death http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/5204/all en-US Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind? http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-523154492_1.jpg" alt="Woman learning who pays when a loved one leaves behind debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Losing a loved one &mdash; a parent, spouse, or sibling &mdash; is difficult enough. But what if your loved one left mortgage, auto loan, or credit card debt behind? Will you now be responsible for paying those bills?</p> <p>In most cases, no. Creditors can't force you to cover the unpaid debts of loved ones who have died. But the money that your loved ones owed might cut into or even eliminate any inheritance that was meant for you or other survivors.</p> <h2>What usually happens</h2> <p>When people die, the money they owe creditors &mdash; everyone from their mortgage lender, to their auto loan providers, to their credit card companies &mdash; is collected from their estate. The estate in this case is defined as the money and assets owned solely by the deceased.</p> <p>This might mean that the house your parents owned has to be sold to pay off any mortgage debt they owed. Their car might have to be sold to pay off credit card or other debts.</p> <p>Whatever is left after these debts are paid off remains in the estate of the deceased. If your parents wanted to leave money behind for their children and grandchildren, the amount they wanted to bestow will be reduced by however much they owed creditors at the time of their death.</p> <h2>It can get more complicated</h2> <p>Of course, that's the most basic course of action. In reality, money matters can get more complicated after the death of a loved one.</p> <p>This is especially true when you lose a spouse. In most states, you won't be responsible for any debt that your spouse left behind when he or she died, as long as the debt was accrued in your spouse's name alone. If both you and your spouse share a credit card or a mortgage, then you will be responsible for making payments on that debt after your spouse dies.</p> <p>If you live in what is known as a community property state, you will be responsible for even more debt. In such states, the debts of deceased people are passed onto surviving spouses, even if the debt is not in the survivor's name. If your spouse took out a loan to buy a motorcycle and didn't finish paying it off before dying, you'd be responsible for paying off that loan.</p> <p>There are only 10 states that have community property laws: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you live in any other state, you are not responsible for debt run up in your spouse's name alone.</p> <p>Co-signing presents another complication. If you co-signed on a loan with anyone, you will have to pay off the debt left behind when they die. Say your sibling dies, but before that tragedy, you co-signed their auto loan. You will now be responsible for paying off that loan.</p> <h2>Mortgage debt</h2> <p>Different types of debt come with different issues. Mortgage debt left behind can be one of the most complicated.</p> <p>Surviving children or siblings aren't personally responsible for the mortgage debt left behind by their loved ones. But it still needs to be paid off. Otherwise, the bank will sell the home to pay off the unpaid mortgage debt.</p> <p>This can be problematic if parents wanted to leave their home to their kids. If your parents leave their home to you, and they still owed money on their mortgage at the time of their death, you can take possession of the home. But you must make the monthly mortgage payments. If you don't want or can't afford to do this, you'll have to sell the home.</p> <p>If your spouse dies and you still owe on your mortgage loan, you'll have to continue making monthly payments if the loan was in both your name and your spouse's. If it wasn't, you'll have to take over the payments if you want to keep the house.</p> <h2>Credit card debt</h2> <p>Credit card debt is never passed on to surviving family members whose names are not on the credit card account. When your loved ones die, this debt will be paid off from their estate. If there is not enough money in the estate, the credit card company is out of luck.</p> <p>Some debt collectors might try to convince you that you are responsible for the credit card debt of a deceased loved one. Don't fall for this. If your name is not on the account, you are under no legal responsibility to pay off this debt.</p> <p>That goes for authorized users, too. Authorized users are never liable for the debt charged to a card, even if they made those charges before the person's death. Do not continue making charges on the account, though, or you could be held liable.</p> <p>Finally, if you shared a joint credit card account, the debt on that card becomes your responsibility. You must continue making payments on it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwho-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind&amp;media=Who%20Pays%20When%20Loved%20Ones%20Leave%20Debt%20Behind&amp;description=Who%20Pays%20When%20Loved%20Ones%20Leave%20Debt%20Behind%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Who%20Pays%20When%20Loved%20Ones%20Leave%20Debt%20Behind.jpg" alt="Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management auto loans cosign death inheritance leaving debt behind loves ones mortgages settling estates Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1947500 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Real Life Calamities That Can Drain Your Finances (Plus How to Defend Against Them) http://www.wisebread.com/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-515237628.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all work hard for our money, but if we're not careful, it can be ripped right out from under us. From getting scammed on the internet, to medical emergencies, here are eight situations that can make you broke in an instant &mdash; plus a few ways to protect yourself.</p> <h2>1. Getting scammed</h2> <p>Maybe you're smarter than the average scammer, but loads of people are too trusting and naive. In fact, someone claiming to be from eBay scammed my own mom out of a few hundred dollars via email once. She thought the email was legit because at the time she was selling items on the auction site, and she assumed the request for her banking information was not only sanctioned, but part of the company's protocol.</p> <p>&quot;Scammers target seniors because they're considered wealthy, trusting, and typically unwilling to report scams,&quot; says Roger Cowen, owner of Cowen Tax Advisory Group in Hartford, Connecticut. &quot;Common scams include callers pretending to represent Medicare or the IRS to get your personal information, and fake charity workers asking for donations.&quot;</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>The best way to stave off online and phone scammers is to verify that you're dealing with a reputable organization before providing any financial information. Many institutions never send emails requesting such information, and it's a policy you should adopt for yourself &mdash; never provide bank account, Social Security, or credit card numbers over email.</p> <p>If you've received a phone call asking you to verify any financial information, double check the source before handing it over to the person on the line. Jot down their name and tell them you'll call the company back at the verified number you have in your records. Beware of fake websites as well (these links are usually embedded in scam emails) by checking the domain name to make sure it's correctly spelled. Look for <strong>https:// </strong>to precede any domain that has your financial information. The &quot;s&quot; means the site is security-fortified and usually legitimate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam" target="_blank">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tax penalties</h2> <p>Getting a bill for back taxes can be devastating. You'll not only owe whatever taxes you avoided in the past &mdash; which may be substantial if you've filed inaccurate returns for years &mdash; you may owe interest and penalties as well.</p> <p>This can happen not only to filers who outright lie in an effort to buck the system, but also to well-intentioned filers who make errors on their returns.</p> <p>In either case, you'll be required to pay up in a short period of time &mdash; or go to jail. Being broke or behind bars could be your only options.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>If your taxes are complicated, hire a reputable accountant, report your income and deductions accurately, accept your tax liability, and pay it. If it's a large sum, you may qualify for a payment plan. Moving forward, ask your accountant for estimated tax vouchers so you can pay ahead of time to lessen the burden when you receive the actual numbers in April. Otherwise, if you know you're looking at a sizable tax bill, save as much as you can so you can settle up with the IRS as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a>)</p> <h2>3. Divorce</h2> <p>Sometimes divorce is amicable, but for many people it isn't &mdash; and that usually means somebody has to pay up. This is primarily the case when one spouse earns more than the other, or if one partner is unemployed.