anyone interested in doing a challenge to get our legal/financial house in order?

Over in Journals, I brought up the idea that it might be interesting to have a challenge where we get our house in order legally and financially. And by financially, I don't mean pay off debt, retirement, etc. I mean wills, power of attorneys, etc. All the stuff we need to have in place if we are incapacitated or for when we die.  farfromtheusual mentioned the book / website Get your Sh*t Together so something along that line.  Or if you are Dave Ramsey follower, a legacy box/drawer.  Anyone interested?

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  • I highlighted this paragraph in the book What Matters Most

     

     The double trauma sucker punch - the knowledge that I had screwed up some of the things I could have controlled, such as legal stuff, insurance, and money - made a very hard time even harder. Control is perhaps merely an illusion, except for all the things you can control.

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    • MXMOM ugh, yeah, that's rough.

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  •  Next step (step 2)

    pick one thing from your list that you can do with minimal effort. Preferably it can be done by the end of the day. Then do it. And cross it off your list. There, didn’t that feel good?

    to recap - Step 1 is grab a notebook and write a list of everything you need to get in place in the event you die (especially unexpectedly) or are critically injured. You don’t need to do any of these things right now. Just get the tasks out of your head and onto paper where you can address them. Don’t worry about the steps. Just brain dump. 

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  • This is an awesome challenge. I just picked up the "Peace of Mind Planner" which is a fillable book to out all of the information someone would need to know upon your passing: bills, banks/credit cards, vehicles, pets, passwords, all that jazz. I started filling in the basics the day I got it. I'll definitely check out the websites mentioned; thanks for starting this!

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  • MXMOM said:
    Next step (step 2)
    pick one thing from your list that you can do with minimal effort.

    ✔️ Done. Prescription Print-out requested and picked up (for both of us). I have scanned them to Dropbox and put the paper copies in the Important information drawer. 

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  • where is everyone?  Did you finish one quick task on your list? Shout it out here. Haven’t started yet? What is holding you back? How can we help? 

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  • Step 3. This one is a toughie. Who is your executor?  
    Usually spouses name each other. Which is simple if the spouse is also the beneficiary or co-owns everything. But you also need to name someone else in the event you and your spouse die together or you die and your spouse is incapacitated.
    Now who? In a family with adult children they are usually next in line. Simple if there is one adult child. Can be more complicated if there are several children. Even more complicated if these children are from blended families. 

    Some parents think one child will be jealous if they are not named so the name all the children. Yikes don’t do that. Then everything will need to be agreed between and signed by all the children. Especially difficult if they live in different places

    I don’t know about you but I don’t think my 25 or 21 year old children are capable of doing what needs to be done. They always call me for help with this kind of stuff. But they can’t call me if I’m dead or in a coma. 

    So who? A sibling? How old are they? Where do they live?  They may not be the best choice. 

    I have no answer  I am going to have to go through my list of people  Whoever I pick I am going to put compensation in the will  because this is a job  or they can use the money to hire a professional to walk them through it  

    here is an article I found to be a good read on being an executor  

    https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-asked-to-be-an-executor-read-this-first-1.990266


     

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    • MXMOM Yeah, this is a really tough decision which has no 100% correct answer for all families. The main thing is to keep your will updated as situations change - as I mentioned in my comment below, my mother was my father's named executor and I had to have her and my brother agree to vacate the entire will in order for me to take over that duty. 

      Re: compensation, I think it is a really excellent idea to include that in the will; also, check your jurisdiction's regulations for executor compensation. In the U.S. at least, some states have it included as either a percentage of assets, and you may want to specify if the compensation in your will is in addition to the area law.

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      • SewPurple
      • PHP Dev with a fabric habit
      • sewpurple
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      MXMOM We have a list of 9. Starting with parents, moving to siblings, oldest to youngest. Hopefully nothing will happen until she's 18, to any of us, but we think that's a pretty solid group of options. They've all been notified that they don't have to do it, but hopefully one of them will.  We've also started talking to her about it in general terms too. If we have bite sized conversations over the next 10 years, then if something happens when she turns 18 then I think she'll be pretty well prepared. I hope, anyway!

