“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
It’s difficult to imagine life without our loved ones. However, we all know that none of us can escape our mortality. That is why it’s always important to be prepared in case of a loved one’s death.
In a typical household, it is not uncommon that one spouse seems to be the keeper of all the financial management and records. This person also pays the bills, manages the budget, monitors and tracks the investments, oversees the personal and business assets, prepares the taxes, etc. The pain of suddenly losing this person to death will cause additional stress and confusion to an already grievous situation. Financial preparedness can certainly reduce stress and confusion, and allow the grieving process to take its course.
Financial preparedness begins with asking several simple questions:
- Do you know where all of your financial documents are?
- Do you know how much it costs for your family to live every month?
- What are your sources of income and how much will you receive every month and every year?
- Where are all of your checking accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts located?
- Are there beneficiaries on all of your retirement accounts and who are they?
- Do you have life insurance?
- Is there an estate plan that includes a Trust, Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directive?
- Who do you contact for advice for financial, tax or legal matters?
Far too often a spouse is left without answers to these questions, which can make the grieving process difficult and add unnecessary stress. The good news is that if you are reading this and this has not happened to you, there is still time for you to prepare.
Author Susan Alpert spoke at our May Apriem Women of Wisdom event. In her book “Driving Solo,” Susan chronicles the struggles she encountered in her life following the sudden death of her beloved husband of 46 years. In her book “Later is Too Late,” Susan interviews a wide range of women who faced situations and consequences of preparedness and unpreparedness. We learned from both of these books that procrastination is a common mistake and the consequences of being unprepared are so much more painful than the preparation itself. Waiting until later may definitely be too late. If you missed the event and would like a copy of her latest book, please let us know and we would be happy to share it with you.