Friday, April 13, 2012

Wills, Bills, and Other Grown-Up Matters

One focus that has been a major priority for us ever since we bought our house and especially since we became pregnant with Anna was to make sure that we were prepared if something were to happen to one of us. Even at our age, we unfortunately have several friends that have gone through the devastating loss of a spouse, and the last thing we would want to do is to leave each other with the burden of a mortgage and bills and childcare, on top of the grieving process.

When we bought the house, pre-kiddos, we both took out life insurance policies on each other which would basically give the other spouse enough money to carry the house and bills. Once we became pregnant with Anna, we increased Steve's life insurance coverage pretty significantly, and then just recently we upped mine too. We re-evaluate our coverage once or twice a year to make sure we have enough to cover everything, and especially at new big events like a positive pregnancy test.

The great thing about being young and healthy is that life insurance policies aren't very expensive!! The process is fairly easy and straight-forward, and although it is a little more of a pain in the derriere to do while you're pregnant, I can speak from experience that it can definitely be done. Make sure to shop around the various insurance companies because the quotes can vary widely for identical coverage, and this is especially important if you have any existing health issues.

Guys, I can't even tell you how much peace of mind it gives me that if God forbid, something were to happen to Steve, our family would still be provided for and we would be able to take care of ourselves. And it gives me comfort to know that if something were to happen to me, at least Steve would have a cushion to take some time off to be with the children, and to be able to afford to find them quality childcare. It absolutely blows my mind when life insurance comes up in conversation with other moms and they don't have any coverage at all (on either spouse!!), or just enough to cover funeral expenses. So as a personal PSA, go get yourselves some life insurance.

The other thing that we recently crossed off our to-do list was to get legal wills. This was something that we really should have done earlier, but at least it's done. We opted to go through an estate attorney, and he helped us set up trusts for Anna and the future kids, set out a custody/guardianship plan, and also helped designate asset distribution. The attorney also helped us set up health care directives (or living wills), so our health care/end of life wishes are clear and communicated. Morbid, yes, but we had very specific desires in terms of our children's guardianship and estate planning, and it's given us immense peace of mind to know that now if something happens to us, Anna's guardianship and property isn't in the hands of the government to allocate. This is another thing that I think all parents should have to look out for the best interests of their children, so I'll add this to the PSA list.

If your will/estate is straightforward, and you want to avoid the expense of hiring an attorney, one option that I learned about while researching was www.legalzoom.com. You essentially plug in all of your information, pay the $70, and the website will create a legal document that will outline your wishes. If your situation is more complicated, or if there will be a significant amount of life insurance money or property, you probably do want to at least consult with an estate attorney, but for a simple will I think the legalzoom.com seems like a good option.

Sorry for the morbid post today - sometimes being a grown-up isn't all that fun, is it?? I promise to do a camera clean-out soon so some cute pictures will be coming your way to make up for it  :-)

3 comments:

Amber said...

You're right, sometimes being a grown up is no fun! We just recently upped my husbands policy and took one out on myself and on our daughter too. No fun, but it's something that has to be done. We still need to get our wills done though! Thanks for posting this, it may help to kick my behind in gear and get it done!

Claire Maria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lisa Elaine said...

What company did you use for life insurance? Did you use the same one for both you and Steve? We will be taking out a policy once Ben starts working, we are thinking of going with USAA who does all our insurance but I want to at least compare with a few others.