Thinking Ahead for the Future of Your Family

Thinking Ahead for the Future of Your Family
October 8, 2019 Our Circle of Moms

By: Cassie Van Der Hyde

If there is ever anything that sobers you up to the realities of life, it’s spending any amount of time in the hospital. I’ve been a nurse for thirteen years now, and I’ve seen a whole lot of that reality. In healthcare we often have to address things with patients that are sad and hard to talk about. Financial hardships, the loss of decision-making ability, medical decisions…. For the most part, at least in my nursing specialty, this happens to people much farther along in life, at a time when illness is more of an “expected” thing. Sometimes, though, it happens when people are younger and it is much less expected.

Happy family on the lawn in the park

   Everyone knows about health insurance and what a hardship it can be if you don’t have it in place when you get sick. But what about medical decisions you might like made (or not made) on your behalf if you weren’t able to make them on your own? Do you have a plan in place for a designated person who you might trust to make those decisions? What about if, in the most unfortunate circumstance of them all, you weren’t able to care for your kids or you passed away?  Do you have a plan in place for someone to provide for your kids physically and manage their financial futures?
   I ask these questions because many people my age, at the beginning of their family lives, don’t think about these things. Maybe you are like me, in your thirties with young kids, and you needed a reminder that resources and planning tools are out there. You might even be one of those people who has a college savings plan for your toddler but still hasn’t made the leap to getting a will and guardianship plan for them drawn up, applied for a real life insurance policy, or made out a health care proxy assignment. These all seem like really daunting tasks, but I’m here to tell you – they are usually not more than taking the time to sit down with a lawyer and sign a few papers, and the benefit and peace of mind that you get knowing that there is protection for your kids and their future vastly outweighs the work you have to put into it.
When my husband and I first got married, we were encouraged by smarter, older family members to get term life insurance policies when we were young and rates were low. We did that right away, but it wasn’t until we had a home and kids that we *finally* bit the bullet and got a will and guardianship plan drawn up. We were anxious about the cost and about the scariness of it all, but when we called a lawyer up, they explained the fees we should expect (they were less than I expected!), made a meeting with us for the next week, and were wonderful and gentle in the way they explained the process. Much easier than expected.
    Maybe you’ve been procrastinating, maybe you’re scared, or maybe you just didn’t know to think ahead about this stuff. If you are in any of those categories, take this as a reminder to put at very least a will and life insurance on your to-do list, today, and take the steps you need to take to give yourself a little peace of mind for the future of your family.

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