It’s the kind of thing we don’t plan for because we don’t want to admit that it will happen. My father passed away suddenly last year. He didn’t have a stroke, or a heart attack, or get cancer. He got into a car accident on a sunny day. Both he and the other driver were sober. It was true accident–shocking, hard to process, and frustrating. I miss him everyday.
Fortunately my father started estate planning over two decades ago and so when it came down to me to trustee his estate every thing worked easily as per his design. After I had no more tears to cry and all of the financial matters were resolved, it became clear that my husband and I needed to sit down and live by my father’s good example. Up until last year, I think we felt immortal or at least so far removed from death that we might as well be immortal. The sudden loss of my father drew razor sharp focus on how limited and precious our time on earth is.
We wrote a will. We aren’t swimming in assets or debts. We manage our financial life well, paying cash where we can and seeking the best rates on credit cards when we do carry a balance. Mostly the will outlines custody of my daughter and establishes a trust for her in the event that both of us should pass well before our time. We actually have a reciprocal agreement with my sister, we’ll take over care of her sons and she’ll handle my little princess. Both of our wills provide financial assistance to the custody provider. We also decided to write out living wills and spent considerable time with each other discussing the kinds of treatment we want in case we should be brain damaged or be otherwise caught between here and there. These are difficult discussions, but in the wake of my father’s death I actually found it comforting to intimately discuss such matters with my husband.
We decided to invest in more life insurance. My husband’s job provides whole life insurance, but we decided invest in an inexpensive but higher payout term life insurance plan as well. After crunching the numbers, it made sense to insure ourselves further. In the even that my either my husband or I pass early, we wanted to make sure that the family is well-provided for.
Of course, neither my husband or I are toeing the grave. We’re young and health conscious. We appreciate each day and aim to appreciate tens of thousands more. We also spent time after my father’s death discussing living well beyond our life expectancies. Getting older is expensive, and we don’t want to burden our daughter (or and future children… fingers crossed!) with the expense of our care. While we have always lived a fiscally conservative life we are breaking down our budget, calibrating our credit and loan interest rates like financial guru Tim Chen recommends, and socking away money for the future in longterm savings and investments. Whether we live a good long life, or the unthinkable happens our finances are prepared to care for the family into the next generation.