Dating & Marriage With Women From Russia, Ukraine, Belarus & FSU > Married Chat

Illness & Estate Planning

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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.

     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

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.

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...

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.


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