Topic: Preparing family financially for passing

There does not seem to be a lot of information accululated here on the issue of providing for your family after your passing.  It may be because we continue to hope and pray that our Dr's terminal sentance will be wrong and if we think about it we will be giving in.  I have heard more than one person tell me that.  But - on the contrary - I think it is wise.  And I think that if the patient is the person than handles the finances for the family that some clear direction and steps need to be taken before the cancer progresses too far.

I'd love to eventually be able to put together a "packet" of information for terminally ill patients to review to line up some of the things that will need to be taken care of in the event of their passing.  Some examples:

1.  Funeral prearrangements
2.  Estate planning/will documents (they need to be done anyways, why not be prepared)
3.  Life insurance information (if available) and how to claim it.
4.  Many, many more.

I know that my wife has always trusted me with all of these sorts of things so I am writing out instructions in all areas to help her and then we will briefly review it so that when it is time, she does not feel overwhelmed.

I am also curious how some others of you may be using alternate ways to try to fund for children's eductations (for young patients with families, etc) or who have not been able to get life insurance due health issues early in life, etc.

During the last 8 years with my wife, it has been my job to be the financial provider, investment coordinator, and handle several things that she either didn't want to do or thought I was better with.  As I work through a manual or notes for her on how to take over where I leave off I started thinking that so many people here on this website deal with the same or similar issues.  If we can start a discussion on some of these topics and as I finish up my planning notes, etc. I would be happy to put together a generic packet of financial and legal issues for future users to download.

What do you think?  Please offer as many comments as you can!  Especially for the younger patients who may have kids involved this is an important area to evaluate!


Ulcerative Colitis 1990, Stage 0 colon cancer and subsequent colectomy with J-pouch in 7/2005, PSC 7/2005, Klatsin CCA 8/2009

Re: Preparing family financially for passing

I applaud you for being sensitive and practical concerning these very important issues.  My husband, Gary, did much the same preparation for me, and it has been invaluable.  Gary established a "critical events" folder containing all the information you have mentioned.  Especially helpful to me after his passing was the numerical list of immediate things to do, as well as a budget listing what, where, how much and when each payment was due.  Setting up on line automatic bill paying is an easy way to insure there will be no interruption of payments.  There is so much to attend to after the death of a spouse, and every little disruption causes a ripple effect of chaos.

  I was surprised to discover that there can be a temporary timespan when expected income is delayed.  Social security payments are immediately withdrawn from your account (even when the payment for the month has already been deposited). This is refunded later on but can cause insufficient funds, bank fees, and a lack of funds when you least have the strength to deal with such things.  And there are things that will need to be paid immediately -for example, almost $1000 to have the gravesite opened and closed, payment to the church for services.  Funeral homes are mandated to contact SS immediatlely when notified of a death, and SS then informs VA, things begin to happen quickly.

The packet you are putting together for anyone to use will have a tremendous impact on the stability of the household and the security of its members.  Thank you for being so kind and generous... the traits that seem to bind CC patients together.

My prayers are with you, Elaine

Live each day to the fullest

Re: Preparing family financially for passing

I think this is such a sensible approach, Rick & a very caring one.  I hope it's a very long time before your wife needs to access your manual.

I see this as a great example of "plan for the worst - then put it aside & get on with the best".

My very best wishes to you.

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

4 (edited by marions Mon, 17 May 2010 16:07:26)

Re: Preparing family financially for passing

Rick....There is a book called: Prepare to Die, Expect to Live (Paperback)
by Erin T. Kramp.  It is informative and helpful to anyone at any stage of life. 
Best wishes,


Re: Preparing family financially for passing


This is another wonderful idea that you have.  You are really a very caring man and obviously love your family very much. 

I am also the one who takes care of the financial part of our life.  I have a five-year old boy although I am NOT one of the "younger" ones.  I'm sure that my husband would be able to take over, but I pay bills on line as well as pay things at certain times.  There are also passwords and things like that with the computer and on-line banking that needs to be discussed, or as you put it, put in a "just in case - in the event of..." folder.

