Planning for Your Family’s Financial Future
So you’re going to die. Everyone dies – it’s a fact of life – but are you ready to go at any time? You should be, especially if you have dependents or family members. Careful planning now will allow your family to carry on without you should the worst happen tomorrow or fifty years from now.
The most important document you should have even before your baby is born is a will. Work with a lawyer if possible to structure the will to include any children you may have in the future and then you won’t have to update the will down the road if you have more kids. Working with a lawyer will also ensure that you have all the right signatures and stamps in the right place. Finally, once you have a will, give copies of it to trusted family members and store it in a place where it is easily accessible should a distraught partner or parent need to find it.
In your will, you can divide your assets any way you’d like, but most importantly, you’ll need to designate who gets custody of your children should both you and your partner die suddenly. If you select your sister, for example, be sure to clear that with your sister ahead of time before you make it official. Not leaving a designated guardian for your children would mean your children may become wards of the state before the state manages to find someone in the family to care for them.
If you have life insurance through work, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. However, even if you have a life insurance policy through work, you’re probably going to need more. Do the math with your partner. If you were to die tomorrow, how much would your partner need to keep the children in your current lifestyle, home and schools? How much would it cost to send the kids to college someday? How much would it cost to bury you and pay off all outstanding debts so that your children and partner can live without the burdens of your debts? Total that up and don’t be surprised when you discover just how much you need.
Talk to life insurance specialists to get quotes from at least three providers. Then, pick the best quote from a reliable agency and establish a policy for both you and your partner. Fortunately, the price for healthy individuals of child bearing age is very low for term life insurance, making it a popular way to arrange financial protection. This should be done as early in the pregnancy as possible. By arranging insurance you can deliver your baby and know from the start that her financial needs are arranged from day one – even if you haven’t managed to get a diaper on her little bottom properly yet.
In our digital age, we have any number of passwords and online protections in place for various bank accounts and financial information. Make a copy of your bank account information along with a power of attorney for your spouse and the designated guardian for the children. Leave account details for your bank as well. Should you die suddenly, the first few weeks following the tragedy will be the most challenging both financially and emotionally. Having your effects organized and placed in a safe place will make it possible for your spouse to manage the bills and the additional costs associated with a death. Your goals with your financial planning should be to simplify the lives of those you leave behind.