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>If you're getting married and one of you has a noticeably higher net worth, get a prenup. Do not walk down that aisle without it. It's not the most romantic piece of paper you'll ever sign, but you'd be a fool not to. Don't let your future spouse guilt you out of the idea, either. Love is grand, but sometimes it'll take you for everything you're worth. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a>)</p> <h2>4. Death</h2> <p>No, not your death. If you're not adequately prepared for the death of a partner, child, or parent, you could end up in a sticky financial situation. There may be medical expenses leading up to the death, and afterward you'll need to cover funeral expenses and settle debts on behalf of the estate.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Life insurance is the best way to protect yourself in the event that your spouse, parent, or child dies. If you're the beneficiary, you'll receive your policy payout, which creditors typically cannot come after, to cover expenses and any debts for which you may also be on the hook, like a mortgage. Use this money to satisfy loans that the deceased may have had, especially if you've co-signed for them. If it's your spouse that has passed away, you may be losing half your household income &mdash; maybe even more than that &mdash; so it's important to use the policy money wisely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Is for Everyone</a>)</p> <h2>5. Market crash</h2> <p>Many people have improved their lot in life by taking financial risks. But if you're an investor at any level, you worry about going bust. Any number of things can happen that will affect your bottom line, depending on how deep your investments go. The stock market can crash, taking your life savings with it. The real estate bubble can burst, leaving you on the hook for houses you can't sell. The worst part is there are often no warning signs. One day you're swimming in cash like Scrooge McDuck, and the next day you're looking under couch cushions for loose change.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Don't put all your eggs in one basket, don't overextend your credit, don't take on more expense than you can afford, and, above all, don't get cocky with your money. Devise a plan to weather a financial crisis so you'll be prepared well ahead of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-prepare-for-a-stock-market-dive?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Ways to Prepare for a Stock Market Dive</a>)</p> <h2>6. Natural disaster</h2> <p>While we can sort of predict the weather, we can't predict the outcome. Any number of things can happen to you, your home, or your personal property during a bad storm or natural disaster that may leave you strapped for cash or even facing a total rebuild.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>If you live in an area where certain calamities are possible, purchase the proper insurance. Your homeowners insurance may cover certain events, but you may require special policies for others, like floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Consider what you're at risk for and put a policy in place. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <h2>7. Spending more than you make</h2> <p>Sometimes, your biggest financial enemy is yourself. We like our things in America, and many of us will go to great lengths to get those things &mdash; including spending more money than we have. According to NerdWallet, the average household has $134,643 in debt. Households that carry credit card debt pay about $1,300 a year in interest alone on balances that average $16,748. These statistics represent an 11 percent debt increase over the past decade. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Find ways to make more money or live on less (or both). There are many ways you can introduce a second source of income to your household, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-websites-for-renting-your-extra-space" target="_blank">renting out your extra space</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-extra-money-driving-for-uber-or-lyft" target="_blank">driving for ride-sharing operations</a>, or pet sitting. But if you don't want to work constantly, consider cutting back on your overall expenses. You don't need everything you see, and the faster you recognize that the better off your bank account will be. Plus, you might even be happier as a result.</p> <h2>8. Medical emergency</h2> <p>American health care is in flux right now, which means that you have to be extra vigilant in making sure you're covered. Just one trip to the hospital can set you back financially for years if you're not prepared, perhaps even more if you require long-term care.</p> <h3>How to protect yourself</h3> <p>Cover yourself. You may have to bite the bullet on the premium, but at least you're insured. You can go to the doctor or hospital when you need to, and your care will (hopefully) be covered to an affordable extent. Not having insurance, on the other hand, may very well be a death sentence &mdash; or at least you'll wish it were when you get the bill in full.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-real-life-calamities-that-can-drain-your-finances-plus-how-to-defend-against-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-identity-was-stolen">9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance audits death disasters divorce emergencies fraud going broke life insurance market crash medical bills overspending scams Tue, 25 Apr 2017 20:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1931272 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-185267899.jpg" alt="Learning the fair way to split up a family&#039;s estate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've seen many family rifts created over an estate. Without clear guidance on your wishes, heirs and relatives may descend into fights over your belongings, sometimes taking grudges to their own graves. Don't let that happen to your family. Here are a few tips on how to smooth out the kinks of your will before you take your last bow.</p> <h2>Determine Beneficiaries in Your Life Insurance Policy Ahead of Time</h2> <p>If you have a life insurance policy, you have the option to name beneficiaries before you die. You can divide the payout evenly among those you'd like to name, or you can assign a particular percentage of the payout to each individual. Either way, you spare your beneficiaries the unpleasant conversation of who gets how much.</p> <p>If there are any hurt feelings after the fact because this person or that person didn't receive the payout they feel they deserve, it's really not your problem anymore. At least you spelled out your wishes legally and ahead of time.</p> <h2>Involve Your Beneficiaries in Inheritance Decisions While You're Alive</h2> <p>If you want to involve your family in the asset-dividing task while you're still alive, there are a couple ways to make this work. Certified financial planner Jody Giles &mdash; author of <a href="http://amzn.to/2kFEX8m" target="_blank">Missing Pieces Plan</a>, a guide to help people plan for their final wishes &mdash; offers two options for family participation in asset assignment to avoid infighting when you pass.</p> <h3>Round Robin</h3> <p>One way to give away heirlooms now, Giles says, is to hold a &quot;round robin&quot; where each beneficiary gets a turn picking an asset or heirloom.</p> <p>&quot;I suggest making a list of all the items you deem sentimental and circulate it to your loved ones,&quot; says Giles. They can then choose from the list, or add items you may not have even thought about. &quot;You might find they really care about a coffee mug that you don't see as valuable, but they do,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Once you have a complete list, you may consider separating sentimental items (coffee mugs, trophies, a wine opener, nostalgic popcorn bowl) from valuable items, like furniture, silver, jewelry, and art.</p> <p>Drawing names is a great way to determine who starts the round robin, or you can easily go by birth order or other creative option for deciding who goes first. Then have each loved one choose an item off the &quot;sentimental&quot; list, then the &quot;valuable&quot; list, and so forth.</p> <p>At the round robin's completion, your loved ones have intentionally and thoughtfully selected your heirlooms. Then, you can decide what you give away now or what you intend to keep until you pass. Most importantly, you have a documented list indicating to whom all your sentimental and valuable items shall pass &mdash; as they deem fair.</p> <h3>Play Money</h3> <p>Another idea, according to Giles, is to give an equal amount of &quot;play money&quot; to each intended beneficiary. If necessary, you can hire an appraiser to value and price all of your assets. Each heir is then given the opportunity to &quot;buy&quot; items from the estate.</p> <p>&quot;If you want to downsize,&quot; Giles says, &quot;you can certainly make the transfer during your lifetime or keep track of the 'purchases' to reduce tension and make the transfers seamless after you're gone.&quot;</p> <p>You can also have the satisfaction of knowing that heirlooms you hold dear will continue to be treasured by the next generation.</p> <h2>Include a Letter of Explanation in Your Will</h2> <p>Unless you have the good fortune of being part of the &quot;perfect&quot; family, your assets may not be divided equally &mdash; perhaps for good reason. It's your right to divide your assets however you wish, but you can bet it may leave a sour taste in the mouth of whomever gets the short end of the stick.