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  • Hah! My budget's name is actually "Get Your Sh*t Together" (without the asterisk...) as inspired by that website. I have been working through my father's estate for the last 2.5 years and it was in very, very bad shape; think two hoarder properties, a decade of tax evasion, and a 30-year-old will that left his estranged wife with probable early dementia as his executor. That last part I had legally revoked, and the taxes are still in progress (BUT AM SENDING TO THE ACCOUNTANT THIS MONTH!!).  If anyone is also left with a sudden and untidy executorship and needs advice on how to begin sifting the wheat from the chaff, feel free to reach out. 

    Anyway, I'm not ready to participate in this challenge for myself as I'm pretty booked up with his estate, and have no children or spouse to consider at the moment. But this will (pun intended) be helpful to check back on while helping to set up my mom's estate and then my own. And know this: having your budget and tracking accounts up to date in YNAB (and making sure that password is included in LastPass) already gives your future executor a huge leg up. I made a separate budget for my mom's accounts to help her figure out a retirement budget and work with a financial advisor, but also partly so I knew where all of her bank and retirement accounts are located so I could contact them when needed. If you don't want the financial institute in your account name, you can add it in the account notes... and even add the beneficiaries in case you want to quickly see where you might need to make changes as needed. You could even add life insurance policies and such as tracking accounts, so they know quickly where to go to help with funeral expenses.

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  • I am still struggling to decide who to have as my executor in the event hubby and I go at the same time. Although TBH I don't even think hubby could handle it on his own. But this challenge is very timely as it is-

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    • MXMOM Is a professional/paid executor something you would consider? I've no idea how to find one, but apparently that's a thing....

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
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      Fuzzball Meows yes, that is something that gets done apparently at an enormous cost, usually a percentage of the estate. But I wonder if there are flat fee ones. More things to research.😣

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  • I wrote a will already, but I'm still wanting to change it.  I'm not a big materialist type person so I just don't have a ton of stuff to give to people and I'm trying to figure out what sort of things I can leave to family that would be special and thoughtful.  For now I decided to leave the house to my fiance, since we live in it together and I don't want him to be having to move if anything happens to me.  I am leaving my retirement accounts to my nieces through my sister, for now.  My life insurance policy goes to my sister for them also, apparently,  but I will probably change that next year when open enrollment happens.  

     

    I read the book "Being Moral".  Well, actually, I stayed up till 3AM reading that book the other night, it was so interesting.  I'm contemplating how I want to deal with the issues he discusses in there, but it's harder to do when you don't know what the situation is going to be.  A lot of the stories in that book were about people who were sick with a specific thing and made their wishes known after they knew what the medical issue was.  

    What I need to do:

    • Get each other's family's phone numbers so you can call in case of an emergency and label them in your phone.
    • List of all accounts, account #s, passwords, etc to give to the beneficiary
    • Information for lock to house and how to change the codes
    • list of recurring bills
    • List of my important contacts, phone numbers
    • Info on life insurance policies
    • List of work information
    • Last will and testament (DONE-ish but I want to find some thoughtful items to give to people)
    • Power of Attorney
    • Should I put my house in a trust? 
    • Double check all my direct beneficiaries on accounts
    • Check life insurance at work beneficiary DONE
    • Health Care proxy and decide what I want to do under different situations of sickness and write it all down somewhere
    • Living Will
    • Letters to my loves ones, or letter to one loved one about burial and funeral
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    • PhysicsGal  just so you know, I’m pretty sure you can change the beneficiary for your life insurance at any time and there is no need to wait until open enrollment, but I understand that it is easier to do everything all at once.  However it would be nice to have one more thing done that you don’t have to think about anymore!

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      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
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      Yellow Pufferfish Thanks!  I’ll contact the benefits people and ask them how to do it. I couldn’t do it from the online system so I figured I’d have to wait for open enrollment. But it doesn’t make sense that you could only change it once a year.

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  • Roll call!

    Are you following along with this challenge? Are you just thinking about it? Check in with a reply to this post and let me know where you are at.  Technically the challenge is on Step 3.

    To recap

    Step 1 - get a notebook and braindump everything you need to do to get your financial and legal affairs in order. Big or small. Don't worry about doing them yet. Just start the list so you have something tangible to work with. 

    Step 2 - pick something easy and doable in a day from your list. Then do it. Cross it off the list. Do it even if it creates more tasks on your list. For example maybe you have "locate wills" on your list. You know that once you find them you will have to review them and then update them etc. But for now, just do that one thing and cross it off. 

