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Six Important Questions Every Wife Should Ask About Estate Planning and Retirement
Posted by Clare
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It still surprises me how often good, Christian, married men die, unexpectedly, and their wives have to scramble desperately to figure out what financial shape they’re in. It’s not that their husbands were trying to hide anything. But, either they never really sat down to discuss these matters, or the husband simply didn’t plan well. It may also be that a will signed 15 years ago, never really got updated and now there’s problem, or a big tax bill.

So, here are some questions every wife should ask of their husbands (and husbands ought to ask themselves.)

  1. Do we have a will?
  • Where is it?
  • When was it last updated?
  • Have our financial or family circumstances substantially changed since we last updated it?
    (Note: Re-read your will together, or with your attorney, so everyone understands what it says.)
  • Who is the trustee or personal representative of our estate?
  1. If you (the husband) died tomorrow, what would happen to us financially?
  • How much life insurance do we have?
  • How much investable cash would we have, after life insurance proceeds and after taxes?
  • Is the total amount of all our investments, yielding 5%, enough to support our family without me working outside the home? If not, what do we have to do to work toward that goal?
  1. What is our financial plan for retirement?
  • How much do we have saved for retirement right now?
  • How much are we saving every year and is that enough to live on comfortably, at age 65?
  • If we’ve not saved enough, what’s our plan for doing so?
  • What debt do we have, other than our home mortgage?
  1. How will we pay for our children’s college?
  • How will helping our children with college, affect our saving for retirement?
  • Should we begin saving for college today?
  • If you died this year, could our children afford college?
  1. Who are the legal guardians for our children, and are we still happy with that decision?
  • Have we given any written instructions to our children’s guardians about finances or anything else we’d want them to know? (More about that in next week’s blog)
  • Is there a trust for our children and who is the administrator or trustee?
  1. Do each of us have a Living Will, or some other medical directive in case we’re in a coma or unable to make these decisions on our own?
  • (Your attorney should have some basic forms, applicable for your state.)

If you know you need help addressing these questions, here are some great resources:

  • Crown Financial Ministries (http://www.crown.org)
  • National Christian Foundation (https://www.nationalchristian.com)
  • Financial Peace University (http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu)

And, if you’re a husband reading this blog, and you’re nervous about your wife seeing it and asking these questions, God may be trying to tell you something.

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