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7 Ways To Show Your Family You Love Them

by Amanda on November 17, 2008
category: Finances,Husbands and Dads,Practical Tips

flower_arrangementbouquet.jpg We all show our family that we love them in different ways. Another way that you can show your love for them is to show them that you care about them even after you are gone. The hard reality is that we are all going to leave this earth and we don’t know when. I have a friend whose husband unexpectedly passed when they were 27 years old and she had 3 month old twins to take care of. It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in, you need to be prepared.

Each person makes their own decision how to prepare for the end from an emotional and spiritual aspect, but here are some practical steps to be prepared from a financial and administrative perspective.

1. Have a will.

Even if you don’t think you have a lot of assets, you need to have a will because you don’t want the State to dictate what happens to your property after you are gone. You have the opportunity now to take that responsibility. It will save your family a lot of time and grief knowing your wishes, because getting an estate in order after someone has passed can take a lot of time.  You may be surprised by how many possessions you own after completing a will.

It is good to discuss whom will care for your children if something should happen to both parents. It is certainly a hard decision and there are many factors to consider. I know one couple who does not tell anyone who the “godparents” are, because it isn’t a family member and they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. This is one decision I DO NOT want left up to the State’s probate laws.

Myth: I have to go through a lawyer to get a will.

Fact: Right now you can download a state specific will from USLegalForms.com for $20. Then all you have to do is fill it out and have it notarized.

2. Have Term Life Insurance.

If someone depends on your income then it is best to take out a policy for 8 – 10 times your income. Then once the life insurance money has been issued, your family can invest the money in a good growth stock mutual fund and if it earns at least a 10% return, you can live off of the interest. Then the lost income is replaced.  Since I am a Stay at Home Mom, this gives me an enormous amount of peace knowing that I will be okay for money if something should happen to my husband.

For Stay at Home Moms a policy should be for about $250,000 to $400,000, because a mom’s work is valued at about $40,000 a year. (Although, it feels like it should be more!) The idea is that if something happens to the mother, then the father can afford a Nanny or Child Care while he continues to working.

Don’t assume you have life insurance through your work. Find out the details of any life insurance plan you or your spouse has through work.

Term Life Insurance is not that expensive. You can go to ZanderIns.com for a quote. Depending on your age and how much coverage you want it can be $30 to $55 a month.

Myth: Whole Life Insurance is a great idea, because I can invest my money at the same time.
Fact:  The truth is that the return on investments in a whole life policy are horrible and it is better to put that money in a mutual fund. Also, there is not a guarantee that your beneficiaries will receive the savings upon your death. For more information about Whole Life Insurance go here.

3. Make plans for your estate.

Making a will and planning for your estate go hand in hand.  Estate planning will allow you to decide who will get your house, cars, or anything else you want. Also, if you give your house as an inheritance to your kids, then you can avoid a high rate of gift tax. On daveramsey.com “The federal government allows someone to die and leave in their estate $2 million without any estate taxes. An individual can only give another individual $12,000 before getting gift-taxed out the ear unless they claim it as part of their estate before they die.”  You can read more about this here under the question “Is Inheritance The Way To Go?”

The estate planning process is also where you will set up any trusts that you want to leave for your kids. You can even make stipulations on whatever specific areas you want. You can specify the age that they get it and how much or that it be used to pay for college.

Myth: Estate planning is only for rich people.
Fact:  The truth is that you may be surprised by how much you have. You need to make plans for the term life insurance money or if you own a home.

4. Make a Living Will.

A living will is a legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments. It can also be referred to as an advance directive, health care directive, or a physician’s directive. A living will should not be confused with a living trust, which is a mechanism for holding and distributing a person’s assets to avoid probate. It is important to have a living will as it informs your health care providers and your family about your desires for medical treatment in the event you are not able to speak for yourself. (From Alllaw.com.)

This may certainly help deter any family arguments if one family member wants to keep you on life support and another is ready to let you pass. If your wishes are known, then the family knows your wishes and they can respect them.

I would also add that it contain if you want an autopsy done or not to determine the cause of death. We had a death in the family last week and the family had to make this decision within hours of him passing. They didn’t know what to do and were not in a state to make that decision.

You can buy a Living Will at USLegalForms.com for $15 and get it notarized.

Myth: I don’t care what happens to me and the doctors will know what is best for me. 
Fact:  The truth is that you have say in the matter now and your family and even doctors may disagree on the kind of care that is best for you. You can save a lot of grief and arguments by making your wishes known.

5. Make Burial Plans.

You can make your burial plan wishes in your will. They can be as detailed or limited as you want. Making simple decisions about cremation or being buried can save your family a lot of trouble. You can let them know that a cheaper casket is okay and that they don’t have to get you the Lexus of caskets. Even if you want a full Catholic funeral with a Rosary or a simple memorial.

