Death happens to us all, but now someone’s actually going to care when it happens to you. Okay, maybe more than one person. But at least one of them will be the kid that lady you (hopefully) like is gestating. To make sure that she, and the bun in her oven, both get something out of your handsome corpse, you’ll be needing a will.
Before you get all freaked out about your mortality and decide preparing for it isn’t worth the hassle, know that it sounds more complicated that it is. In fact, there are just 2 basic steps to building your kid’s financial backup plan:
- Buy term life insurance
- Write a will that names an executor, explains who gets what, and assigns custody to someone for the kid
Complete these steps and you’re free to play in traffic. Or get that motorcycle license you’ve been dreaming of. Same diff.
Put A Dollar Amount On Yourself
First, let’s talk term life insurance. Basically, it’s permanent life insurance’s cheaper cousin. (See? Saved you money!) Why is it cheaper? Because it covers you for a set number of years and does not gain monetary value over time. Should you die within the term, it will simply pay out as determined when you purchased the plan. Follow these steps to find out how much you need, and how much you’ll pay:
- Multiply the number of people in your household by five
- Multiply the number from step one by your annual salary
- Now subtract your net worth (CNN Money has a handy calculator). The total is the amount of coverage your need.
- Determine the term (or the amount of years you’d like to be covered)
- Get quotes from agents or shop online
And make sure you check the insurance providers financial strength ratings from S&P, Moody’s, Fitch or A.M. Best. You can find all the links here. Bam, good to go for the next 20 years or so. (If you still have questions, this guide is exhaustive and exhausting.) How great is that? It’s nearly time to strap on that wingsuit and head to the Alps!
If You Will It …
As mentioned, wills are simple: name the person in charge (the executor), determine which of your things (including the money) goes to which of the people, and dictate who gets custody of your kids (their mother is a good option). However, you might want to consider a trust instead.
Trusts are a little more complex, as they give you more options. You name a trustee instead of an executor, who has power to do stuff before you actually die (and you can be your own trustee). Trusts only cover assets you place within them, so they require some financial management while you’re alive. They also allow you to control the timing of your asset dispersal more thoroughly, so your kid can’t blow all your money on Pokemon before they get to college. Wills, not so much.
Then again, trusts don’t allow you to name guardians for your kid, so you need a will either way.
It does sound like an intimidating process. But it’s really not. Luckily, as with all things, the internet has made the whole thing easier than ever before. You can go to places online like Everplans, and Principled Heart. Get started. It’s all just a click away.
Now go tell your wife and kid how much you love them, and finally start pursuing your dream of holding the world record in dynamite juggling.
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