    Step 3 - choose an executor. Yikes this one is driving me crazy. 

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  • Step 3 update - I have an executor!

    I was chatting with a longtime friend about who her executor is. It’s her sister (after her husband). Hmmm not helpful. Only child. I explained about the boys not being ready. She offered to be the executor until they are ready. And then she would help them if needed if/when I change it. She is awesome at this kind of stuff. And no, I didn’t chat with her hoping she would do it. I was totally surprised. 
     

    Password manager selection is still ongoing. I have narrowed it down (I think) to Bitwarden and LastPass. I am leaning toward Bitwarden because it’s free and for the most part I am only getting it for ease of communication in the event of death or injury. I could just keep a list but then I have to remember to keep that up to date.

    I borrowed Being Mortal book. Not really for planning but just for interest. 

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    • MXMOM Yay on the finding an executor!!

       

      MXMOM said:
      I borrowed Being Mortal book. Not really for planning but just for interest. 

       It's a really great book to read, period. You don't have to read it for planning purposes. But it's fascinating. (And sad, sometimes.)

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    • MXMOM We went thru this planning and updated our wills in May 2020 with my children, when covid started as both my husband and I are health care workers in a hospital and what we saw go down with other families quickly, scared us.  And yes it was awful sitting our 21,19 and 17 year old sons down for conversations about wills, our hopes (keep the house until the youngest is done high school), guardianship for the 17 year old (the older two agreed to do it and luckily one still lives in the same city) and when to call it if we ended up in the ICU or how much to do when we were in the ICU.   And yes it is a lot of responsibility and there is a lot of money involved (we probably have too much insurance).  They know where the accounts (and passwords) are and we asked close family friends and our neighbour to help guide them thru the process of managing a home.   I'm sure money will be wasted, I hope some goes for counselling.

      I am mostly a lurker, but I love to read your posts.  My son is using the app you suggested a few years back.  Thanks for all your communications.

      I work on a cancer/palliative care floor and cannot emphasize enough, please, please have conversations (with parents, children, siblings) about how you want your life to look if bad things happen and how you want the end to look.   What does the living with illness look like and dying with illness look like.  It seems there are families struggling to know what to do everyday because these conversations never happened.  Not knowing, usually means a lot of guilt and angst for the family member(s) making the decisions (not to mention the resulting discord among family members).  It seems to me,  the group that struggles the most, are children not knowing their parent's wishes.  I'm sure that parents wanting kids to live forever will always be the case.   Husbands and wives seem to do ok in these situations.

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    • We decided that the 21, and the 19 year old would be the co-executors.  And our accountant is a family friend who will help with the paperwork.  In the end we decided together (all 5 of us) that that would be best for our family and hope it will not happen for many years.

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  • Step 4 - make list of all accounts (retirement/savings/etc.) and insurance policies. List should include institution, account/policy number, contact info, current balance/policy amount, and beneficiary. For now just list who the beneficiaries should be or who you think they are or put a question mark.  We will confirm them in the next step. This can be a handwritten list in your workbook or a spreadsheet or word document. 

    To recap 

    Step 1 - get a notebook and braindump everything you need to do to get your financial and legal affairs in order. Big or small. Don't worry about doing them yet. Just start the list so you have something tangible to work with.  

    Step 2 - pick something easy and doable in a day from your list. Then do it. Cross it off the list. Do it even if it creates more tasks on your list. For example maybe you have "locate wills" on your list. You know that once you find them you will have to review them and then update them etc. But for now, just do that one thing and cross it off. 

    Step 3 - choose an executor. Yikes this one is driving me crazy. 

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  • Hi MXMOM and team. Good topic, and good motivation to progress my own mental list on this front. I'm a young'un here in Australia, but I have a little daughter, am a single parent, and have now a mortgage, so even more important that these things are dealt with. 

    I already have a current will and Power of Attorney, but number of things to do still. Not that I plan to be dying any time soon!! I do have a horror of dying unexpectedly or having something happen, and leaving my kiddo and my parents without things in order.  