</p> <p>To quell the hurt feelings, include a letter of explanation in your will. It can go a long way toward helping your loved ones understand your decisions. Maybe you're giving less money and property to a more successful child so some of the less successful ones can turn their lives around. Whatever the reason &mdash; if you think an explanation is necessary, provide one.</p> <p>&quot;Most people say that they allocate money based on need and not love,&quot; says Illinois-based attorney Evan Randall. &quot;Obviously a disabled child requires more money in the long run in addition to possibly not being able to work. It gets harder when the needs are on the same level.&quot;</p> <h2>Assign Assets and Let Loved Ones Swap Rights to Them</h2> <p>Nobody wants to contest a will, but siblings and other close family members often end up doing that if your will isn't watertight.</p> <p>Estate-planning attorney Ashley L. Case with Tiffany &amp; Bosco in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a method to eliminate broken hearts and temper tantrums ahead of your death. It involves creating groups of items that you think are equal in monetary or sentimental value.</p> <p>&quot;Each heir could be assigned a group of items at random, which would represent the inheritance of the heir,&quot; explains Case. &quot;In the event that the heir was interested in an item belonging to another heir, the two can negotiate separately.&quot;</p> <p>This allows you to distribute your assets equally while lowering the chances your heirs will have to resort to litigation upon your death. Because, really, who wants to go to court to duke it out over a dead person's stuff?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance">The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family beneficiaries death estate planning heirs inheritance last will and testament legal life insurance valuables Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:30:24 +0000 Mikey Rox 1907104 at http://www.wisebread.com What Happens to Your Debt After You Die? http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_drawing_cash_32706966.jpg" alt="Finding out what happens to debt after you die" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,&quot; wrote Benjamin Franklin back in 1789. However, more and more Americans are including &quot;debt&quot; in that famous quote. In 2015, one poll found that 21% of Americans believed that they would be in debt forever, up from 9% in 2013 and 18% in 2014. But what happens to that debt when you die? The answers may surprise you.</p> <h2>First &mdash; What Is an Estate?</h2> <p>Your estate includes all of your assets, including real estate, investments, insurance, and any other assets or entitlements. Since your debts and liabilities are also part of your estate, qualifying assets are liquidated upon your death to cover your debts before your beneficiaries can see any funds.</p> <p>Establishing a clear will is key to ensuring your estate is managed as you wish. Even when a will is available, executing an estate and administering a will is serious business. So, it's best to hire a legal professional to cross all t's and dot all i's. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-screwed-3-surprising-times-when-you-need-a-lawyer?ref=seealso">Don't Get Screwed: 3 Surprising Times When You Need a Lawyer</a>)</p> <p>So, what happens to the debts in your estate?</p> <h2>Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Recent estimates put average American household credit card debt at $15,762, for those households with credit card debt. But unless your family or friends co-signed a credit card with you, they're all off the hook in the event that you pass away and your estate is too small to cover it. Even when your spouse is an authorized user on your credit card account, they won't be responsible for paying if they didn't cosign at the time of application.</p> <p>However, your survivors shouldn't be surprised if debt collectors <em>still </em>try to get a spouse or child to pay for the debt. The federal <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text">Fair Debt Collection Practices Act</a> (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to try to collect a debt. Let your spouse, children, and beneficiaries know that they can <a href="https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&amp;panel1-1">file a complaint</a> against abusive debt collectors with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-annoying-things-bill-collectors-cant-do-and-how-to-stop-them?ref=seealso">4 Annoying Things Bill Collectors Can't Do &mdash; And How to Stop Them</a>)</p> <p>Of course, you and your family still need to refrain from tricky tactics, such as taking a $20,000 cash advance days before a death, or continuing to use the authorized credit card after the primary cardholder has died, that could provide a credit card company recourse to legally pass on the debt to the surviving relatives.</p> <h2>Mortgage</h2> <p>There are three main scenarios to consider with a mortgage.</p> <p>In the first, you were either required by the company issuing your mortgage or decided that it was a good idea to buy life insurance for the remaining balance of the mortgage. In this scenario, your death benefit clears the mortgage and the property goes to the beneficiary listed on the will or to the surviving property owner.</p> <p>In the second, there is no life insurance, and you and your spouse were &quot;tenants in common,&quot; meaning that each of you owned a stated share of the property. To be eligible to receive their share of the property, your spouse would need to first check that there is enough money in your estate to clear your debts and thus no need to sell the property to cover them. If there is enough money in your estate, your spouse would receive your share and take over the mortgage, if applicable.</p> <p>Finally, there are scenarios in which there was no life insurance and you and your spouse were &quot;joint tenants,&quot; meaning that both of you owned the entire property. In this scenario, upon your death the whole property passes automatically to your spouse. But again, the estate must clear any property-related debt first.</p> <h2>Student Loans</h2> <p>Besides credit card debt, student loans are another type of liability that is rapidly increasing among Americans. According to one estimate, the <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/congrats-class-of-2016-youre-the-most-indebted-yet/">average student loan</a> for a Class of 2016 graduate is $37,173!</p> <p>In the event of your death, your federal student loans, including direct loans, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Loans, and Perkins Loans, <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation#death-discharge">will be discharged</a>. Additionally, Direct PLUS loans are discharged in the event that the parent or student on whose behalf the loan was obtained passes away.</p> <p>But private loans are another matter, and your estate may be responsible for covering any balance. And if anybody co-signed a private loan with you, they'd be on the hook for payment.</p> <p>To learn more about what would happen to your liabilities upon your death, consult a lawyer.</p> <p><em>Have you ever take on debts from somebody that passed away? Share your experience in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt">What to Do If You&#039;re Retiring With Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-pays-when-loved-ones-leave-debt-behind">Who Pays When Loved Ones Leave Debt Behind?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Prioritize These 5 Bills When You&#039;re Short on Cash</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management beneficiaries death estate planning federal trade commission loans mortgages spouses student loans survivors Thu, 28 Jul 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Damian Davila 1760584 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_holding_hands_000067142067.jpg" alt="Couple making financial moves after loved one dies" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few things more challenging than a loved one's passing. In addition to being emotionally difficult, there is an enormous amount of work required to handle the person's estate.</p> <p>No one likes to discuss the finances of your departed loved ones, but there are many key things that should be done shortly after their passing. These 12 items are the most common financial priorities during a difficult time.</p> <h2>1. Do as Little as You Need To (At First)</h2> <p>Losing a loved one is a stressful, tiring, and emotional experience. That's why it's wise to avoid making any key financial decisions immediately. Decisions about money and property should be made with a clear head, psychologists say. It's important to begin collecting some documentation and making funeral plans, but many key decisions can wait a while.</p> <h2>2. Find the Will &mdash; and Its Executor</h2> <p>If your loved one planned properly, he or she outlined their wishes in a will and tasked a trustworthy person to carry things out. This is known as probating the estate. Things can get complicated if there is no will, or if the executor has passed away or is otherwise unavailable. But start by finding out if your loved one's wishes were written down. If you are the executor, you will need <em>letters testamentary</em> that prove you have the right to handle the affairs of the deceased.