Shortly after Jarrod and I got married I insisted we purchase level term life insurance. We were young and both fairly established in our careers, earning a reasonable income. We had no debt outside student loans and no assets either. We each purchased $100,000 in 10-year coverage for about $250/year for both of us. We opted for 10-year knowing we'd have kids soon and need to cancel this insurance and increase the coverage amount. This insurance was grieving money more than anything else.
Prior to Wesley's birth, were Jarrod to die, his student loans would die too and I'd be debt free. I make enough money to support myself, but I felt I needed a safety net to handle burial expenses and grief. I felt that $100,000 was a good bit of money to buy time to travel, take off work, etc. It was inexpensive and perfect for our season of life. For a few hundred bucks a year, I had peace.
Then I got pregnant.I insisted almost immediately that Jarrod switch his policy to 20-year level coverage at $400,000. I was irrationally terrified Jarrod would die and leave me a single mom without any assets. After Wesley was born I did the same (my coverage is $500,000). This way, if either of us were to pass, we could take that money, invest it, and essentially replace the lost income without ever touching the principle. If both of us were to die, Wesley would get $900,000 to cover his care. We purchase our insurance from Zander Insurance and have been very happy. We get a great rate and the process is simple. We pay less than $500/year for this coverage and it is worth every penny in peace of mind, if nothing else. I think it's the best money we spend all year. We make sacrifices in other areas to ensure that our future is cared for, this is just another element of that.
I know this is an incredibly morbid topic. I really hate it, but I know it cannot be avoided. Making these decisions is part of being a grown-up.We opted for 20-year coverage, because - God willing - in 20 years our children will be mostly grown, our house will be paid for, we will be debt free, have an emergency fund, college funds, retirement accounts, and a significant chuck of cash. Heaven forbid one of us passes away after we turn 50, the other will, more than likely, be fine living on the wealth and income we have saved. If this is not the case, we will purchase additional term insurance at that time. We could have purchased 30-year coverage for slightly more but feel confident that in 20 years, we'll be more than set financially.
Wesley's arrival brought a whole new set of questions. While I was on maternity leave, I purchased a Last Will and Testament from US Legal Forms. It took me about 6 weeks to read through the documents. I cried a lot. I couldn't imagine losing my husband. I couldn't imagine Wesley losing both of his parents. Being a grown-up is so hard, but I wanted to ensure that those I love were cared for in the event of my passing.
On the way to Courtney and Philip's wedding, I had printed copies of the will for Jarrod and I to go over. While he drove I read over the documents and we made decisions. It's been nearly 2 months and while the will is complete, Jarrod hasn't proofed it so we can sign it, have it notarized, and make copies for all the necessary parties. I'm thankful we've made the decisions and am ready for him to sign off so we can officially file it and put this behind us.
Our will contains instructions for when Wesley will be eligible to receive our life insurance money, who will be appointed his guardians, and who will be the executor of our estate. Because life insurance passes outside of probate, we essentially have no estate right now. There is a section of the will dictating who will receive special items like jewelry, but other than that, we really do not own anything outside of our cars. The will exists primarily to be a legal representation of how we want Wesley cared for and what to do in the event of one or both of our deaths. Having a will prevents tension, disagreements, or our families wondering what we would have wanted.
Our will reflects the season of life we are in currently. As our wealth and family grows, our will will change to reflect that. Once we are own a home, we will begin saving for Wesley's college fund and our retirement. These assets will be included in our new draft of the will, as will any future children.
God willing, if we continue to live like we are, we will save quite a bit of money over our lifetime. It is important to us that this money is a blessing to others. Having a will can ensure that our passing will not create an unnecessary burden on our family. Losing a loved one is hard enough. I do not want to further hurt our family by passing without a will dictating Wesley's care and the distribution of our assets.
While I hate the responsibility that comes with adulthood, I do appreciate the peace that having this taken care of brings. I have a folder of organized copies of important documents, insurance information, and other necessary things in the event that Jarrod or I become incapacitated. I love my husband and my son too much to ignore this responsibility. I pray that these precautions are never needed.
How do you plan for the future? What efforts have you made to be sure your family is taken care of?