Myth: Pre-paid Funerals are a great idea.
Fact:  The truth is that you could spend that time investing in a mutual fund and get more for your money. You can make prearranged funeral plans so your family doesn’t have to make emotional decisions,  but you don’t have to buy your plans. If you invest your money instead, then you will have the money to pay for the burial. You can read more about it here.

6. Discuss your plans and wishes with another family member.

My husband and I often discuss our wishes to each other. It isn’t morbid, I just want to be prepared. With all the discussions and plans we have made, I know I would be okay if he passed. Of course, I would miss him and I would have to work hard at just breathing again, but I know deep down that I am going to make it. We have asked our parents what their wishes are, because we want to know. It is okay to bring the subject of burial up with your family.

Myth: If I discuss my wishes with someone else, then I may die really soon.
Fact:  The fact is that you are going to pass and no one knows when they are going to die. It is better to discuss it and save your family some grief and agony in their time of mourning.

7. Make a Love Drawer.

All of these plans and discussions will amount to nothing if no one knows where your will is. Wills are not publicly filed, so you need to know where it is in the house or safety deposit box. I know I have asked my parents for copies of their wills and they said “Sure, it is right here in the blue folder in the mounds of papers in the roll top desk.” and then they went to find it and couldn’t.  It is important to know where it is being kept. Give a copy to a friend or family member.

Put everything, wills, insurance policies, deposit box keys, burial plans all in one drawer. This is really showing how much you love your family.

Watch this video from Dave Ramsey on The Early Morning Show about how you can say “I love you!” with a Love Drawer.

Have you made any of these plans? Do you have a love drawer?

18 Responses to 7 Ways To Show Your Family You Love Them

  • Comment by Sharon M
    November 17, 2008 @ 9:30 am

    We had our will made out prior to moving overseas; in an potentially unstable region of the world, it’s important get things squared away — even more so if you have kids. One of the members of our church did it for free as a donation to our ministry. We were so thankful for his help!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    November 17, 2008 @ 10:53 am

    LOL, you know my situation. We had all of our affair’s put in order before the hubby went to Iraq. But, having gone through a bad family situation after my father passed I think once you hit 18 you should always be prepaid for this. From age 18 to 90 you need all these things taken care of! GREAT POST!!!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    November 17, 2008 @ 4:34 pm

    You forgot one very important thing….a Power of Attorney. If your spouse dies despite having a will, the widow/widower is powerless without a Power of Attorney drawn up. Our friend’s mother is going through this from her husband’s very sudden death in Sept.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    November 17, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

    @Heidi- A Power of Attorney are null and void after the persons death. We had to get them while my husband is gone in Iraq, and that was one thing that was said to me by all of the lawyers. If he does the POA has no power what so ever.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jenni
    November 17, 2008 @ 9:09 pm

    Thank you for this great blog post. Young families definitely need to know this stuff. I am a part-time paralegal in and estate planning office, and we happen to specialize in young families, so many of our clients have young kids. But I have plenty of friends who put it off and put it off, thinking that they can’t afford the expense. They don’t realize that it’s not an expense, it’s an investment. And it really is crucial if the unexpected happens. Thanks for bringing it home in such a friendly way.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    November 17, 2008 @ 9:14 pm

    @misspell- If he dies the POA has no power.

  • Gravatar November 18, 2008 @ 12:06 am

    [...] blog post from The Mom Crowd entitled 7 Ways To Show Your Family You Love Them expresses the sentiment pretty perfectly in the opening paragraph, “We all show our family that [...]

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    November 18, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

    @Jenni & Trina- so what does one do when you can’t access the funds after a death? My friend’s father passed away and her mom can’t access anything even with a will.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Jon @ DadTrek
    November 18, 2008 @ 12:26 pm

    This is terrific advice. I have to admit that while we’ve made our wishes known to our extended family (such as who should raise our daughter should we both pass), we haven’t formalized it with a will yet. That little voice in the back of my head keeps reminding me I need to do it, and yet it still isn’t done. So thanks for the additional reminder that I need to take care of this!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    November 18, 2008 @ 10:07 pm

    @Heidi-If she is the Beneficiary if should all go her, she will also need to provide his death certificate or something to prove he has passed and that should let her get access. I also would have her get a lawyer to help her with it all if they did not have one in place to help during this time. I hope this helps.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Pete
    November 20, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