</p> <h2>3. Collect as Many Documents as You Can</h2> <p>Hopefully, your loved one had some sort of filing system for bills, tax receipts, and other financial information. Collect as much of this paperwork as you can, including anything associated with his or her estate planning, plus credit card statements, bank statements, life insurance policies, car titles, and any similar things you can think of.</p> <h2>4. Determine If the Funeral Was Prepaid</h2> <p>You may find that your loved one had already made plans with a funeral home to have arrangements paid for. But if not, you'll need to determine if there is money available from the deceased to pay for the funeral. This may require opening a special checking account for the estate.</p> <h2>5. Get Copies of the Death Certificate</h2> <p>As you work through the complicated financial matters after a loved one dies, people and institutions will request copies of the death certificate as evidence of the person's passing. Obtain dozens of copies from the state, as many organizations will require an original document. Always have a copy handy any time you deal with a bank or brokerage house.</p> <h2>6. Get in Touch With Financial Institutions</h2> <p>This is often a challenge, because most people have multiple bank accounts, plus various investment accounts, pension providers, loans, credit cards, and insurance companies. Start with the the life insurance company, as the policy may mean that there will be a payout that can be used toward final expenses. Then check with banks to stop any automatic payments, such as regular contributions to charity. Brokerage companies may freeze accounts once notified of a death, so plan in advance if you think this may pose a problem.</p> <h2>7. Call Utility Companies</h2> <p>If a loved one lived alone, it will be important to call the electric company, water provider, cable provider, and phone company to stop service and avoid any additional charges. (Make sure you clean out the fridge before cutting off the electricity.)</p> <h2>8. Contact Government Agencies</h2> <p>You need to contact the Social Security Administration to stop payments, and see if you are eligible for any death benefits. If your relative served in the Armed Forces, call the Veterans Administration. There are many state and local agencies that may also need to be notified, in order to stop payments from things like pensions or legal settlements.</p> <h2>9. Get the Credit Report of the Deceased</h2> <p>It will be important to contact credit bureaus to protect against a case of identity theft. But it's also helpful to review your loved one's credit report to see if there were any major errors or cases of fraud.</p> <h2>10. Hire an Accountant</h2> <p>Dealing with taxes can be very challenging following the death of a loved one. There may be inheritance taxes, and if they worked in the year of their death, they may owe taxes or at least have required tax forms you'll need access to. Let an accountant do a lot of the heavy lifting here. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-reasons-why-an-accountant-is-worth-the-money">14 Reasons Why an Accountant Is Worth the Money</a>)</p> <h2>11. Change Online Passwords</h2> <p>If you have access to the online accounts of the deceased, you may want to consider changing the passwords for access. This will guard against anyone looking to steal your loved one's identity, and prevent others from gaining access to account information they should not have.</p> <h2>12. Roll Over Their IRA</h2> <p>If your wife or husband passed away, you are the beneficiary of his or her retirement account and can roll it into yours. Or you can tap the money immediately and you won't have to pay a penalty for early withdrawals. If your spouse was over 70 &frac12;, you may have to take a required minimum distribution.</p> <p><em>What steps have you taken to prepare for the loss of a loved one?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-an-estate-plan">Do You Need an Estate Plan?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family death estate planning inheritance probate taxes wills Wed, 03 Feb 2016 18:19:01 +0000 Tim Lemke 1649195 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/newborn_baby_000046762652.jpg" alt="Man getting life insurance to protect his child" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life insurance isn't your average dinnertime conversation &mdash; no one likes to even talk about it. After all, life insurance is something that you only have to think about when you are old and grey, right?</p> <p>But nothing could be further from the truth. Life takes unexpected turns, and at any age it could be just as important as having a strong emergency fund or funding your retirement.</p> <p>Still need proof? Here are five compelling reasons why <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/universal-life-insurance-and-whole-life-insurance-a-comparison">life insurance</a> isn't just for old people.</p> <h2>1. You're Young and Healthy</h2> <p>Life insurance doesn't pay out until you die, but the best time to buy it is when you are young and healthy, since it's issued on rating scale. The healthier you are, the better the rating. The better the rating, the lower the price.</p> <h2>2. You Want to Boost Your Retirement Funding</h2> <p>401(k), IRA, ROTH, SEP-IRA &mdash; they are all great retirement options. But there are also hefty fees if you want to withdraw early from retirement accounts. Life insurance is the yin to retirement accounts yang. There are two kinds of life insurance: those that expire (term), and those that generate cash value (permanent). If you structure a permanent life insurance policy properly, you can actually use the cash value during your life to help fund your retirement, and even better, the benefits can be tax-free to you.</p> <h2>3. You Got Married</h2> <p>Being single can have many benefits. However, right after you say &quot;I do&quot; is probably the best time to start thinking about life insurance. What if one spouse works, while the other spouse might stay home? Or, maybe one spouse makes a lot more money than the other. However you slice it, life insurance can provide a very valuable asset if something was to happen to the higher-earning partner. You want to make sure you have enough life insurance to cover all your expenses, and then some.</p> <h2>4. You're Having a Baby</h2> <p>If you didn't think getting married was a compelling reason enough, that little bundle of joy should surely spur on the need. Kids bring on a ton more expenses &mdash; day care, education, clothes, food, and not to mention college. Tax-free life insurance benefits can become an important life preserver and ensure your child's well-being.</p> <h2>5. You're Open for Business</h2> <p>So, you've got a rock star business concept and are ready for world domination. If you've got a business partner, then life insurance should be your next step. You share expenses, knowledge, and more. What if something happens to one business partner? You've also got their family, their business interest, and the loss of a partner to think about. Business owners usually opt for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/business-succession-planning-part-2-how-life-insurance-will-insure-the-life-of-your-business">life insurance on each other</a> in what is a called a &quot;buy-sell agreement.&quot; This agreement drafted by an attorney states who gets what when something happens. The most common form of currency to &quot;fund&quot; a buy-sell agreement&hellip;you guessed it: life insurance.</p> <p><em>Do you own life insurance yet? If so, why or why not?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-life-insurance-policy-for-cold-hard-cash">Selling Your Life Insurance Policy for Cold, Hard Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th">It&#039;s the 21st Century — Why Is Your Money Stuck in the 20th?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance business death family life insurance marriage retirement Thu, 11 Jun 2015 17:00:21 +0000 Shannah Game 1447185 at http://www.wisebread.com Six Great Tech Tools for Planning Your Own Death http://www.wisebread.com/six-great-tech-tools-for-planning-your-own-death-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/six-great-tech-tools-for-planning-your-own-death-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2740651239_3d84238a5e_z.jpg" alt="cemetary" title="cemetary" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There&rsquo;s that word &mdash; death.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not something we like to see, talk about, or even acknowledge (did it send a shudder down your spine?). In fact, there are people out there who won&rsquo;t create a will, discuss funeral arrangements, or even talk about events after their death for fear of tempting &ldquo;fate.&rdquo;</p> <p>Well, unless you really do believe that planning ahead is going to anger the gods of destiny and providence (and if you do, you probably didn't even get past the headline anyway), then it makes complete sense to use today&rsquo;s technology to help you prepare for the inevitable.</p> <p>There are several apps and online tools that can help you plan ahead for the time when you will shuffle off this mortal coil. And if you do it right, you can leave your friends and loved ones with security and pleasant memories, rather than heartache and debt. