After a family member passes on, finances are probably the last thing you want to think about. Just know there are a number of decisions to be made by the survivors concerning the estate, and Midland Credit Union is here to help you through that process – whether or not the accounts are with us. However, preparing for the inevitable is always the best course of action.
Financial Planning for Survivors
After a loved one passes on, there are a number of issues to be resolved. If the deceased was a key provider, you may be worried about how the loss of income will affect you and your family. Some key things to consider before this event are:
- Life Insurance: Is there a policy? If so, where was it purchased and who are the beneficiaries?
- Savings Accounts: Account owners can name joint members on the account and/or name beneficiaries for the funds in case of death. Be certain you have accounts setup adequately.
- Investments: It can be very difficult to determine where investments have been made and who the beneficiaries are. Creating a list of investments and where they’re held (including mutual funds, Share Certificates, IRAs, etc.) is vitally important. It’s equally important to share that list with a trusted loved one – specifically if that person is named as the beneficiary.
- Property & Other Assets: If the deceased holds property or other assets and no beneficiaries are named, these assets may simply become part of the estate.
- Loans: If someone other than the deceased is named as a joint borrower on a loan, and a credit life policy was not purchased to cover payments in the event of death, the joint borrower will still be responsible for those payments.
Tensions can run high during a divorce. Being unaware of the various financial difficulties can compound your stress. Let Midland Credit Union point out some of the financial concerns you should be aware of.
Deciding to Divorce
In addition to the emotional stress involved, getting a divorce can be time consuming and expensive. If you have children, shared property such as a home, or other jointly held assets, a divorce can be extremely complicated legally and financially. Even without the financial headaches involved, a divorce can cause both you and your spouse a tremendous amount of grief, and the decision to divorce should not be taken lightly.
Financial Consequences of Divorce
The act of getting married linked you both in a financial sense, and those ties will need to be undone so you can move forward in your separate lives. In many cases, it’s possible to agree to a fair division of assets and simply leave it at that.
You and your spouse will need to update your wills, insurance papers and other legal documents. These things may seem minor, but you must realize that any documents that name your spouse as a beneficiary will become invalid upon divorce. If after attempting to reach a fair settlement you and your spouse are unable to agree on the division of assets, you’ll each need to hire an attorney to represent you in court.
Child Custody and Child Support
If your divorce involves custody rights to children, you’re almost certain to end up in court. In many cases, one parent will be required to make child support payments to the other. Remember that the courts are doing their best to ensure your children are properly cared for. Loss of custody and an order to pay child support can cause serious resentment, but you must be prepared for this eventuality before you file for divorce.
Like marriage itself, a smooth divorce is all about give-and-take. Be reasonable or you risk making the process even more difficult. At the end of the day, a level head and a diplomatic approach will save you time, money and, most of all, grief.
Unemployment or having to take limited-pay during disability can be one of life’s sad realities, but they’re not the end of the world. There are many resources available to help you out financially and get you into a new position as quickly as possible.
Take Action Immediately
Losing your job or being put on disability can be a serious financial blow. Know that Midland Credit Union understands, and is willing to work with you regarding loan payments and other financial obligations. The best plan of action you can take is to call or stop in to our office as soon as possible. It’s much easier to care for a financial crisis when there’s time to plan and strategize. Waiting until things are in a dire situation offers greatly fewer options.
Creating A New (Temporary) Budget
If you’re unemployed or disabled and living on a reduced income, it’s a good idea to make a temporary budget. Simply taking stock of what you have and how long you need it to last can prevent you from ending up in serious financial trouble. Again, Midland Credit Union is here to help you navigate this season of life.
Jobs and expenses can sometimes be unpredictable. While we always recommend having an emergency savings with at least three months of living expenses, for some families that’s just not feasible. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, or living check-to-check with no savings to fall back on, come and talk with us. Our lenders and financial counselors will take a look at the big financial picture to see how we can help – with absolutely no judgement.
Often times we can review your debt and lower a rate to save you money, consolidate debt for one lower monthly payment, or give you tips for improving your credit score so you can secure better rates. If you have some savings, but struggle with nickel-and-diming it frequently, we can even setup account parameters to help you be more disciplined.
While it’s often tempting to ignore financial problems and hope we never experience a serious financial difficulty, that’s simply not realistic. Talk with us so we can get you on the road to having true financial peace of mind.