    Woah, upon seeing the title of your site, I definately expecting to read at least 5 Gary Chapman inspired ideas and then the timeless gestures of bringing home a 1/2 gallon of Blue Bell’s “Cookies & Cream” icecream…mixed with the all-important family game of competitive wheel-o-fortune! You didn’t cover any of that. None-the-less, it’s never too early to set your family up for whatever may come. Especially if there are little ones in the home!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    November 21, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

    @Trina – thanks for your suggestions. His wife was the beneficiary, but she is still encountering problems even with a lawyer. Can you believe that?! It’s very unfortunate for her to be dealing with the headache of it on top of losing her husband.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Barb
    November 24, 2008 @ 11:41 am

    @Heidi – my guess is your friend must not live in a community property state (which Texas is) where she automatically gets her half of the marital property at her husband’s death. I agree with Trina’s advice that she get a lawyer, but it sounds like she already has one from what you’re saying. That’s a bummer that she’s still not getting anywhere. I wonder if the executor of the husband’s will is trying to pay off final debts of the husband’s estate before he distributes the remaining money to the beneficiaries? In some ways, an executor’s hands are really tied by the laws of the probate system so maybe that’s where the hang up lies.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Barb
    November 24, 2008 @ 11:57 am

    Oh yeah, and I also agree with Heidi on getting Powers of Attorney – both the conventional kind and the medical kind. A HIPPA release for your family to access your medical records is also a good idea. And make any organ donation desires known to relevant family members and medical personnel – through a conversation and memorialized in writing.

  • Comment by McKenna
    November 24, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

    Something else to consider if you have a child with special needs, you should create a “special needs trust” for them. It is a special trust that will protect the benefits they are entitled for as adults with special needs and this can dramatically affect their housing options, medical insurance, and disability benefits. I also just learned from a lawyer friend that our bank accounts and life insurance policies should be set to go to “our estate.” Our primary beneficiaries are each other, and our secondary beneficiaries are our children. Apparently, that would interfere with the special needs trust we have set up for our daughter, so we switched the secondary beneficiaries as “our estate” and from there, our trust will distribute it as we’ve directed.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by yahoo
    December 17, 2008 @ 1:10 am

    yahoo yahoo

  • Gravatar March 3, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

    [...] blog post from The Mom Crowd entitled 7 Ways To Show Your Family You Love Them expresses the sentiment pretty perfectly in the opening paragraph, “We all show our family that [...]

  • Gravatar
    Comment by John
    April 23, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

    >>>Myth: Whole Life Insurance is a great idea, because I can invest my money at the same time.
    Fact: The truth is that the return on investments in a whole life policy are horrible and it is better to put that money in a mutual fund. Also, there is not a guarantee that your beneficiaries will receive the savings upon your death. For more information about Whole Life Insurance go here.<<<

    Please, I have to respectfully disagree. Dave does offer some good advice for getting out of debt, though, his mantra “debt is dumb” is, well…dumb I think. Anyway, try telling that to any real estate investor, or anyone who has made millions in the bond market.

    The one MAJOR thing I disagree with Ramsey about is his whole convoluted take on life insurance. He almost says “term insurance” as though it were obvious. The problem is that math doesn’t support his conclusions.

    First off, I did a quick check on vanguard of various growth stock mutual funds and none of them had a long-term track record of producing anything near 10% net of all fees. That’s key. Net of all fees, and Vanguard is cheap on their fees. I also checked with a friend who works with DFA and basically, my friend laughed.

    So, I’m not sure if Dave is just looking at the 5 year and figures that you’ll just shuffle around to the best funds every five years (if we could only foretell the future).

    So, for example, if you had $100 to spend and bought $250,000 of term insurance for, say even $15 per month, and then invested the rest instead of just buying a good dividend paying whole life policy, your results would look something like this:

    Even if you could get 10% net of fees, your $85 per month would yield $113,720 or so after 25 years. Now, here’s where I don’t think Ramsey is being honest with his numbers.

    When he tells you whole life has terrible returns, and then he turns to BTID, he conveniently forgets to add in the cost of the term insurance when figuring out the return on investment. So right there, you’re not comparing apples to apples. By the way, your net effective yield is only 5.47% after those 25 years on Ramsey’s investment suggestion and that’s before taxes.

    If you have a decent par whole life, do you think your IRR can be between 5% and 6% after 25 years on that whole life? As long as you are buying from an old mutual company, then yes it can.

    I think Ramsey gets lost in the numbers either not knowing or not telling his followers that time works against your rate of return on an investment if you have to do this on a monthly basis for 20, 30, or 40 years, but in an insurance policy, your contract is front loaded and then in the later years your cash value swells so you actually end up with a nice IRR and a good return. This is provided you are getting a contract that’s designed for cash value growth.

    If you need insurance, you can still blend it with convertible term, but, I guess it depends on what you need the insurance for.

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