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral">Would You&nbsp;Consider a DIY&nbsp;Funeral?</a>)</p> <h2>1. MyWill</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s start with the most fundamental estate-planning document that you should have prepared &mdash; your will. Although it&rsquo;s not a pleasant process, you really do need to have this in place, especially if you have children. The <a href="http://www.mywillapp.com/">MyWill app</a> makes it easy, with options to help you:</p> <ul> <li>Leave your property to the people and organizations you choose</li> <li>Name someone to care for your minor children</li> <li>Name someone to manage property you leave to minor children</li> <li>Name the executor of your estate</li> <li>Revoke any previous wills and/or codicils</li> </ul> <p>There are many other features, and you can also update your will as many times as you wish. This free app is currently only available for the iPhone, but it&rsquo;s very handy, and you can&rsquo;t beat the price.</p> <h2>2. Funeral Advice</h2> <p>Planning your own funeral may seem a touch macabre, but I for one would rather plan mine than have a grieving relative do it. A free app called <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/funeral-advice/id410770784?mt=8">Funeral Advice</a> lets you do just that, with advice (including video tutorials) that can guide you to the right funeral for your needs. What&rsquo;s a green burial? What kind of casket should you get? What can you expect to pay? Other features packaged in the app include:</p> <ul> <li>Steps to take after losing a loved one&nbsp;</li> <li>Funeral information&nbsp;</li> <li>Words of sympathy&nbsp;</li> <li>A casket and cremation urn shop&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>It may be helpful to go through this with your partner, other family members, or friends, so that they know your wishes as well. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. You can also check out another funeral-planning app, <a href="http://funeralnotebook.com/">Funeral Notebook</a>.</p> <h2>3. Death Meter</h2> <p>Nice morbid name, right? Well, although <a href="http://www.findyourfate.com/deathmeter/deathmtr.html">Death Meter</a> is intended more as something to start some casual conversation, it can also give you a wake-up call and a good idea of how long you may have left to live. Taking into account such factors as daily activity, diet, pollution, and even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">teeth flossing</a>, it gives you a rough idea of when you can expect to pop your clogs. Obviously, it&rsquo;s not 100% accurate, but it could raise a few red flags for you and your own health.</p> <p>Other death-countdown tools include <a href="http://www.deathforecast.com/">Death Forecast</a> and <a href="http://www.death-clock.org/">The Death Clock</a>.</p> <h2>4. If I Die</h2> <p>Of all the tools available right now for planning your own death, this one is probably the most controversial. Facebook app <a href="http://ifidie.net/">If I Die</a> hit the headlines because many people believe it&rsquo;s in very poor taste. Why? Well, the basic idea is that you can record a message that will be played to your friends and loved ones if you should die unexpectedly. The task of sharing this message goes to two or three trusted friends on Facebook. Once activated, the app sends out the message. You can send an inside joke or something way more serious. But if this kind of thing doesn't give you the creeps, the app could be something that helps people accept your passing, especially if it&rsquo;s very sudden.</p> <h2>5. iLivingWill</h2> <p>A living will is not a substitute for a last will, and they have very different purposes. A last will is there to see that your property is distributed according to your wishes and your last wishes are carried out. It also specifies guardianship for minors. A living will is put in place to outline critical healthcare decisions in advance, so if you are incapacitated, everyone knows what you wanted. Usually, people refer to your living will for such information as whether you want to remain on life support and who you want to make health decisions for you if you are incapable of doing so. The 99 cent <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ilivingwill/id435181141?mt=8">iLivingWill</a> iPad app lets you create, store, and distribute a living will for yourself, family, and even friends.</p> <p>The app will:</p> <ul> <li>Sensitively answer all the important questions, like having your own family doctor at your side</li> <li>Tell your health care providers exactly what kind of care you expect</li> <li>Help protect those you love from uncertainty and regret</li> <li>Prepare a living will summary document, with the option to save and share it</li> </ul> <p>The app comes with voice-over support, and a portion of the profits <span>goes to organizations that support end-of-life care and green burial.</span></p> <h2>6. AssetLock</h2> <p>There are several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cloud-computing-and-your-wallet">cloud-based storage systems</a> out there right now, and many are free (or very cheap). <a href="http://www.assetlock.net/">AssetLock</a>, however, has put a different spin on it. It&rsquo;s a website that acts as a virtual safe deposit box, storing your vital records and information and then automatically allowing your chosen family and friends to access that information once you pass away. Possible items you can store in this vault include:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Digital copies of important documents for reference</li> <li>Final messages for family and friends</li> <li>Funeral arrangements, a eulogy, an obituary, and notifications</li> <li>Instructions to help settle your estate, to-do's, and when to pay bills</li> <li>Locations of important documents such as wills, trusts, and insurance policies</li> <li>Where your safe deposit box, keys, etc. are located</li> <li>Secret information, like passwords, hidden accounts, and lock combinations</li> </ul> <p>The pricing is very reasonable at $9.95 a year or just $235 for life. You can also sign up for a free trial.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-great-tech-tools-for-planning-your-own-death-0">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral">Times Are Tough; Would You Consider A DIY Funeral?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-smartphone-apps-that-make-self-care-a-snap">14 Smartphone Apps That Make Self-Care a Snap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Technology death funeral living will smartphone apps Thu, 31 May 2012 10:24:08 +0000 Paul Michael 932656 at http://www.wisebread.com Selling Your Life Insurance Policy for Cold, Hard Cash http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-life-insurance-policy-for-cold-hard-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/selling-your-life-insurance-policy-for-cold-hard-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1136586_82991596.jpg" alt="Early Payday" title="Early Payday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Depending on your age, your health, and several other factors, your current life insurance policy could be worth a lot of money to someone else. And believe it or not, people are cashing in on this new form of equity. Life insurance speculation seems morbid, but it&rsquo;s very real and can be lucrative to both parties.</p> <h3>First, What&rsquo;s This All About?</h3> <p>Well, most of us have life insurance policies. They are a monthly expense that we feel necessary because we don&rsquo;t want our loved ones to be financially burdened if we die. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-and-why-to-buy-life-insurance">How (and Why) to Buy Life Insurance</a>)</p> <p>But when we reach a certain age and our children (and even grandchildren) are all grown up, the life insurance policy we have may be something we&rsquo;d like to cash in. It could also be something you want access to if you have contracted a terminal illness and have only a short amount of time to live. Whether it&rsquo;s for medical bills, travel, or just wanting to enjoy your final days with some extra money, having access to a large, lump-sum of cash is an option many people in this situation would like.</p> <p>Whatever their reasons, the option is there for many people to cash out their life insurance policies for less than they're worth. The holder of the policy gets the cash, someone else takes over the payments, and the life insurance company pays out less than face value on the policy &mdash; everyone's a winner.</p> <h3>The Numbers Nitty-Gritty</h3> <p>So if you&rsquo;re thinking about cancelling your life insurance policy, don&rsquo;t. Not just yet. Because all of the money you&rsquo;ve put into that policy over the years can be turned into a huge lump sum for you &mdash; as much as 80% of the total face value of your actual life insurance policy. If you have a $2 million policy (which is common these days, considering you need 20 times your annual salary to cover your loved ones) that equates to as much as $1.6 million. That&rsquo;s a whole lot better than just ripping up the policy and walking away.</p> <h3>Check for Accelerated Death Benefits</h3> <p>First, you can check to see if your policy allows you to collect &ldquo;accelerated death benefits.