Recently, I got a call at work from my husband. It went something like this:
Husband: "Hi. I'm in urgent care. My headache hasn't gone away, I'm waiting for a CAT scan. I've been here since 2 pm. Can you pick up the kids? You might want to call the sitter. I've gotta go."
Me: "Um, sure. It's a quarter to five. It's going to take me an hour. Have you called the sitter?"
Husband: "I haven't had a chance. Can you? I've gotta go."
Whaa? The phone call caught me completely by surprise since (a) I usually don't get very many calls from my husband at work (b) we have not yet encountered a bind where I absolutely needed to pick up the kids (c) I only got enough information for all sorts of crazy scenarios to go through my head.
In the end everything turned out fine. The diagnosis wasn't conclusive but something to the effect that he probably caught a virus and the side effect was a head-splitting migraine that left him unable to function normally for at least a couple of days. However, for me, this was a good time to reassess our ability to deal with the impact of these worst-case scenarios. When you're young, healthy, and financially stable you barely give thought to thing ever going wrong in life. You start thinking about it more when you have kids. And, then you really think about it when a situation scares you into more thoughtful consideration.
In my head, I made a mental note to check my husband's life insurance policy. I have one for myself for enough to probably cover our mortgage, but that's it. So, I googled to figure out how much insurance we would need. The results are dizzying. According to a simple lookup table of just income replacement, my current insurance coverage probably would not be sufficient if something were to happen to me. My husband's coverage would also need significant readjustment. As a family, we do need to make the time to talk seriously about planning for life insurance.
As I was chatting about this with a mama friend, she suggested also putting together a will. So I mentioned this to my husband. He thought this was a good idea. "Sure. Can you search for a form on the Internet?" he replied. Yes, that's right. That's what my lawyer advised! There are plenty of documents that you can find or buy on the Internet to plan out your will and file with the local courts. So, for those who have gone through both processes, it would so nice to hear from you, to see what's worked best for your families.