    My list: 

    • Write Advanced Care Directive (for the horribly complex discussions that families have to have if I'm not dead)
    • Compile passwords, list of assets and debts, utilities and other daily things for access
    • Double check insurances to make sure all are up to date and able to cover all expenses
    • Write directive for the two dogs
    • Write wishes for funeral, organ donation (take all my useful bits, I won't need them)
    • Letters to loved ones
    • Investigate funeral and grave costs to see if I can pay off ahead of time

    Will probably think of more, but that's a start. 

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  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    3. Passwords - made no progress here. Have to find time to sit down with P to evaluate options, since he has some computery knowledge stuff that may help with decision making. I suspect if we don't have this done by end of the weekend I'm just going to throw a dart and pick one, because I don't want to test drive a bunch, I just want to have things set up to *work* when needed, which it looks like any of the options can do.

     I am starting to lean toward just write them down on a piece of paper.  For the purposes of knowledge sharing in case someone (including hubby) need it. The iOS password manager works well for me and I am a techie person and this has been freaking annoying. They are all basically the same.  I recommend the free Bitwarden if you still want to do something technical but I really think that just sitting there in hospice, you guys could create a list on paper (or in excel or notes or something). Then print and put with your wills. 

    Trigger warning 

     

    This must be so difficult for you. I was reminded today about how sudden all of this can be. In a work meeting, I asked who the new coordinator is because the one I have dealt with (and love dealing with) left on maternity leave in May.  We were in Microsoft Teams so I typed "who should I talk to because firstname lastname is away?". Someone typed back that she had died. What?!?!?  Surely just someone with the same name. So I clarified that firstname was pregnant. And sure enough, it is her. She died during childbirth from an unexpected complication requiring an emergency C section.  The baby is fine so the poor husband is trying to navigate a new life as a father while dealing with this.  It just confirmed for me that this is important stuff because you never know. 

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
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      Another thing that happened today was an article in the Toronto Star titled This Ontario man died without a will. A Toronto police officer is charged with stealing his $800,000 estate.

      Quick summary - man is single, no kids. Died in 2017 at age 77. Has a half brother (with whom he is not close) who got a call at that time from the government saying he is the only known beneficiary as there is no will. By the time they call back, he is told they found a will and you're not in it. Half brother says ok and goes on with life. Then he gets a call in 2019 from the police saying that there was a fraud and collusion between a police officer and an employee of the trust office. Makes you wonder how often they (and others) have done this. 

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    • Holy moly, MXMOM - my eyes just got bigger and bigger as I read through your last two posts here. I appreciate your diligence in keeping this challenge up and running. It's all so important.

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    • Marisa Yes. Thank you for finding the words. 

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  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    6. Funeral planning - No progress here. Not even talking to P about it. 

     ooof. That is a hard one. I can't even get hubby to discuss any of this and it is technically all "theoretical" at this point. I can't imagine actually having to plan it as an upcoming event. Hugs.

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  • I am still working on Step 4 but I came across this article today. Not something I had really thought about since I don’t collect airmiles. This article is US based but I did a quick google search and Aeroplan in Canada has an estate policy where your points can be transferred to beneficiaries.  So if you are a points collector, you will want to make sure you include your points plan account information with your important documents. 

    https://trustandwill.com/learn/what-happens-to-airline-points-after-death

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      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 1 mth ago
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      MXMOM Oh interesting.   Some people do have lots of them - especially small businesses and self employed who can put work expenses onto credit cards and claim back the miles.

      This reminds me of something I read about people challenging the fact that you can't inherit an itunes library.   They wanted the laws changed to allow this.  Just look at the itunes site and it says they aren't transferable unless otherwise required by law.  

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
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      Yes I can here is Facebook info on death of a user. www.facebook.com/help/103897939701143/?helpref=uf_share

      seems like each platform has its own policy.  Great, more things to add to the list.  

      As for ITunes, that is very confusing situation.  Back in the beginning, when you purchased a song on iTunes it was practically the same as owning the record. Over the years the model has changed to where they are essentially a subscription service like Spotify.  From everything I have read, it seems like trying to keep your iTunes purchases for the next generation is a very difficult if not impossible exercise.  Apparently it is all outlined in the terms and conditions we don’t read before we click OK.

      Guess we have to go back to vinyl in milk crates in the basement.  

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  • How is everyone doing? I am still working on Step 4 but I want to move the challenge forward to step 5.  We are going to circle back around to financial planning. Super basic.