&rdquo; Not all of them do, but if your policy has that option and you have less than 24 months or less left to live, you can get a check for a huge percentage of your insurance policy&rsquo;s face value. Not only that, but you no longer have to pay premiums. It&rsquo;s also good for the insurance company because they are saving money on the full payout they&rsquo;d have to issue in less than a few years time.</p> <p>If this applies to you, or someone you know, make sure you explore this option.</p> <h3>Selling the Policy to a Third Party</h3> <p>If you discover that you have no &ldquo;accelerated death benefits&rdquo; option, you are by no means out of luck. Now you can explore an option that can be just as lucrative. The term you need to know here is &ldquo;viatical settlement.&rdquo; In a nutshell, here&rsquo;s how it works according to <a href="http://www.wdfi.org/ymm/brochures/investing/viaticals.htm">Wisconsin's Department of Financial Institutions</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>Typically, the person or viatical settlement company acquiring the life insurance policy death benefit pays the viator a discounted amount of the actual death benefit, and becomes the irrevocable beneficiary of the life insurance policy, receiving the full amount of the death benefit upon the death of the viator. Increasingly, business firms are buying life insurance policies of the terminally ill and re-selling them at marked-up prices as investments.</p> </blockquote> <p>So your life insurance policy becomes an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-life-insurance-be-purchased-as-an-investment">investment</a> to someone else. You collect a chunk of money based on the face value of your policy, the third party pays your insurance premiums and, when you die, they collect the full face value of the policy.</p> <h3>The Moral Implications</h3> <p>This is where things get murky. If people are dying and want the cash, that&rsquo;s their call. But think about this for a second. With insurance, neither party has a vested interest in someone&rsquo;s death. The person with the policy (usually) doesn&rsquo;t want to die, and the insurer definitely does not want that person to die.</p> <p>But when you sell that life insurance policy, things get very different. Now there&rsquo;s an entity out there, somewhere, that will absolutely profit from the death of the person who signed over their life insurance policy. And the quicker that person dies, the better. It&rsquo;s grim, but it&rsquo;s true. What&rsquo;s more, that third party could decide they don&rsquo;t want to hang around to collect on the deal and sell it off for a slight profit. Who knows where that life insurance policy could end up.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s quite possible that shady companies that operate like mafia loan sharks could scoop up these policies. What will they do to make sure they collect on the full amounts? Would you feel safe knowing that someone out there wants you dead? After all, you may sell your policy when you&rsquo;re 75 and continue to live a good life for another 20 years. That&rsquo;s a long time for anyone to wait for a payday.</p> <p>Of course, this is taking the idea to extremes, but it&rsquo;s worth considering.</p> <p>The big question is, would you sell a $2 million life insurance policy for, say, $1 million in cash? Would you do it if you had <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/that-what-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die-question">just 24 months to live</a>? Would you sell it when you reached the ripe old age of 70, or even 80? Or is this money something you would rather leave to your family?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/selling-your-life-insurance-policy-for-cold-hard-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn&#039;t Just for Old People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance critical illness death life insurance windfall Fri, 04 Feb 2011 14:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 487652 at http://www.wisebread.com Times Are Tough; Would You Consider A DIY Funeral? http://www.wisebread.com/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/114469689_adc64f3876.jpg" alt="Gravestone" title="Gravestone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="204" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's never pleasant to think about death and funerals, but if there is one certainty in life, it's that we're all going to bite the dust at some point. And just like most things in life, death is an expensive business. But did you know that there are options to the usual funeral...you really can Do It Yourself, if you have the stomach for it.</p> <p>The costs associated with the average funeral vary, with some costing as much as $15-$20,000. But it seems an average most professionals <a href="http://www.yourfuneralguy.com/2009/02/what-is-the-average-cost-of-a-funeral-at-church-your-funeral-guy/">agree on is around $8000</a>. That's not exactly chump change. It breaks down like this:</p> <p><b>Professional and administrative services</b> (embalming, funeral home staff during the visitation, and so on) ... $1,650</p> <p><b>Facilities and equipment</b> (preparation room, visitation room, reception room, chapel) ... $850</p> <p><b>Transportation</b> (transfer from the place of death, funeral limousine, and cars for the family) ... $450</p> <p><b>Merchandise</b> (casket, vault, prayer cards, temporary grave marker) ... $2,515</p> <p><b>Cash disbursements</b> (flowers, cemetery plot, obituary, death certificates, honorariums, headstone) ... $1,828</p> <p><b>Total (not including taxes) ... $7,293</b></p> <p>Even if you get the cheapest casket, forget the flowers and buy a fiberglass headstone, you're still looking at $5000. But there are alternatives. One extreme I read about in England, my home country, was about a guy who requested to be put on his own compost heap when he died. And somehow, his wife managed to get it done. Here in the US I can imagine it would be a lot tougher to go that far. But the DIY funeral is definitely an alternative.</p> <p>An article I found interesting from <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/314353/diy_funeral_care_for_the_dead_on_your.html?cat=7">Associated Content</a> listed the following steps for your DIY funeral:</p> <p><em><b>1.</b> A medical examiner or funeral must sign the death certificate. Also if the death did not take place in the hospital, a medical examiner or coroner will have to verify death and the cause. </p> <p><b>2.</b> Use dry ice instead of embalming. Embalming isn't a requirement nowadays although the quick deterioration of a body will warrant a quick burial. You can help preserve the body with dry ice. </p> <p><b>3. </b>Make a coffin or buy one from a casket store that will sell to consumers. </p> <p><b>4.</b> You can use the funeral home for a few services such as help with the death certificate. </p> <p><b>5.</b> You will need to secure a burial permit. If you are burying on family land or anywhere other than a cemetery you will have to assure that the corpse will not spread any contagious or communicable diseases. </em></p> <p>To some, the idea of caring for the dead, especially a close friend or relative, is a ghastly and unthinkable idea. But in other cultures, it's not only acceptable...it's the norm. I recently saw a documentary on India which showed people burning their loved ones on the banks of the Ganges and throwing their charred remians into the river. In other cultures, eating the flesh of the cooked dead body is a ritual. By comparison, popping your great uncle into a home-made coffin doesn't seem quite so bad.</p> <p>There is plenty more to learn at <a href="http://www.funerals.org/">funerals.org,</a> and it gives you quite a lot more to thin about. So, one question to leave you with...would you do a DIY funeral? Or is it just too absurd to even consider?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/times-are-tough-would-you-consider-a-diy-funeral">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/there-are-cheaper-ways-to-return-to-a-greener-earth">There are Cheaper Ways to Return to a Greener Earth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-spare-a-square-5-quick-tips-on-toilet-paper-usage">&quot;Can you spare a square?&quot; 5 quick tips on toilet paper usage.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Consumer Affairs DIY General Tips Green Living coffin cremation death funeral Sat, 20 Jun 2009 06:12:11 +0000 Paul Michael 3294 at http://www.wisebread.com That "What if you knew you were going to die" question http://www.wisebread.com/that-what-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die-question <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/that-what-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die-question" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/heron-at-frozen-pond.jpg" alt="Heron on a branch over a frozen pond" title="Heron at Frozen Pond" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="236" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've no doubt seen the question in many different forms. Sometimes it's, &quot;What would you do if you learned you were going to die tomorrow?&quot; Other times it's &quot;What would you do if you knew you'd live a hundred years?