Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Are you prepared?


We are all quite used to hearing about the “C” or the “F” word (unfortunately), and some of you will be familiar with the “D” word. For many of us however, the “D” word is something that only impinges on our lives when someone near and dear to us, departs this world.

To those of you who are going through or have recently gone through this painful experience and who might find this particular blog a little painful, I apologise.

It is something that has been playing on my mind recently. I guess it has been brought a little nearer to home each time I've had to accompany OH to A & E with chest pains, or your child ends up in Intensive Care fighting for their life (long ago thank goodness!).

Both of us have recently been very pro-active where the “D” word is concerned - it wasn't always so. DB was the executor of his parents wills. It had the effect of bringing into focus what it might be like for your own children should they have to deal with this event and nothing has been prepared in advance.

His parents had both made wills and luckily for us, his father had literally just made and paid for, funeral plans for them both a few days before he died. Unknown to us at the time, he realized he would probably die within a few short days and even had the foresight to draw out cash and store it in his accounts storage box. The former two things gave us less to have to contemplate, the cash made things a lot easier until bank accounts were transferred over to his mum. For that foresight, we were grateful.

Within weeks of his father's death, we had both made our own 'home-style' wills. These were done officially by a solicitor after his mother died, so we know everything is okay on that score. We have copies and DS. knows where they are stored.

We have now paid up front for our funerals – no more costs will be incurred other than flowers and a bunch from the garden will do us nicely - thanks. So, he doesn't have to worry about that either. Have you any idea how much it costs? The cost rises each year and it is not cheap to shuffle off this mortal coil. Also, you can make funeral plans at any age, you don't have to be in your dotage to make and pay for them!

We have sorted out our finances so that should we both happen to go at the same time, DS. also knows where this information is kept.

However, what has really been bugging me recently due to DB's recent health scares (an ongoing hypertension issues) is this. If he goes first (and it's his pension we live on), would I be able to manage financially, would I be able to stay in our home?

The mortgage may now be paid off (and I urge as many of you to work towards this if at all possible) but what money would I have to live on? I am nowhere near pensionable age yet other than savings, have no money of my own.

One of our neighbours is so superstitious, he won't make a will because he believes if he does, he will die. Yet he runs his own business, has children and no matter how often you tell him that the government would take nearly half of his estate due to him having died intestate, he still will not deal with it. He wasn't married and being partners is a whole different ball game that I wouldn't have time to write here.

He is not alone in believing such things. Others believe they are too young to either think about it or walk around with the mentality of “it won't happen to me”.

Life insurance, who needs it. You've made wills – why?, what on earth possessed you to pay good money for your funerals in advance– are you mad? You could have bought a new car, or had some holidays etc”.

All those things are true, but none of them help your loved ones deal with things after you are gone. Nor do they give you peace of mind.

So this week, we have sat down and discussed just what money would be available to me if such an event should happen - both in the years before I reach pensionable age and afterwards.

Alternatively, if I should be first to go, from a money point of view, nothing would change. DB would get some extra from small amounts of my tiny eventual pensions and a small life insurance.

Now, I have peace of mind, I know what I would be entitled to, whether I could stay in our home or if I would need to sell. We both have peace of mind knowing our child would have a few less things to think about when the “D” event happens.

Be sure of one thing, it will happen. We are all born to die. Are you prepared?

3 comments:

  1. This post is of great interest to me because my parents - Mum really - are in a similar position as you were, ie what will she live on if my dad dies first. They are 69 and 68. I know they don't have wills and are of the generation where the man took care of all the finances - my mum doesn't even know how much my dad gets in his pensions. She has a small one of her own and couldn't possibly live on it (thankfully the mortgage is paid off) but I don't think she realises that she will be entitled to my dad's pension should anything happen to him. I believe he has three private pensions but anything my mum knows she has gleaned from snooping around. My dad gets angry if anybody tries to discuss money or finances. It's just sticking your head in the sand but in his case has more to do with chauvinism than fatalism. We made wills several years ago, wholly because our youngest is severely autistic and his future care must be planned for; we are also insured and I have worked all my life so have a full stamp. But another almost 20 years of work ahead of me! Big Man has a great MOD pension too. We must pay off the mortgage though....this is my 'forever house' and I'd hate to have to leave through inability to pay for it.
    Phew, that was long!

    K xx

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  2. Hi, thanks for responding. I feel it pays to be prepared simply because it was an absolute shocker having to deal with the aftermath of losing F in L, then M in Law. She had to come to live with us until their house was sold and a new one bought (awful, awful time). Then when she went, had to sell up and deal with it all again. The stress on me was not as great as on OH and that was hard to see.

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  3. A great post and a really important thing to deal with. I have learnt though bitter experience the need for a will. My Mum never got round to doing her will, so when she died all passed to my step-father, which was fine and we tried to tell him how important it was to get a will done. He never got round to doing it, and died shortly after my Mum, so the home that had been my grandparents, and all my Mum's belongings, jewellery etc went to his children (who hadn't spoken to him for 30 years, but came out of the woodwork as soon as money was mentioned). So moral of the story - GET A WILL!!!!!

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