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Author Topic: Illness & Estate Planning  (Read 11784 times)

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Offline Bora

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Illness & Estate Planning
« on: June 11, 2007, 01:00:06 PM »
Guys, did you think of what to do if you happen to get ill in the first months of your wife's arrival? When she still doesn't know things around, doesn' know how to deal with your medical system, doesn't speak the language well and not able to deal with doctors, is not able to drive yet, etc? Is there anybody around you to whom she can turn for help? Have you prepared her for such cases, or did you ask somebody from your family, friends, co-workers, etc. to be at your wife's help if you got ill? Otherwise it could turn out quite a scary experience for her (besides the inevitable stress that the illness of a beloved means). Don't forget, in the first months, many immigrants are more or less like children, helpless, even scared from the too many changes in their lives, overwhelmed and frustrated to find out that what was simple for them before, it's almost impossible now. It's good to prepare them for emergencies, it gives a sense of safety to them.

Offline kleeb

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2007, 09:35:12 PM »
     When my wife first arrived I wrote a list of important information and posted it next to the phone. The first thing was 911. I wrote it at the top of the list and explained to her what 911 is all about. I wrote our address and phone number. My employers name, address, and phone number. My cell phone number. I told her not to worry about emergency care, that most hospitals cannot refuse you. Also it is good to explain to her that she can trust the police. I told her that illegal aliens get the same treatment as American citizens. Please no political debate about this. I only told her this to let her know that she has nothing to worry about with healthcare. The main point here is to write it down and post it near the phone. Tell her this is how things are here and tell her with confidence. If you have insurance then make sure she has all the information where she can easily access it. Information is the key.  Lee

Offline Walker

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2008, 05:14:29 PM »
Rocketman’s recent topic “Life is Fragile” combined with the death of Doug Salem prompts me to start this topic.  Please accept the fact that I am a newcomer here and only in the initial stages of bringing my lady to America.  However, the two deaths should be a reality check for all of us guys, especially where there is an age gap.  Those deaths have caused me to add to my “to do” list in preparation for my lady’s arrival.

Gentlemen, we should all insure today that we have an adequate estate plan in place in the event of our untimely demise.  And we owe it to our ladies to make sure they understand what documents exist and what happens in the event we die.  This is especially critical since so many of our estate planning documents are totally without parallel in the FSU countries.   

I cannot speak for countries other than the US, and I would caution that the laws in each state are different.  Nonetheless, each of us needs a comprehensive estate plan.  This begins with a will.  In the event of a more sizable estate the will is frequently accompanied by a trust agreement.  And, of course, there are durable powers of attorney and living wills to consider.  You will need to work with a competent, preferably board certified, estate planning attorney.

Those among us who have children from prior marriages must be cognizant as to how we wish to divide our largesse.  Those who are business owners must also pay attention to succession plans for the business.  Life insurance is another consideration.  Do you have adequate insurance?  Who are the beneficiaries?

After formulating a comprehensive plan and executing the appropriate documents, the next logical step involves explaining how everything is set up to your lady.  She may or may not be qualified (either legally or in actuality) to act as your personal representative or executor.  If not, a close relative, friend or advisor must be included in the process.  Certainly, at a minimum, a thorough explanation of the documents together with copies of the documents and instructions as to who to call and what to do should be provided to your lady.

Your explanation must also include instructions relative to any liabilities which may exist, e.g. mortgages, etc., and should also include your thoughts on the disposition of assets and personal property, as well as services and burial.

Please remember that these ladies who we so blithely import are human beings who deserve our utmost respect for the sacrifices they make for us and the new world into which they have come for us.  We owe them nothing less than a full disclosure and a level of security so as to allow them to continue their lives in a reasonable manner should we die.