    Do you have an emergency fund? 

    If the answer is yes, congratulations! For you, this step is to ask yourself if you have enough in your emergency fund. Lots of YNABers are among the few people in the world that have an emergency fund. One of our YNAB “secrets” is that by having our True Expenses (TE) fully funded, the need for emergency funds goes down. Most things that are emergencies for people are actually totally predictable (TE). You may have heard that 3-6 months of expenses is what you should have. But that depends on what kind of emergency you may have. In this challenge we have been discussing some of the worst possible emergencies - death, disease, disability, etc. And these can be sudden or slow. So that emergency fund amount needs to be personalized to your situation.

    For example, I live in Canada. So my potential medical expenses for any kind of medical crisis are low. I have a secure job with benefits. So if I get sick or disabled, I have long term disability benefits. What I don’t have are short term disability benefits. We “earn” sick days and in the event of an extended medical absence I use those days to bridge to long term disability. So I am banking those days to get to enough to cover the gap. In the meantime, I need to have enough money to cover the difference. 

    All of that to just give an example of how you need to determine the right amount of emergency fund you should be aiming for. 

    So if you have an emergency fund, take the next week to picture some scenarios and identify the gaps. Then crunch the numbers that you need to cover those gaps. 

    What if you don’t have an emergency fund yet? You are paying off debt. You are living paycheque to paycheque. You are trying to fund your TE. You need an emergency fund. Before you snowball your debt. Before you fund the TE.

    Dave Ramsey says it should be $1000. Some people think that is too low. I think anything is better than nothing. You don’t want to slide into (more) debt. Or be unable to pay your rent or mortgage.  So I say go through your budget and identify the absolute bare minimums that need to be covered. Shelter and food. At a minimum. And what is the income that would come in if you were completely unable to work. The difference is the amount you need to have set aside to give you or your family a little breathing room to figure things out. 

    So in my case, our shelter expense consists of the mortgage payment, the property tax, gas, electric, and water. That total is $2400. Next is food. Our food budget could be cut back if we were in emergency mode. I guess $800 is the absolute minimum. So the total is $3200. That should be my emergency fund. Gets me or my family through one month of food and shelter. I currently have $2000 in that category. But wait, luckily my income won’t go to zero right away. I have those sick days. So I probably have about 3 weeks of pay coming in. What if I die? Can’t use sick days for that. I have life insurance but that could take a few weeks to get into our account. Notice that I am not taking my husband’s income into the equation (or vice versa if he was the one who died). Because I (or he) would certainly not be reporting to work on day 1 after a spouse’s death. So I am assuming no regular paycheque there. Without getting more detailed and complicated than I have already, let’s just say that I have calculated that the $2000 will cover us for now. 

    So to recap - Step 5 is get a bare minimum emergency fund goal funding goal set up and start building it. And if you have an emergency fund already, go through and make sure that it is the amount you need to get you through the crisis period. 

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    • MXMOM 

      It's impossible to know if one has enough in an emergency fund. We have enough to last through the most likely end of P's life on the long end, but exactly how long depends on what the emergency is. I think our situation is similar to your husband's - it's better if I die than am critically injured.

      It's open enrollment at work. I have the short term disability buy up, they got rid of the long term disability buy up so I don't have that. The question is - how do I decide on hospital/accident/critical illness/identity theft insurance? I'm thinking not hospital, because I have medical insurance and enough saved up for the max out of pocket to not be an issue. The time out of work may be problematic, but I have income replacement saved up. But I don't know about the others.

      The term life I have on P is carrying over from before, so that's good. He doesn't need an evidence of insurability - he'd totally fail that, if he needed one.

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  • MXMOM said:
    So I probably have about 3 weeks of pay coming

     I actually have 9 weeks available. Plus my contract allows for the employer to “advance” additional sick days up to a maximum of 5 weeks. (It is actually stated in hours. I have 348 hours plus up to 187.5 hours. A total of 487.5 hours are required to cover the 13 week waiting period before I could access disability insurance.) so I’m covered. 
    we have been paying for private disability insurance for hubby for the past 30 years (yikes I am not going to calculate that total cost). We did that because if he were in an accident, financially it would be better if he died than if he were critically injured (I know, I am very blunt). But we have been paying that for all this time and I haven’t looked at the coverage details in about 29 years. So I am adding that to my list of thing to do. 

