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Financial Documents. Planning for the unexpected. ‘What if’ scenarios. Words and phrases that can often strike fear and anxiety in most of us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. As with any subject, the more you can learn, the more you can release your fear around that topic and begin to plan and use the information to your benefit.

A Life Event is an occurrence that has a significant financial and emotional impact on your life. This could be an anticipated event such as retirement, funding a child’s education or wedding, buying a new house, etc. But it can also be an unexpected event such as the death of a spouse, divorce, disability, job loss, and the like. Many of us don’t want to think about some of these topics, and therefore, don’t want to discuss them. However, understanding what documents and information should be in place in case of an unexpected Life Event makes the occasion less stressful, both during and after the event.

I used to be someone who did not want to face reality that something might go wrong, and would refuse to have the necessary conversations with my husband, Sam, about our future if anything happened to him. So when he died unexpectedly at the age of 49, not only was I not prepared financially, but I had lost the opportunity for his guidance on what I should do moving forward, especially with our accounting business. Although we had most of our documents in place, they weren’t adequate for what I needed after his death. So, in addition to the gut-wrenching agony of losing Sam, I was also dealing with the very stressful and anxiety-ridden topic of how in the world I was going to move forward, both financially and without his guidance.

From that experience, I’ve learned that there are ways to be better prepared for a Life Event, which is reflected in my  book, “I Didn’t See That Coming!” The book gives a more in-depth look at my story after Sam’s death, and leads you through a four-step Life Event Advanced Planning Process that helps you organize, review and store your important legal, insurance and financial documents so that you leave a priceless gift for your loved ones if the unexpected happens.