I’ve been thinking a lot about our family recently, especially where Flora’s concerned. Alan and I have a list of things we want to put in place to ensure she’ll be looked after, should anything happen to us. Without wishing to sound morbid, as responsible parents, it’s something we believe we need to consider.
Planning for the future
There’s never a good time to do this, is there? Day-to-day life has a habit of getting in the way. The school run, shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening, holidays, oh yes, and work, they all seem to come first. But sometimes you do have to sit down and take stock. Here are some of our priorities.
As a deskbound worker (albeit a freelancer), I’m aware that my physical health isn’t improving. I wrote recently about my decision to try to live a healthier lifestyle. Well, I’ve made a start: I’m exercising daily and have cut down on my meat and dairy consumption. Alan already exercises every day and has cut back on his wheat consumption as well.
We both have wills but they’re very out of date, we made them before Flora was born. If either Alan or I died, the other would inherit as we’re married. But if we both died, Flora could be made a ward of court while our estate went through due process. That’s a very scary thought.
We want to formally nominate some guardians for her (until she legally becomes an adult). The couple we have in mind have kindly agreed, so now we need to make an appointment with our family solicitor and get things written up properly.
We’ve taken out various insurance policies over the years: life cover, pet insurance, travel insurance (I would NEVER travel anywhere without it), home contents cover, buildings cover. And yet there’s always the niggle at the back of my mind: what if either of us was to fall ill and be unable to work? Alan and I are both self-employed, there’s no big corporation behind us to step in and help if we couldn’t pay our bills.
A recent survey from Pure Cover * showed that 44% of us couldn’t cover our household bills if we became unwell and unable to work, while 66% of people in the UK don’t have any financial support in place to cover the cost of looking after a sick child (just imagine what this means for single parents!?)
Looking at those statistics, thinking about some form of insurance for Flora doesn’t seem so bizarre. We set up a Child Trust Fund (now an JISA) for her when she was born but she can’t take advantage of that until she’s 18. What if, God forbid, she became seriously ill and needed months of hospital treatment? We’re very lucky to have the NHS in this country, but what if she needed expensive medication and/or consultations? Or if we had to adapt our home for her due to a debilitating illness? Or, in the worst of all possible outcomes, we needed to take time off for bereavement leave? Hand on heart, I don’t think we could find the money all that quickly.
Taking care of our family now
As I said earlier, I don’t want be alarmist. But I think it’s important not to get too bogged down with day-to-day events and issues. Sometimes we really do need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture when planning for the future. None of us like to think about really terrible “what if” scenarios, but what if the worst were to happen? What would you do?
* This is a sponsored post.