Sunday, January 3, 2016

New year, new will

The last time we made a will was 2005. Our kids were all minors and our concerns were different.

So we sat down this weekend with Legal Zoom and drew up a new one. The hardest part of this will was actually saying in print that we are disinheriting a child - especially since he is the one with the greatest needs. We cannot leave anything specifically to DS or he will lose all benefits related to his disability. And because those benefits include caregivers, which are essential, we have to be vigilant that we not do anything to jeopardize them when we are gone.

For now, we have left everything to our other two children, with a special gift to each of them that is designated for the care of their brother. As well, we are leaving them our house, with the provision that DS be allowed to live there for the remainder of his lifetime.

I cannot imagine either of my other two children not making sure their brother is cared for, but we are hoping this makes it easier on them. Since DS was diagnosed, we have made an effort not to heap responsibility on them, but in the end it will be them who are left holding the bag if DS outlives us.

I think the best thing we will be able to do for them ultimately will be getting out of debt. We will have to live a few more years for that to happen, God willing.

We ended 2015 having paid off $16,178.06. Not our best year, but I am pleased given the medical costs we have incurred. In my five years of blogging, we have paid off $91,692.89. When we started, our debt was nearly twice our income - a gap so large most financial pros advise bankruptcy. We now owe less than we make and are chipping away at that every day. In case anyone believes it can't be done, we are doing it. It just takes patience and a whole lot of time.

Sarah

8 comments:

  1. I commend you for trying to ensure the care of your son. But I think you need to consult a trust attorney. This seems very iffy to me. Are you sure that a trust would jeopardize your son's disability benefits? Trusts specifically do not count as assets of the individual that is the beneficiary.

    By leaving your other two kids the financial responsibility for maintaining a home that they cannot rent out or sell, you are strapping them with paying for him to live in a house. Wouldn't a small apartment do if it becomes difficult on the siblings? If either or both of them fall on hard times, how will this work? Will they be legally obligated to go into debt to provide an expensive residence for their brother? Perhaps you have insurance that will pay for the house after you're gone and it shouldn't cost the siblings money they may not have.

    My mom is disabled and cared for by a trust. It's a different situation and doesn't involved benefits like home care. But since the money is in a trust, it does not belong to her and no one could sue her for the money. She cannot spend it - a guardian was appointed that ensures she has the care she needs, and a conservator issues payments from the trust.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your thoughts. We did consult on this. The house is moderate and not overly expensive to maintain. Insurance will pay for it. We have poured thousands into this home to make it accessible for DS. His equipment alone would make it impossible to simply move him into another apartment - or any kind of residence. This will actually make it easier on all of our kids. In reality, it's a scenario that probably won't be long-term. DS is already a few years past his life expectancy. We don't know what the future holds - just trusting God to take care of things!

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  2. Tough decisions - it seems to me you've thought it out very thoroughly. Your point about updating wills is very important. We can't just make a will and leave it at that. You have paid off so much debt I can hardly believe it. So proud of you!

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  3. You are my inspiration. I love the competition. I think you are amazing.

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  4. I have been following your blog for over a year now. You are a true inspiration and I look forward to further posts.

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  5. You are about to kill your sixth debt! You've got momentum on your side now. It seems to me the hardest part is well behind you. :)

    What you have already accomplished is really amazing, Sarah! Kudos to you and your family.

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    1. Hoping to do it next month! Thanks for the kind words. There's still a long way to go, but it's not nearly as scary as it once was!

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