I have been pondering for weeks on whether I should publish this article since it’s such a sensitive subject. I wrote it weeks ago when events in my life inspired me! I ultimately decided that while it could be upsetting to some, preparing for the unthinkable is too important to not touch on it.
Have you prepared for the unthinkable — your spouse not coming home?
Trust me the last thing I want to be thinking about is this subject, especially since we are prepared. But what about those who aren’t? This subject, although difficult to think about, is something that needs to be discussed because being prepared for the “what ifs” is so important.
I spent weeks working with our real estate lawyer to make sure the documents were written up and he was familiar enough to take over if something ever happened. I even took the day off and my husband and I spent the last day we were home together going to the legal office to get everything notarized, making sure we had everything covered. It was not my idea of fun.
Although you may feel like you’ve heard all this before, please read and digest it all. Trust me, I get it. No one wants to talk about this or even think about it. But I would hate for you or your loved one not to be covered if the unthinkable actually happened.
Preparing for the Unthinkable
I read and took Theresa Jones’ story to heart. We are prepared, and if you are too, I have seen enough this week alone to know that you are in the minority.
Please I am begging you, no matter the stage you are in your life, you owe it to yourself and most importantly to your family to think about the unthinkable and make sure you are prepared.
This isn’t a one-sided conversation. Please do yourself a favor and make sure you are equally aware. This is one of the most important joint decisions — besides children — to have. I know Theresa has said many times, if she had known, she would have fixed the problem.
Tips for Getting Your Papers in Order
- Have a Will
Make sure it is up-to-date and covers your current wishes. I was told by a lawyer that unless stated, things go to parents first (if you’re not married or if you both die with no children). Are you okay with that?
- Use Joint Names
All of your documents should have joint names on them if you are married. While my husband is deployed, I have found limitations where I need his signature. Luckily, I can just send an email and have him add my name to whatever is needed. If something happens, though, you won’t be able to do that. Make sure you are self-sufficient and have the documents to cover it.
- Plan for Responsibilities
Make sure your responsibilities are taken care of. I have educated our family lawyer so he is ready to jump in if a mortgage company, tenant, etc., decides to be difficult. Yes, we could have used the free JAG lawyer, but for me it was important to have someone tangible to have to deal with everything if the worst ever happened.
- Have Extra Money
You should have money put away that can be used to take care of costs until you are reimbursed. This is more geared to parents. I was talking to friends recently, and they brought up how their parents added them on their accounts so they could keep paying bills until problems ended. I know I wouldn’t have been able to easily keep my parents estate covered when I was young in college. So make sure this is thought about!
- Have Life Insurance
No one is looking to profit from one’s death, but the last thing you want is for your family to lose their standard of living while they are mourning. Make sure you have enough life insurance that your family won’t be struggling financially in the midst of their grief. We have life insurance on both of us. Enough that my husband can pay off our rentals with mine, so he can hire a manager and not deal with it! We have enough on him that I will be able to provide for our future children and not have to go back to work instantly.
Notes on Life Insurance
- The younger someone is, the cheaper life insurance is. It was hard enough to get a fighter pilot insured. It is best to do that before he has had an ejection, etc. We are setting ourselves up NOW pre-kid, so we can be set post-kid. This way life doesn’t happen and we aren’t able to be prepared. Term life insurance is for 30 years.
- Should you use your employer’s insurance or get it from somewhere else? Navy SGLI is the cheapest I have seen. So get it for everyone — husband and wife. For those who are civilians, evaluate your employer’s insurance. I found that it was cheaper for me to go through a nationally recognized insurance provider than my company. Plus, I got to lock in my rates for 30 years and could bring it with me, whereas employer sponsored insurance is only applicable while you are there and based on your age.
- For military members, we have found that USAA and Navy Mutual are the best options. Everyone else seems to have a war clause (a clause saying you will not be covered if you die during the act of war).
These are just my thoughts from someone who has researched and talked to the professionals after reading Theresa’s story. I have learned how important preparing for these things is. So consider this your knock in the head. Speak to a lawyer, JAG, or someone to prepare and get your papers in order.
Did I miss anything? How are you preparing for the unthinkable?0
what about Power of Attorneys. When I was deployed my husband got transferred and bought a new home for us. Having a POA helps if you need it.
I totally agree. When my husband deployed he left me with 5 different poa’s since it seemed liked every financial institution had a different requirement. I have found that some brokers have a “unique” poa they require. So definitely ask before he leaves if you are buying a house or doing something else “unique”.