.
Leanne reminded me about this: As for many things, we should all have medical powers of attorney in the event of a situation where we are unable to make medical/end-of-life decisions for ourselves.
Ambulance: AdobeStock_121610 by Aaron Kohr