Offline Anastassia

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2008, 06:07:11 PM »
I absolutely can sign under your whole post.  :)

The worst thing that could happen, actually happened to my then husband Lance, in 2003, and i was left alone with a 2 year old baby. That's a quite a plunge for you into a reality. He didn't have a will, lawyers were dividing things between me and my son for a year and a half. With my professional knowledge of English, I yet knew and understood absolutely nothing at first, it took me several months to explore and get it at last. Funerals, life after that, finances, paying bills and everything else hit so hard you cannot even imagine...

For Russians and for some American Christians it will seem impossible 'to think ahead about your death and who will get what'. But believe me, you do not want to be where I was, you do not want your beloved to be where I was.

So, everybody, please, read the previous post, print it out and stick it over your computer. Let it be your short term plan or to do list. You absolutely MUST do that - for your Russian wife, for your kids, for relatives...
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Offline lindochka

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 07:06:06 PM »
Let me also sign on to this one. Based on my experience of what it was like to settle my father's estate (he died intestate), I made sure to cover all these bases for my own estate. I have also explained things briefly and simply to my future husband and will be arranging to have all the associated documents translated into Russian. (And I think it doesn't hurt that I chose an executor who is bilingual/bicultural.)

Please protect your families! It's hard enough to deal with the devastation of such a loss without the additional stress of personal affairs left in disarray.
Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline jb

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2008, 10:26:51 AM »
This a hugely important topic and I wish more men paid some thought to it.

Perhaps some of the older married men could share exactly what steps they have taken to protect their families.

In my case:  I was in my 40's when I started this, married her in my 50's and I now find myself crossing the 60's hump.   For me, this was an easy task because I already carried decent life insurance, (5 X my annual salary), the house, cars, trucks, and all of the toys are all paid for.  There is no short/long term debt, or any other financial obligations to drain resources if anything happened to me, plus there is ample liquid assets in the bank (CDs and savings) to carry her for over a year well within her present lifestyle.   I have also made sure my wife is set firmly on her own career path with an ample annual salary she can live on if need be, and seen to it that she has a well funded IRA of her own.  About the only thing I haven't done is run out and purchase my own tombstone.

While I don't think the death of a spouse should be like hitting the Lotto, I would hate to think my wife would be strapped for cash in such a situation.  She shouldn't have to worry about paying next months electric bill if I'm not around.

I was anti-obama before it was cool

Offline Corp

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2008, 08:30:42 PM »
This is a great and timely topic for me.
I have been married now couple of months and know if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow my Wife would not know the first thing to do.

I have never had a will and I am not sure where to even start with one.
"Ah Courtship, It Really is Theater..."

Offline jb

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2008, 09:39:37 AM »
corp,

The importance of a Last Will And Testament is dependent on several things. 

1.)  Where do you reside? 
        a.) Is it a Community Property State?
        b.) What property/properties do you hold in common with your spouse?
        c.)  Do you hold joint bank savings and checking accounts?
        d.)  How much debt do you carry?

2.)  Do you have children from a prior marriage you wish to provide for?

3.)  What kind of long term investments do you hold?  Will they outlive you?

4.)  Life insurance policies?  Who are the listed beneficiaries?

5.) Is your estate protected against other liabilities?  Debts not insured, etc., that sort of thing.

A simple disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer, and nothing I've mentioned here should be construed as legal advice.   These are just a few things you should discuss with your attorney and/or Estate Planner.   However, if you are not thinking ahead, surely things can go very wrong in the event you DO get run down by the beer truck.  I think it pays to plan for the unexpected.

I was anti-obama before it was cool

Offline House

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2009, 08:40:29 PM »
This may be a newbie question, but, having read some of the "superstitious" reactions that some RW have had regarding talks about mortality and the like... how does one go about broaching the subject to your loved one without sending her running for the salt shaker?

