Note: This is a guest post by my friend Brad Allen. You NEED to read this and then take action with your spouse to answer the questions at the end. This is just too important to ignore, even though I definitely understand why it’s easier to keep this topic out of your mind. Deal with it…for the sake of your spouse and your family.
“Life is too short.”
That’s an interesting phrase. People use it often. I use it often too but a recent, tragic event happened that really put the phrase into perspective. Tragic events do that.
On December 15th, without warning, my Dad had a heart attack and did not survive. He was 54 years old. Nine days after that, I turned 31. Both of us were way, way too young for that to happen.
My Dad and I had a great relationship and, as much as it hurts to lose him, I can’t imagine how my step mom must feel. My wife and I are best friends, and while I’m learning to deal with the loss of my Dad I’m not sure how I could “learn to deal” with losing my wife.
The reality though, unfortunately, is that you may kiss your spouse goodbye when you leave for work in the morning and that may be the last time you see them alive ever again. Death is inevitable and in some cases without warning.
I Appreciate the Warning, But What Can I DO About It?
Engaged Marriage is such a great resource because Dustin writes about taking action on those things in marriage that often lead to unhappiness or divorce. Preparation is a big part of it. Preparing your family for financial disaster is important of course, as is preparing for the birth of a child, etc.
Preparing for death, though, is something a lot of young couples tend to overlook because, well, they’re young. “That’s not something I need to worry too much about because it’s a long way off.” Says who?
Being prepared is a lot more than simply writing your spouse’s name in the “Primary Beneficiary” box on your HR paperwork at work.
Talk to your spouse. Make sure you both fully understand what will happen in the event that one or both of you dies. Cover as many scenarios as possible. You will truly never know when something tragic might happen, but you will damn sure know whether or not you were prepared for it. The death of your spouse is not the time to have figure things out.
Sit Down & Answer These Questions With Your Spouse
I’m not a professional, however, having gone through both the planning phase with my own wife and the “now what do I do” phase with my step mom I feel I can at least offer some questions that you and your spouse can answer together to get you started.
Answer these questions and then turn those answers into actions by talking to a professional and getting the necessary paperwork in order. Most importantly, secure the information in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box and make sure someone outside of your marriage knows how to access the information.
Some basic questions are:
- Does each of us have enough life insurance to cover our current way of life? Put another way, how will our debt (mortgage, car loans, etc.) be paid with only one or no salary? Hopefully you’re following Dustin’s advice and you’re well on your way to not having any debt, but if you’re like my wife and I, you’re only part of the way there…and what about the other bills? Utilities, cable, internet…
- Who will care for our children if we both die? Pets?
- What are our final wishes? Cremation, burial, open/closed casket, etc…
- Are there certain things that I’d rather my children have then my spouse? A family heirloom to be passed to a son perhaps…
One final question that you should ask only yourself… Losing a loved one is bad enough. Losing your spouse would be unbearable. In the event that something unexpected does happen, wouldn’t you rather spend your time grieving with your surviving family and coping with that reality instead of scrambling to make sure you don’t lose everything you both worked so hard to achieve?
That question should be easily answered…
Life is too short. A little effort now can ensure that your surviving family will be taken care of later.
Brad writes about technology and gadgets at his blog http://bradwallen.com/. Go check it out for some education and entertainment, or just to thank him for sharing this excellent post. You can also share your thoughts with him on Twitter at @bradwallen