&quot; Some people try to pack the whole thing into one exhortation, &quot;Live like you were going to die tomorrow, plan like you'd live forever.&quot; It's always bugged me.</p> <p>I understand what the question is trying to get at. It's trying to get you to think about what's really important. If you only had a little time left, hopefully you'd spend it doing the things that really matter--connecting with family and friends, perhaps. Contrariwise, if you have vast amounts of time--enough to see a really big plan through to fruition--it frees you to think big. But neither version really works for me.</p> <p>See, if I were going to die tomorrow, I'd probably do stupid stuff--the sort of fun stuff that I normally keep under strict limits because it has long-term negative consequences. If you're going to die before the negative consequences kick in, there's no need for limits. If I were going to die tomorrow I could pack a lot of pleasure into one day--but if a miracle treatment gave me one more day I'd probably make very different choices for that <em>next</em> &quot;last&quot; day. Maybe the question would work better if the time frame were, let's say, six weeks--short enough to focus the mind, but long enough that there's still value in moderation and thoughtful consideration. But, for me, it's not the right question.</p> <p>The other one isn't either. If I knew I would live forever (or even just a very long time), I'm sure I'd take the long view on certain things--my investment portfolio, for example--but I'm also sure I'd be prone to some serious procrastination, knowing that I had the whole vast future to get around to doing whatever it was that I didn't feel like doing today.</p> <p>For me, the issues these questions are supposed to help with are dealt with much better by thinking in terms of <strong>balance</strong>. Happiness doesn't come from packing each day with as much hedonistic pleasure as possible--although one day like that can be a lot of fun. At the same time, taking the long view is great, but it doesn't make any sense to spend every waking minute in your first few decades working towards having big, big fun in the later decades. Even if you knew for sure that you'd live that long, it's still no way to live.</p> <p>So, how then can one find that balance? The answer comes down to your values and your goals.</p> <p>It's your <strong>values</strong> that the early-death question is supposed to get it--what's so important to you that you'd choose to devote your last hours of life on it? If it doesn't work for me, maybe it's just my own immaturity that puts too high a value on pleasure. But, as long as I stay away from the artificial &quot;last day&quot; question, there are plenty of other things I value--friends, family, the respect of my peers, the satisfaction from doing good work, making a positive difference in the world, helping others. Those things--along with pleasure--are the things that you miss out on if you focus too much on the long term. Keeping them in mind helps you find your balance.</p> <p>It's your <strong>goals</strong> that the live-forever question is supposed to get it--what would you do if you felt free to think big? But you don't need that artificial circumstance. However long you might live, you're always free to <em>think</em> big. I have plenty of big projects in mind--books I want to write, fields I want to study, skills I want to master. It's in service of your goals that it's worth deferring short-term pleasures. But these goals only matter if they also advance your values.</p> <p>For me, it's not about when I might die. It's about where to find the balance between short-term pleasures and long-term goals. It's about thinking big while still living in the moment. It's about living my values every day, not just at the supposed end of my life.</p> <p>(I'm prepared to concede that I think way too much about this sort of thing.)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/that-what-if-you-knew-you-were-going-to-die-question">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-happier">Book review: Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-your-projects-always-take-longer-than-you-expect">This Is Why Your Projects Always Take Longer Than You Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shhhhh-how-to-block-out-noise">Shhhhh: How to Block Out Noise</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Productivity death die happier happiness happy what if Thu, 26 Feb 2009 16:02:04 +0000 Philip Brewer 2873 at http://www.wisebread.com How many human lives is a flat panel TV worth? http://www.wisebread.com/stampede-death-walmart-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stampede-death-walmart-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/death_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I think that the iPhone is a neato gadget. I couldn't believe that people stood in line for them. The final Star Wars movie was decent - I waited for the DVD. Some people camped outside the damn theater.</p> <p>There are very few things that are important enough, to me, to stand in line to purchase. This is partly because I don't like people, and thus try to avoid milling among them for any amount of time. This is also because there's just no purchasable item that I find worth my time. It's also, partly, a product of my upbringing. My mother is simply not much of a bargain shopper, and certainly never waited outside of a store for more than a few minutes (nevermind hours) in order to get inside and snatch up the first discounted television set that she saw.</p> <p>This is why I am so completely baffled that a 270 pound man was trampled to death by rabid shopopers at a Wal-mart in Long Island this past Friday.</p> <p>Now, stampedes happen. Whenever people desperately flee to a new area and arrive at a bottleneck of somekind, someone is going to get hurt. You hear about it occasionally on the news: pligrims trampled in Ramadan pilgrimage. Nigerians tramped in riot. These are stampedes that make a tiny bit more sense in m brain: religious pilgrimages are emotional events, involving lots of activity and numerous people. While I am not religious, I can see why this might happen in, say, Mecca. Or in a poor country where people are scrounging for food.</p> <p>But this happened in Long Island. In the USA. Over Walmart merchandise.</p> <p>Let me repeat this: a man was trampled to death.&nbsp;A temporary employee of Wal-mart, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/nyregion/30walmart.html">Jdimytai Damour</a>, was crushed under the feet of shoppers eager to get their hands on cheap. Chinese-made goods. Shopper literally broke down the glass doors to the Wal-mart where Damour was working, and he remained under the door as hundreds of people clambored over the top of him. Imagine stepping over a man lying prone beneath a sheet of glass. Can you fathom that?&nbsp;Could you? For what? What could possibly allow human beings to behave like homicidal lemmings.</p> <p>I don't doubt that many people shop at Wal-mart in order to save money, but I seriously doubt that this insane mob of people consisted mostly of suburban mothers looking for jumbo-sized diaper packs. No, these were people looking for slashed prices on electronics, outdoor gear, and clothing. These were bargain shoppers, for sure, but no one who stepped on Damour's chest was there because they had run out of bread and heating oil.</p> <p>What have we come to? Is 20% off of a LCD television really worth the life of a man like Damour? Is it worth anything? How can anyone stand in line for this stuff? Wal-mart, really? Listen, I know I can be an elitist sometimes, but I&nbsp;occasionally shop at Walmart. But regardless of how good the deals are, how could any, or all, of the merchadise inside a Wal-mart be worth the life of a single person?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stampede-death-walmart-black-friday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-30-brilliant-ways-to-survive-black-friday-madness">Flashback Friday: 30 Brilliant Ways to Survive Black Friday Madness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-the-best-deals-of-the-year-shop-labor-day-and-skip-black-friday">For the Best Deals of the Year, Shop Labor Day and Skip Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-discount-shopping-days-of-the-year">7 Best Discount Shopping Days of the Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping black friday consumerism death Jdimytai Damour sales shopaholic shopping stampede Thanksgiving trampled Wal-Mart Sun, 30 Nov 2008 11:20:11 +0000 Andrea Karim 2612 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Work or Your Life? http://www.wisebread.com/your-work-or-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-work-or-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/death.jpg" alt="Karoshi Death, Death kanji" title="Death" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="210" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> Today my friend showed me an <a target="_blank" href="http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jO5Kw6yAWP8IoSNIcYvYraa_bZRgD91QEI4O0">article about a Toyota engineer</a> who died from overwork. Apparently the 45 year old Japanese man was working 80 hours of overtime a month for two months and finally his heart gave out. It is a sad example of a person who chose his job over his life.