Offline ecocks

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2009, 09:32:30 PM »
One opinion:

You have to take responsibility for your family's safety. As she becomes acclimated to our culture, traditions and laws she should be becoming aware of the vast differences in the social programs she now lives under. In the short-term you may have to preemptively make whatever contingencies you can (will, insurance, survivor's benefits, joint ownership of properties and accounts as possible) and protect them as best you can. Long-term, getting her (and any other family members) covered under Medicare/Medicaid programs, accumulating Social Security quarters for full coverage, establishing 401-K's, IRA's, all of these need to be an ongoing topic and as her understanding of the differences between our economies becomes more apparent, she should come around.

As a second step (after you have done you basic contingencies) you're probably going to lay the foundation for all this by showing her how Americans do their taxes. That should keep you busy for awhile.

Somewhere in there, you need to explain how our bank deposits are protected from failures of the bank itself (see why you needed to explain taxes first?).

Stay patient, our system is pretty different from anything they have and trusting the government as much as we do will present some interesting obstacles. Laugh a lot, maybe even buy her a Retirement Planning for Dummies book and soon she'll be taking over the building of the retirement nest egg.

Good Luck.

Offline House

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2009, 12:12:39 PM »
Ecocks, I am not particularly concerned with teaching the intricacies of the American financial system to a foreigner, that I can do easily, as I have a little background in the subject matter.

My concern is the cultural one: How does one engage a partner in a conversation about mortality (death) knowing that it is a very superstitious/taboo subject in the FSU?

Offline ecocks

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2009, 12:47:24 PM »
Okay, good luck.

Offline 2tallbill

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2009, 01:08:34 PM »
Ecocks, I am not particularly concerned with teaching the intricacies of the American financial system to a foreigner, that I can do easily, as I have a little background in the subject matter.

My concern is the cultural one: How does one engage a partner in a conversation about mortality (death) knowing that it is a very superstitious/taboo subject in the FSU?

If I ran into difficulties about the subject, I would engage the services of Anastassia Ash,
I am pretty sure that AA's horror tale will get most FSUW on board with the whole
knowledge is power thing.

Just my two kopecks,

Bill

Offline Mark68

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2011, 09:07:23 PM »
I put phone numbers in her cell phone of close friends and relatives, I have life insurance.

Offline PBRstreetg

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Re: Illness & Estate Planning
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2012, 07:30:04 AM »

Gentlemen, we should all insure today that we have an adequate estate plan in place in the event of our untimely demise.  And we owe it to our ladies to make sure they understand what documents exist and what happens in the event we die.  This is especially critical since so many of our estate planning documents are totally without parallel in the FSU countries.   

I cannot speak for countries other than the US, and I would caution that the laws in each state are different.  Nonetheless, each of us needs a comprehensive estate plan.  This begins with a will.  In the event of a more sizable estate the will is frequently accompanied by a trust agreement.  And, of course, there are durable powers of attorney and living wills to consider.  You will need to work with a competent, preferably board certified, estate planning attorney.

Those among us who have children from prior marriages must be cognizant as to how we wish to divide our largesse.  Those who are business owners must also pay attention to succession plans for the business.  Life insurance is another consideration.  Do you have adequate insurance?  Who are the beneficiaries?

After formulating a comprehensive plan and executing the appropriate documents, the next logical step involves explaining how everything is set up to your lady.  She may or may not be qualified (either legally or in actuality) to act as your personal representative or executor.  If not, a close relative, friend or ad visor must be included in the process.  Certainly, at a minimum, a thorough explanation of the documents together with copies of the documents and instructions as to who to call and what to do should be provided to your lady.

Your explanation must also include instructions relative to any liabilities which may exist, e.g. mortgages, etc., and should also include your thoughts on the disposition of assets and personal property, as well as services and burial.

Please remember that these ladies who we so blithely import are human beings who deserve our utmost respect for the sacrifices they make for us and the new world into which they have come for us.  We owe them nothing less than a full disclosure and a level of security so as to allow them to continue their lives in a reasonable manner should we die.

You lost me and then you reminded me of this:
the so called "death tax"
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