You may not dwell on it, or even think about it, but you can’t escape it: there will come a day when you won’t be around anymore, and your family will have to keep going without you. I know: it’s not pleasant to think about, and you definitely don’t want to linger on it and let it drag you down. I don’t either. But the harsh reality is that we all have a limited amount of time on this Earth, and no one wants to spend their remaining days worried about whether or not their family is going to struggle to get by without you to help them.
All too often though, this is exactly what happens. We wait until we’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, or we’ve reached a state that we need a nursing home, or supervised care before we give any thought to how our family will be provided for. The problem is that, by then, it’s far too late to make any kind of drastic change or implement a plan, that will make a real difference.
I know it can be difficult to consider, but if you truly want to ensure that your family will be ready, and continue to live a full, happy life after you’ve passed on, you need to start making preparations now. We’ll discuss some of the key things that you need to do, and I’ll give you some tips to make sure that you’re making the right decisions so that when your time comes, you won’t have to worry about your family’s finances.
Setup a Life Insurance Policy
You’ve probably seen those infomercials on late night TV, where a sweet old lady or gentlemen tell you that they’ve found peace of mind because of this great life insurance policy that they’ve just discovered. I don’t blame you if you think that those are a load of hot air, but they do have a point. A big part of ensuring that your family will be able to thrive after you’re gone is to ensure that they’ll receive ample funds after you’ve passed on.
The bad news is that there are many, many insurers out there, all telling you that their policy is the best one. That can make it extremely difficult to sort through all the garbage and find a policy that you can afford, offers good terms, and will ensure your family is cared for. The good news is that there is a multitude of quality resources available to help you find the right one. When you’re shopping, these are some of the big points you’ll want to weigh before you choose a specific insurer and policy:
– The Qualifications to Receive the Policy
This is the first factor you’ll want to consider, because if you don’t qualify to receive a certain policy, then there’s no point in wasting time pursuing it. For example, some policies dictate that recipients cannot smoke, or have pre-existing medical conditions. If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can bet that you’ll soon see an extensive pile of medical bills coming in, and you’ll want to know that your insurance policy will pay despite your illness.
– The Amount Your Family Will Receive
Obviously, you need to consider how much your insurance policy will pay out to your family in the event of your death. Some amounts you’ll want to consider when you select your insurance payout will be any recurring bills that your spouse will have to deal with, any debts that you’ve incurred (as agencies will contact your estate to settle the debt), and the cost of funeral expenses.
– How Long It Will Take Your Family to Receive the Money
This is an aspect that many people forget to check when they take out a loan, insurance, or any kind of money that’s paid out. Some insurers will pay out your policy in a matter of days, once they’ve received your death certificate. For others, it can take months. Be aware of how long it will take your family to receive your insurance funds, and prepare a small amount of savings to deal with expenses if it’s a long wait.
Write Your Will
From the moment you’re married, and especially if you have children, you need to have a Will written and filed. This will ensure that your assets are distributed to the people who will need them the most. If you don’t have a Will in place, the intestacy laws that govern your particular state will kick in, and the state will determine how to distribute any money, assets, and real estate that you have.
In most cases, this means it will all default to your spouse unless you had children with a former spouse or partner. It can get complicated, and lead to in-family battles over who gets what. Settle the dispute before it even starts, and prepare your Will now.
Pay off Your Debts
When you die and have unsettled expenses, the first thing those agencies you owe money to will do is contact your family, looking to collect. In some instances, your family won’t be on the hook to settle any outstanding debt you have – in others, they may very well have to pay out. To make it simple, if you know or suspect that your time is coming soon, settle any debts you have. If you have multiple debts, consider consolidating them under one personal loan. That way, even if you can’t completely pay your debts off before your time comes, your family will only have to deal with one outstanding expense, rather than many. Just like with insurers, take the time to research and compare lenders, and find the one that will work to meet your needs during this difficult time.
Spend Time with Them
This may be the hardest conversation you’ll ever have in your life, but when you know that your time is approaching, you need to bring your family together and let them know. It will obviously be devastating for them, and for you as well, but it needs to be done. They need time to prepare and address any concerns they may have as far as debts, estates, and inheritance.
More importantly, it gives you an opportunity to spend time with them. This is a chance to make some happy memories, that they’ll remember long after they’ve had the chance to grieve, and say goodbye. Many people don’t realize just how important these moments are for helping a family recover after you’re gone, so don’t let work, debt, or anything else that eats up your time take away from these finals moments you’ll have to be with the ones you love.