My husband and I were in our late twenties when he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident.
He hopped on the back of his friend’s bike for his very first ride and never made it home.
At that point, we had been married just shy of two years.
We had, had conversations about what we wanted when we died or became incapacitated.
We had said many times that we should make preparations in case something happened but the urgency wasn’t there.
Believe me! THIS IS URGENT!
You never think it will happen to you.
You assume you’re too young to have to worry about this.
You assume everything will be fine.
Please don’t bank on this like we did!
SPOILER ALERT! Everything isn’t fine and not only did I have to mourn the loss of my husband while raising two small boys, but I had to deal with significantly more because we weren’t prepared.
So you’re asking how should you prepare?
These were my biggest hurdles other than the obvious emotional ones I struggled with after I lost my husband.
In no particular order, these were also the very things I made sure I got in place right away to protect my kid’s futures. I wanted to make sure my family would never have to bear the difficulties I did during an already difficult time.
1. Finances. My husband paid the bills. I worked full-time, but physically paying the bills was never something I got involved with. Guess what! Even though he died, payments still had to be made and I had no idea what I was doing let alone the passwords to log in and pay the darn things. Make a file. Write down your bills, when they are due, how to pay them, and the passwords if applicable.
2. Passwords. Speaking of passwords. Write them down and put them somewhere accessible. I had to jump through hoops to get the password to our big safe where all of our important papers were. The password to his email and phone. Whatever will need to be accessed in the case of your death, have them in a safe place where your partner knows where to locate them. Mine are now in a file in the safe and the safe password is in my filing cabinet where my designated person knows where to locate them.
3. Create a will. My husband died without a will, a simple piece of paper drawn up by a lawyer could have saved me hours in fees and a lot of headaches. You can even do this online if your will is fairly simple without a lot of assets. My will now contains who will care for my children and what age they will be able to access the insurance money. I cringe every time I think about both of us passing and us not having that in place. Who would the kids have ended up with?
4. Life insurance. Buy enough for your spouse to pay off debt and stay home for a few years while they get their life back together. Don’t hesitate, do it right now. He had a policy he had set up years ago and forgot about, I didn’t even know it existed. It saved my butt. I can’t imagine how I would have been able to return to work, drowning in sorrow, trying to take care of my two kids, one with special needs. When your a widow sometimes you don’t have a choice. His loss of income has been hard, but the life insurance helped. Make sure you write down your policy info and have it in a place your designated person will find. If they don’t know about the policy, they won’t know to collect on it when the time comes.
5. Plan your funeral. My husband and I had conversations about what he wanted if he died. He wanted a celebration of life, that included a lot of bourbon and his best buddies. I tried to stick to that idea but his mother had other plans. We clashed during the planning and we now no longer speak. Had I had something in writing, proving what he wanted, I may have been able to save our relationship. The after party ended up split two ways. Half of us met up at the local VA bar and the other half attended a church luncheon. The cemetery we used gave me a packet that I could fill in all of my wishes for my funeral, so when the time comes they just have to hand it over. I also prepaid my funeral expenses.
Regardless of where you’re at in your relationship, if you’re married or have kids and these things are not done, set down your phone and take care of these, yesterday!
I hope that you don’t have my same experiences, but if you do you’ll be happy that you were prepared.