    Edited to add - I am also paying for critical illness insurance for myself since I was previously self employed. But probably don’t need that any more either. 

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  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    how do I decide on hospital/accident/critical illness/identity theft insurance?

     first of all, I am so glad I don't have to deal with this "open enrolment" stuff. From everyone's comments on the forums it sounds like a horrible process.

    I would say no to identity theft insurance. Not sure what that really is but I figure I am so on top of my financial accounts that I would be able to quickly call out any fraud there. As for all the other potential things people could do with my identity, I actually feel the risk is low. 

    Accident I assume is non motor vehicle accident as car insurance should cover auto accident injuries. I am a slip and fall-er so that may be an issue but I think the short term disability should cover that for you. 

    Sucks on the long term disability not being offered. That is the real dangerous scenario (financially). 

    Hospital - sounds like you have that covered.

    Critical illness. That is a head scratcher. I had that set up when I was self employed because a lot of things that knock you down no longer kill you. And if they do, that can take a long time (sorry, I know I am posting the obvious for you but just talking it out). For myself, I think the work coverage is enough that I can cancel that on my end. I guess you need to walk through the scenario of your getting cancer or having a heart attack/stroke.  That seems to be the main things it covers. I think if it is not too much money I might take it, depending on how long the short term disability covers you.

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    • MXMOM We have basic short term and long term disability insurance that the company pays for. We still have an option to pay a premium and have higher coverage (they pay a higher percentage of our income) for the short term, but not the long term anymore.

      Part of my thinking right now is that I get another open enrollment when P dies, as that is a "qualifying life event." So I can change the options then. And while anything is possible, heart attack or stroke are unlikely, and I'm unlikely to find cancer (mostly because I refuse to look, and am too young for the normal screenings anyway).

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  • Another example of what happens when someone dies without a will.  He was diagnosed in 2016 and died in 2020. He had plenty of time to save his wife from this mess. 

    excerpt From Rolling Stone magazine article

    Chadwick Boseman's Estate Will Not Pay for His Parents' Burial Plots

    Chadwick Boseman’s widow is stepping up to personally cover the cost of his parents’ burial plots — which will be located near the Black Panther star’s — after the judge handling the late actor’s $3.5 million estate rejected the $23,951 bill on Wednesday, a source confirmed to Rolling Stone.

    Now serving as administrator of Boseman’s pending estate, Ledward believed the costs qualified as covered expenses and submitted them for court approval. The judge ultimately rejected them Wednesday..

    Boseman died August 28, 2020, after he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and quietly fought the disease as it progressed to stage IV, his family said in a statement at the time.

    Boseman died at the age of 43 without a will, so his estate is going through California’s slow process of court-governed disposition — one that involves appraisals, referees, creditor claims, and status reports.

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    • MXMOM Reasonable - buy up specifically means additional on top of, in open enrollment contexts, but not having open enrollment for this stuff, totally reasonable you didn't know :)

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  • I haven't seen this item mentioned here yet - you may want to check for unclaimed property and go ahead and claim that now. I don't know how to do that or what unclaimed property laws are like outside the U.S. - here you can go to missingmoney.com (it is a legit site) or go to your state's comptroller website to look for funds under your name (or other family members' names - I just found property from both of my grandparents who have been gone for 20+ years!!)

    Signed, an executrix who is sending in four separate forms to her state's comptroller to figure out what the property is and what documentation I may need to find and provide in order to claim it :)

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  • MXMOM said:
    For now just list who the beneficiaries should be or who you think they are or put a question mark

     Working on my list today. I opened a TFSA with EQ Bank a while back to park all of these “fully funded” categories I have :) (they pay 1.25% on regular deposits).  There’s over $25k in there. Because it’s a TFSA (like a ROTH) it can’t be joint account. I thought for sure I had set up the beneficiary but contacted them just to confirm. Turns out I hadn’t. Sent that paperwork off right away.

    Hubby still thinks I’m being morbid but when I asked him if he would know how to get that $25k if I was not around, he realized that this planning is probably not a bad exercise.  

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM got the confirmation today that they have updated the beneficiary designation. 

