No one likes to talk about the what ifs, but after reading what happened to one woman I knew I had to share tips about the conversations married couples should have, especially before it’s too late. We dream about spending a lifetime together, saving money for the kids, vacationing in exotic places, and even paying off the mortgage. However, sometimes life surprises us when we’re not prepared, which is why today I am listing important conversations married couples should have and should have sooner rather than later.
1. Life Insurance
Many families believe they can’t afford life insurance, but in some cases they won’t be able to afford not having it, which is why it’s one of the top conversations married couples should have. What would happen if your partner were to get sick? Could you survive, could you pay for a funeral? No matter what plan you get, every couple should consider getting life insurance, so bring up this discussion over dinner tonight if you don’t have it.
2. A Living Will
You may be in your 30s and 40s and think, “Why do I need a living will? I’m young.” However, if something were to happen to you, wouldn’t you want your loved ones to know what to do? If you were on life support with no chances of coming back, you need to have a medical Power of Attorney, someone who would say it’s time. You should also write down who would take care of your kids if something were to happen to both you and your partner. This is a big, heavy conversation to have, but it needs to be done.
3. Power of Attorney
Speaking of POA, who will you give the power to if something were to happen to you, your spouse, or to both of you? Who do you trust to put in charge of making these tough decisions? The Power of Attorney will be able to divide your money to whom you have said it goes to, take you off of life support in the hospital if that is your wish, and will make sure your children are taken care of. You can actually assign different people to different tasks, Executive, Medical, Guardianship, Financial, etc., if you don’t want to put this heavy burden on one person.
4. Important Passwords
If something were to happen to you, would your spouse know how to unlock your phone, get into your email, or even log onto your laptop? You may not think this is important to know, but who would call your bank to cancel credit cards if they don’t know your pin numbers or passwords? How would they contact your friends to tell them the bad news? Write down all of the important passwords for your spouse and another close family member that they may need to have if something were to happen.
5. Personal Items
Do you have any family heirlooms, a wedding gown that has been sitting in your closet, and personal belongings that you don’t want your family fighting over when you’re gone? You should discuss with your spouse whom you would like to receive these items and write them down in your living will. You shouldn’t decide on your own whom you would give these items to; like the other items on my list, it’s tough to choose, but when you talk about it together it can seem a little easier.
6. What to do if You're Sick or Dying
There is a lot more to discuss with your spouse about what to do if you get seriously ill or die than just appointing a Medical Power of Attorney. You need to get specific in your living will about when to pull the plug, when not to resuscitate, and how you want to be buried when you do pass away. It’s ugly, it’s sad and can get very emotional, but it’s the truth and you need to plan for it.
7. How do You Want Your Children to Be Raised
After you have chosen a guardian for your children, you need to make a plan for this person on how you want your children to be raised. Even if they are a good parent themselves, you may want your children to go to public school while they may send their own kids to private. There are many things to discuss about how you want your children to be taken care of after you’re gone, and there is more to it than just choosing someone you think is suited for the job.
Life is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it can be scary. However, these conversations married couples should have can make it easier to deal with. For more helpful tips on how to get started, check out getyourshittogether.org. Have you made these plans with your partner?