Putting Financial Affairs in Order

Putting Financial Affairs in Order

Just breathe, passionate help for the PF journey
Part of facing that I have a terminal illness involves putting my financial affairs in order. I don’t want to leave my husband and adult children with the burden of having to sort out financial problems when I pass away.

They will have too much to deal with as it is

Part of my resolve comes from helping sort out my father-in-law’s financial affairs when he became incapacitated a year ago. He has since passed away. It has been a very difficult process. My husband and I drove down to visit him seven months ago while he was in the hospital. It became evident he could not handle his financial affairs.

We rented an SUV for the trip because we knew we’d be bringing home all his paperwork to sort out and go through. It has been a rough seven months. Things were in disarray, to say the least. Taxes had not been filed, important paperwork was missing, bills not paid, and we had great difficulty accessing his funds. This caused significant problems that took many months to unravel.

I learned a lot from being on the receiving end of his financial affairs not being in order, and don’t want my husband or adult children to go through it.

Here’s what we’ve done:

  • Updated our will and trust, and let our children know where the original and copies are;
  • Signed my power of attorney for financial and healthcare decisions;
  • Visited our bank and made sure my husband is on all our accounts;
  • Created a bank account that our children can access in an emergency;
  • Created a document with all our emergency information, location of safe deposit box and keys, passwords to our computers and contact information for our attorney;
  • Made sure my beneficiary forms are up-to-date for my life insurance and IRA.

It isn’t easy to face I have a terminal illness

It’s normal to want to put preparations for this reality on the back burner. I’m willing to face this truth, and put my financial affairs in order, so that my husband and children don’t have to wade through a financial mess after I pass away.

I feel relieved and happy to know that taking care of my financial business is a way of loving my family. I’d love to hear from you and find out what you’ve done to put your finances in order. Please share in the comments below. We’re in this together, and have so much to learn from one another.

Please share this post with anyone you feel could benefit, or on social media.

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Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

20 comments

  1. lawrence robinson says:

    great list of Financial things to do but in my case the Income Stream will change a lot. I put together a document that shows which properties to sell and at what price, what loans to pay off immediately, how to place proceeds into an annuity and what level of dispersal to set up. This activity gave me a new sense of security and peace.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      That’s great Lawrence. As much as we don’t like to think about these things, it is a necessary step of preparation for ourselves and our loved ones.

    • Lawrence…what a great idea! It does really help to get a handle on the things we can control, like our finances. I love the idea of creating a chart to get everything in one place. So glad you shared with us!

  2. Peggy Winkler says:

    I have completed all the suggested items and want to add another, non-financial item. If you have any property with family significane, take photos and record the background,original owner and the relationship. I updated old photo albums, making scrapbooks for my kids. I also indicated who I wanted to get certain items and why. It not only added to my peace of mind but was a very enjoyable project.

    • Hi Peggy, Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful ideas with us. I’m planning to do a column about taking steps to create meaningful memories for our loved ones. I’d love to share your ideas. Would that be ok? The more we can support one another the better!

      • Linda Walker says:

        hi Kim,
        Would love a copy of your column …how to create memories for our loved ones.
        I have always enjoyed cooking. So I am gathering my favorite recipes to put into a cookbook to leave my friends & loved ones a memory of me….

    • PEGGY J WINKLER says:

      Of course it is okay to share my suggestions. Hopefully, this will invite additional suggestions from patients and caregivers.

  3. Sandy says:

    I’ve taken all the steps described in the other comments. I’ve written my obituary and we’ve (my husband and I) paid for our funerals ahead of time so the kids won’t have to deal with it. One of them knows who exactly to call when the time comes.

  4. Karen Nichols says:

    You have several good ideas.
    Like you, I bought a gravesite and will soon prepay my funeral.
    I will pay soon pay off my mortgage.
    I have spoken to my children about my estate and end of life needs.
    I spoke with my priest about the funeral.
    I am preparing a booklet with a check list. It includes contacts, things to set the funeral in motion, a copy of the will, etc.
    I have address labels behind each painting so they can send it to the appropriate person and set up separate accounts my children can access.
    Glad you brought this up.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Hi Karen. Thank you for contributing to this difficult conversation. As much as you want to avoid all of these things, it really is something that must be met head on. Sounds like your family is well prepared.

      • Sheryl Jones says:

        My husband was diagnosed with IPF in January 2015, five months after his first symptoms. In March 2015 we had our Trust and Living Wills drawn up. This was a big relief because we were told by his Pulmonary doctor that he had 3-5 years with hopefully another 2-5 years due to a trial drug, Esbriet, that he started taking in April 2015. In September he was given his first baseline test and was scheduled for another test in January 2016 to see if the trial drug was working. Sadly, he got a mild viral infection in early October 2015 that turned to pneumonia, and he passed away October 30, 2015 after 6 days in Pulmonary ICU. So, we never found out if his trial drug was working … or not. This totally took me and our children by surprise … was not anticipated. Fortunately, we already had our burial plots and funeral plans (complete package) since it was purchased in 1969. Seemed morbid at the time, but glad we didn’t have to deal with that expense. My husband was a government worker and separated from the Air Force, so dealing with all the necessary post-death legalities was a literal nightmare. It took me 3 months, working most of the day every day, to get it all sorted out. So my advice is, don’t delay getting the necessary legal work done as soon as possible because you never know. My husband had just turned 70 when he passed away. We were supposed to grow old together and had just gotten started. I miss him every day.

        • Vivica E says:

          So sorry for your loss and so early. This is a horrible and scary disease, I hope they can find a cure soon. Prayers🙏🏽

        • Sheryl, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. So very sorry that you lost your husband so suddenly. What a shock…ugh. So appreciate you sharing your experiences. It helps all of us to take care of necessary details as a way of loving our families.

  5. Guy Anderson (IPF 2010) says:

    Great day to all. Here what I have done
    1. Master book with documents, DD 214, Marriage cert,if your divorce paper work, birth certs, titles for vehicles you have.also insurance policy’s, legal paper work remember each state is different, Any Va paper work for disability,any 401k or other forms of saving, Pre paid funnels for you and your spouse.

    2. I put together storage bins of what I am given my grad children with their name on it.

  6. Bob Wells says:

    Important topic. I believe that every couple should develop a budget for if or when their partner needs to go it alone financially.

    In addition it is important to have an investment portfolio management plan in place detailing how accounts should be managed and by whom. Important stuff.

  7. PEGGY J WINKLER says:

    Another important thing is that if you have a DNR and medical power of attorney, be sure that you provide copies to your physicians and medical centers you use. I also made sure my medical information can be released to my husband and children.

  8. Judy krasovec says:

    My husband was an auditor so he’s very good at handling financial things, I’ll just to have a list and directions as to where things are. I have my cemetery lot paid for and paper work in safe deposit box. Have put my pictures together for the video of my life for funeral. Directions of who to call and their phone numbers. Going through clutter and sorting what to give family. Just coping!

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