I still work full-time and (believe it or not) am looking forward to retiring very shortly.  If it works out well, my son will be 7 when I retire!  We did things a little backwards with having a child so close to my retirement.  Anyway, I have life insurance through work, but don't know if that will carry on after I retire.  Something I need to look into shortly.  I have been trying to get some other kind of life ins. due to the fact that my husband will have to have some kind of day care or nanny to take care of our son when he's not in school, and since we rely on my income now, it would help if there was something else there for a few years.  Many of you know it's next to impossible to get life ins. when you already have cancer that is not in remission (at least 5 years I was told).  And then there's health ins.  We use my health ins too.  I'm still working on those issues.

So, having something (booklet, folder, etc.) to be able to pull out to refer to would be awesome.  My husband is also a recovering alcoholic and has relied on me for so long, this would be a big help.  He doesn't as much now, but the financial organization of our life (and just overall organization) still falls on me. 

I look forward to it, and if I can contribute anything, I would love to.

Linda Z.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Re: Preparing family financially for passing

My husband does NOT want to think about my demise, and I handle all our finances-- banking, bill-paying, investments, income taxes, and stuff for our business (we have a freelance writing business.)

So I try to lighten it up. I told him we have to practice for in case I'm ever kidnapped by space aliens. I made an "Alien Abduction Notebook" with a picture of 1950s flying saucers on the cover and started filling in sections for things like bank accts and where they are (3 different banks), insurance, what papers he needs to find in order for an accountant to do our income tax, etc.

Every once in a while we have an "alien abduction drill" and I'll run around saying something like, "Augghhh! I've been kidnapped  and held for ransom by space aliens! Help! You need to find the safe deposit box key so you can ransom me with my diamond necklace! Augghhh!" And that does get him checking that he can find the safe deposit box key, or whatever.

I'm not sure I would recommend that method to everybody, but for sure, a light touch helps.


Peace, hope, and healing to all!

Re: Preparing family financially for passing

Kristin, you have a great sense of humor.  Sounds like that could actually make it fun too.  My husband is like that also, in that he just keeps saying that nothing is going to happen.  He is like the ostrich with his head in the sand.  He doesn't actually want to hear what anyone says about this thing, and he hears just what he wants to.  He really keeps a positive attitude about it then, but it could really bite him big time when things go wrong.

Thanks for the levity.  We can all use it.  (Look out for those space aliens though.  We don't want them to get you!)

Linda Z.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Re: Preparing family financially for passing

I think this is a good idea, even though it is to late for me.  I am tryiing so hard, I've always paid the bills, but when the income drops 75% it is hard.  Then a month after he went to Heaven I was told that I have no insurance, and that I need to pay this 15,000 dollar bill.  My work had a fund raiser and raised 2,000 dollars, now what.  This amount is more that I make in a year.  I have e-mailed everyone that I could think of, nothing.  I e-mailed from the president, governor, Oprah, Ellen, Bill Gates, Jeff Gordon, just to name a few, I don't know if all e-mails like this just go to file 13, or just no one cares.  I'm already taking about 8 prescriptions, blood pressure, nerves, and depression.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.  I cry on a daily basis lots more than once a day.  I'm going to start therapy soon, through hospice.

Love to my Wayne for 36 years
I'm not a widow, I am a wife
We are only apart for heaven's sake
You are waiting for me at heaven's gate

Re: Preparing family financially for passing

Dear might want to consider writing to our Dr. Giles, also. He is here for us and his warm words of comfort have helped me through some of my rough spots.  I also believe that the therapy provided by Hospice will be of real value.   

I believe that many care about the plight you are in.  A majority of bankruptcies in this country are directly related to unplayable medical bills.  It is a travesty.  And it has to change.
I am wishing for your heart to day at a time.


Re: Preparing family financially for passing

Dear missingwayne:  Haven't been on the discussion board in a while, so sorry this reply is coming to you so late.  For insurance issues and hospital bills, contact the folks at Patient Advocate Foundation ( - they may be able to assit you in setting up payment plans, etc.  Have all relevant billing and insurance information ready.  Good luck!