</p> <p>In Japan, deaths resulting from overwork is called &quot;<a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kar%C5%8Dshi">karoshi</a> &quot; and Japan's Ministry of Labor has been publishing statistics about the problem since the 1980s. It has been shown that many workers that die from overworking die from strokes or heart attacks, and the deaths are usually quite sudden. Many workers also commit or attempt suicide due to work induced depression.</p> <p>Personally, I have never worked an extreme amount of overtime even though I am an engineer in the Silicon Valley and this is a place full of workaholics. However, I have seen the effects of extreme overtime on people. A company I used to work for has an Indian office where people worked 14 to 16 hour days. One of my ex-coworkers went over to India for a short while and actually fell ill because he was working the same extreme hours as them. After he came back the CEO cut the hours at the Indian office to 12 hours a day. I think there is no point to working more than 8 or 9 hours a day because when a person is tired and stressed he or she would not be extremely productive.</p> <p>When work is not mandatory, I have met two types of people who work overtime. The first type is the stakeholders that are passionate about their job. For example, I have met CEOs that work from 7am to 1am because they are bent on buliding their own company. In other words, work is life for these people. The second type is the people who need or want money. I have met a guy that had two full time jobs so he worked 16 hours a day and then slept and another guy that works overtime purely for the overtime pay. In either case, I think there needs to be moderation because everyone needs time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.</p> <p>So do you choose your work or your life? It is a no brainer for me since I would gladly choose &quot;homeless and alive&quot; over &quot;rich and dead&quot;. For those people whose lives are inseparable with their work the choice might not be so clear. Regardless of how much you love your work, if your work starts to affect your physical and mental health significantly, then it may be wise to cut back.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-work-or-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-passion-into-a-living">Turn Your Passion Into A Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-its-never-too-late-for-a-career-change">6 Reasons It&#039;s Never Too Late for a Career Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-signs-your-work-life-balance-is-off">9 Signs Your Work-Life Balance Is Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-vacation-shame-your-coworkers">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t &quot;Vacation Shame&quot; Your Coworkers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-the-real-world-my-best-advice-for-new-graduates">Welcome to the Real World - My Best Advice for New Graduates</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income death death by work job karoshi life working Wed, 09 Jul 2008 23:28:53 +0000 Xin Lu 2226 at http://www.wisebread.com Death and Money: Helping your family now in case something happens later http://www.wisebread.com/death-and-money-helping-your-family-now-in-case-something-happens-later <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/death-and-money-helping-your-family-now-in-case-something-happens-later" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/459207903_d5ce64f14a.jpg" alt="Running Ahead of Ourselves" title="Running Ahead of Ourselves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lady I know of died last night. It was expected; she was diagnosed with incurable cancer last spring. I didn&#39;t really know her, as I&#39;d just recently moved into a place where I would have had contact with her. I wish I&#39;d known her, as her friends are going to some great lengths to honor her. It&#39;s been really cool to see people coming alongside each other, comforting each other, speaking meaningful things to each other. One of the things that has comforted people, that I&#39;ve heard them mention when they think about her and her family, is that they are in a secure place financially.</p> <p>I&#39;m not sure what plans they have in place, but it does seem that they have been able to cover her medical costs and will be able to cover her funeral without a lot of trouble. This comforts people because they know that money is one worry this family does not have to carry around as they grieve the loss of this wife and mother. This has all made me think, hard. There is so much that you can do before a crisis hits to help your family when it does. Here are the things I&#39;m glad I have and the ones I intend to look into.</p> <p><strong>1. Health insurance</strong></p> <p>I have great health insurance and will have better next spring, when we switch to Dave&#39;s plan instead of mine. It&#39;s tempting to try to go without health insureance, but the truth is that we really don&#39;t know when something will happen. It seems better, both for the sufferer and for those who would be caring for them, to pay the cost of insurance, rather than risk more debilitating bills later.</p> <p><strong>2. Emergency fund</strong></p> <p>If sudden, severe illness isn&#39;t an emergency, I don&#39;t know what is! Even though the average emergency fund won&#39;t make a big dent in medical bills, it can help with other things. Supplementing income, for example, if a caretaker is forced to take extra time off. Buying food, if all the other money is taken up covering medical costs. Planning a funeral, it it comes down to that. I&#39;m building my emergency fund, though it&#39;s not nearly there yet!</p> <p><strong>3. Life insurance</strong></p> <p>I&#39;m lucky; my company provides life insurance for each employee at minimal cost. It&#39;s on the minimal side of things, but it is enough that it would help my family if something happened to me. I&#39;ve been tempted to opt out of it, but now realize that I don&#39;t want to do that. I hope Dave never has to use it but, if he does, I want it to be there for him. Even if he just used it to pay rent for several months until he could figure out what he wanted to do, the cost is worth it to me for his peace of mind on that front.</p> <p><strong>4. A written (or videotaped) will</strong></p> <p>The thought of writing a will makes me think of a myriad of mystery books I read as a kid, where they had to find the will, or someone was killed over a will. They are associated with deception, in my mind. Now, though, I can see their value. Giving loved ones the security that they have what they need or want of mine just makes sense, because it would give them less to be burdened with if something happened to me. I haven&#39;t decided quite how i want to go about making one of these, but I&#39;ve decided that I do.</p> <p><strong>5. A plan</strong></p> <p>Some years ago, when I was an undergraduate, my parents sat me down on one of their visits and handed me several stapled, printed pages. It was the state of their finances, a statement of where they wanted to be buried, and other various instructions for use if something happened to one or both of them. They went over it with me, and I remember doing a lot of nodding. I couldn&#39;t really conceive of them not being around. In the last years, though, I&#39;ve seen just how quickly something could happen and the value of their plan. I would still have a lot to learn about how exactly everything is structured, but it&#39;s great to know that all the phone numbers and people to contact are in one place. I would love to say that I&#39;ve done the same for my family, but I haven&#39;t. Not yet!</p> <p><strong>6. Openness and honesty</strong></p> <p>It&#39;s easy, or at least it is for me, to not talk about my financial difficulties. It&#39;s easy for me to say, &quot;Yeah, I&#39;m fine,&quot; when people ask me if I can really afford to fix my car again. And sometimes, that&#39;s appropiate. But there are also times when it is appropriate to say, &quot;No, I&#39;m not ok,&quot; (if that&#39;s the truth). That doesn&#39;t mean that the person I&#39;m talking to has to help me, or has to get others to help me. It does mean that I know where I&#39;m really at and am not ashamed of it. In particular, it&#39;s important to be honest about money with those close to you. One of the things I want my family to be able to do is ask for help when they need it, even if an illness or tragedy brings that need. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I&#39;d love to write a more poetic tribute to this woman and her family, but this is where I&#39;m at today. To this woman and her family, whose privacy I want to respect, please know that she was loved, and that so many people care about you as you grieve this loss. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/death-and-money-helping-your-family-now-in-case-something-happens-later">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-saving-hacks-for-those-who-hate-cooking">8 Money-Saving Hacks for Those Who Hate Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips from a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-wisebread-helped-me-get-45mpg-out-of-my-28mpg-car">How Wisebread helped me get 45mpg out of my 28mpg car.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks death emergancy fund health insurance planning ahead savings plan Thu, 25 Oct 2007 21:15:56 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1322 at http://www.wisebread.com