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  • MXMOM said:
    Password manager selection is still ongoing. I have narrowed it down (I think) to Bitwarden and LastPass. I am leaning toward Bitwarden

     I am going with BitWarden.  I just learned that they have a free 2 person plan so I am going with that.  The auto add isn't working like I want and expect it to but most of the accounts are in there so I will just manage it on an item by item basis going forward. 

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  • It seems like no one is really participating in this challenge so I am going to post occasionally on my progress.

    I have decided to go with a DIY will kit since right now the likelihood is that one of us would die, not both at the same time. So the likely scenario is that everything will go to the surviving spouse.  

    In the event of both of us dying at the same time, there is a wrinkle that we need to account for. My husband has a child from before our marriage. It is a long and complicated saga that brings up a lot of emotional issues for me but for estate purposes, the will has to be written in such a way that she is not included in the will as a surviving child.  I am going to do a bit more research. Previously we were told that we just need to name the children specifically in the will.  I am thinking that the a better approach might be to include a small amount for her to acknowledge her existence and ensure she doesn’t come after a share.  But I need to make sure that doesn’t open up an opportunity for her to dispute the amount.  

    https://eisenlaw.ca/2020/05/12/succession-law-and-children-born-out-of-wedlock/

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    • MXMOM I'm still participating! We just got a bit stalled, is all. 

      Wills, etc. are ready to be picked up from the lawyer, so have to do that this week. 

      Have to call a funeral home and talk to the crematorium people again. Then have to actually decide what we're doing.

      Passwords are annoying and a problem, but hopefully can make progress on that this week too. 

      I'm finding the worse P gets the harder all this is to think about/deal with. 

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    • MXMOM 

      I’m passively participating :) we have a will, power of attorney, and health directive but unfortunately we never got around to getting them signed, partly because I’m unsure whether a will or a living trust is best in our situation. My spouse is a lawyer so he’s asking around if someone in his circle can help with estates and trusts since we have two children.

       

      I’m so confused as to what to put in a trust because all of our accounts are either banking or retirement accounts and all have a beneficiary assigned, which are all updated. Since these accounts bypass probate, the only thing left are the cars, house, and custody of the kids, all three of which are taken care of in a will.

      However, I have no clue how to prevent my children from inheriting all that money all at once without a trust, the tax implications of all that money as income in a year, how the guardians would have access to those funds, and who would monitor ti make sure it’s all ok (although I trust my sister and brother in law completely, so maybe that’s not even a concern). 

      Otherwise, lots of other things are done:

      - I have signed us both up with our state’s memorial society (funerals.org to find your local one) which gives members access to set cremation and burial prices instead of the inflated prices loved ones have to choose during this emotional time. I included that information in our will. Also, if you need a casket for burial, you can buy it at Costco. According to consumer advocate Clark Howard, funeral homes are obligated to accept a casket provided by the family, so include those directions in your burial wishes to help your family. Here’s Clark’s info on memorial societies: https://clark.com/family-lifestyle/save-on-funeral-cremation-memorial-society/

      - I updated the passwords in LastPass and told my family my master password, but I think I need to find a more elegant way of giving them that access, so perhaps I need to bite the bullet and pay for the premium service.

      - Important documents are uploaded and in a shared Dropbox folder with my husband. I should give access to other family members as well, but come to think of it, they would have access with LastPass  and would just need to know what they need to access. maybe I need to set up an “In case of emergency” folder in LastPass with directives of what needs to be accessed!

      - bills are on autopay, so no need to worry about getting the mortgage and other bills paid if I’m gone.

      -  I’m trying to clean up some items in the house, sort of a “death cleaning” to both get rid of things that aren’t useful or bring me joy today and to avoid loved ones from having to go through my things. I still have wedding dress even though it has yellowed significantly, is damaged on top, and cannot even be reused. Pictures, old clothes, all need to go. 
       

      In summary, I need to focus on getting my husband on finding professional guidance on whether to use a will or trust (which I’m relying on my husband to pursue, ugh), finalize those arrangements, get my family members access/directions to important documents that would make the transition easier and quicker, and clean up the house. 
       

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    • MXMOM I appreciate every single post you've made in this thread. Thanks for reminding us all this is important work. I have some time in Dec to dedicate to this challenge! I'm making a note now so I don't forget....

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