The 7 Day Challenge: DAY 4 (SUNDAY)

Welcome to the 7 Day Challenge. For 7 days, we are testing our Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Plans. Each day will bring a NEW mock emergency, or situation that will test at least one of the reasons “WHY” we strive to be prepared! REMEMBER: No going to a store, or spending any money for the entire 7 days! And please feel free to adapt the scenarios to fit your own family and situation.

Today’s challenge is for you to consider what would happen should you and/or your spouse pass away. This is something we don’t like talking about (or preparing for), however it’s VERY important. There’s no way to put this lightly – but do you have your affairs in order should something happen to you? We are always trying to prepare for natural disaster situations, and sometimes people don’t survive these scenarios. What would happen if you didn’t make it but the rest of your family did?
Today’s Goal: Get your legal/financial affairs in order in case you die


Today’s Tasks:

  • Prepare a draft for a will if you don’t have one already
  • Make a list of all your assets for those you leave behind
  • If you have children, develop a plan for who will take care of them if you and your spouse passed away
  • Make lists of all the other things you would need/want surviving family to know
  • BONUS: If one spouse normally handles the bills/finances in the family, have the OTHER spouse fill out this little questionnaire to find out what he/she knows about your family’s financials and how to access important family account information

Today’s Limitations:

  • For this day, and ALL days of the challenge: no spending money, no going to stores, and no restaurants.
  • Since this is a planning day, there are no other limitations

Advanced Tasks:

  • Please note: These advanced tasks may take days or weeks of planning and consulting with your professional accountants and insurance agents.
  • Put together your emergency binder if you don’t already have one (this is a great starting point).
  • Create an actual PLAN ON PAPER for whomever you choose to be your children’s guardian (include specific care instructions, information to access life insurance policies, instructions where to find important documents for the kids, etc.)
  • Whoever does the bills in the family, put together a master list of online account information, auto-pays that come out of your account, amounts in each account, investments and insurance policies and how to access them, etc. Anything your spouse would NEED to know if you weren’t around.
  • Research life insurance options if you don’t have any yet.
REMEMBER, TOMORROW’S CHALLENGE WILL BE DIFFERENT.


Make sure your fill out today’s Report Card to see how well you did, to keep track of areas you can improve, to remember things you need to do, and things you need to buy. Use the data to make a game plan to take you to the next level of preparedness, whatever that may be.


  • Kim

    I’m going through the 7 day challenges for ideas and came to this one. This summer, a elderly friend died. After watching what decision the family had to make, I decided to make a funeral plan as part of my emergency planner. Deciding on funeral homes, music, stationary, and more made me aware of how much our survivors must do after our death.

  • I was just talking to my son last week about this.
    We have given him a copy of all our records ….will etc.
    This is something no one needs to put off!
    Thanks for reminding us.

    • OutdoorsMom

      Thank you for posting!

      My parents have also ensured that we are aware of where everything is (both my brother and myself have keys to their place, we know the location of their safety deposit key for all their documents, we have the contact info for their bank and investment guy, and we have all their insurance info). 

      Don’t know if this is available everywhere, but my parents also have an insurance plan where they are insured for if/when they need to move into a care facility as well.

  • Misti

    Actually I found a UK site at first,  for the USA Rights of survivorship would make the account mine but I may have to pay inheritance tax.

    • Misti

      oops not sure why it did that, … 

      We will talk about the few things that would be in question

      • OutdoorsMom

        I’m so glad to hear that you will talk about these things.  It may seem morbid, but things happen in an instant and you need to have information and  a plan in place before it does 🙂

        My BIL injured his hand at work a year ago and their life got totally turned upside down because he can no longer work in his field. 

  • Dianne

    This one has been a hard one… 

    After talking through lots of stuff, we have most of this done.  I will not post much about what we figured out, but it has been dealt with (mostly).  I do appreciate your pushing this, as it is something that needs to be addressed by everyone. 
    Thank you!

  • Heyyou63plus2

    This is the easy one for me.   We have had all these arrangments made for over 15 years now.  Funeral expenses are paid , insurance is in order , will is taken care of and all important information has been taken up with our grown kids.  Guess what ?  I can sleep when the wind blows !  LOL !

  • April

    we got started but are in no way fnished!

  • Misti

    Im not sure how much this really applies to us, we are 28 & 29 years old, no kids, no debt, nothing of real value, no medical problems… Maybe in a few years.

    • J-newbie

      I clicked ‘like’ instead of reply, so hope you’ll understand that I didn’t mean to ‘like’ (or unlike) your comment … just wanted to mention the following:

      This turned out to be timely:
      In last Friday’s (Sept 16th) radio program, Dave Ramsey said that anyone over the age of 18 should have a will!

      He also suggested going to this web’dress: http:// http://www.uslegalforms.com/dave
      to obtain a state-specific will (for $15) or a package that includes will, living will, and power of attorney (for $29).

      Might be worth considering ’cause none of know what the future holds. Just sayin’  🙂

      Cheers
      J

    • OutdoorsMom

      This challenge applies to everyone.  Absolutely everyone, no matter age, family status, health, or fiscal worth.

      What if one of you got hit and killed by a bus tomorrow?  What happens to that person’s bank accounts?  If you don’t have a plan, it can all be taken.

      What if one of you gets injured such that that person couldn’t work for an extended period of time, or permanently?  How will you make ends meet?  The issue can be as simple as:  do you know who to contact at that person’s work to let them know?

      What if one of you is in an accident that puts that person on life support?  Who is allowed to make decisions regarding that person’s medical care?

      At the very least, you need to have a frank and serious discussion about these topics.

      • Misti

        We have a shared bank account, I know everyone at his work because I worked there too until they did lay offs to downsize. And it would be his mom’s choice on his medical care until we are married.

        If something happens before our parents are gone then it would be our parents choices, if we get married then we will do some paperwork.

        The most I could do would be something for my pets but everyone knows that if family/ friends doesn’t want them they go to a no kill shelter.

        • OutdoorsMom

          All I can say is that if it isn’t in writing, you aren’t in control of any of those decisions.  None of them.  Your parents would tell you the same thing.

          If you aren’t married, your joint bank account can be frozen in any of the situations I described above and the other one will have no access to any money.

          And if you live together, whose name in your rental agreement or lease (or mortgage if you own) in?  What about your car/s?

          It’s far better to have the discussion, learn whether or not the two of you are on the same page, and find out some facts about your rights than it is to just believe that everything will be fine.  Something can happen without notice and then where will you be?

          The whole point of these challenges is to ensure that we are ready for things that happen without warning.  Please talk about these things and educate yourselves.  You two are almost 30 and you need to take full responsibility, your parents can’t take care of you forever.

          • Misti

             “your parents can’t take care of you forever.” – We are not married, it would not be my decision, it would be his mother, and same for me it would be my mother.  It might be different if we had an agreement that marrage would be taking place for sure in the future..

            We have no debt at all, no mortgage, no car payments, we are both listed on the lease and the owner of the house is my parents.

            I don’t know of anyone that could freeze the account since no one is on the account but the two of us and we owe no money to anyone.  Do you have something in mind?
            I appreciate and understand what you are saying but this would be the only issue if there was some other reason the account could be frozen.

          • Thedollarholleringhomemaker

            Misti, if your boyfriend dies without a trust his assets may be frozen while his estate is in probate  which would mean that your joint account could be frozen.  Also, a health care POA is important because you can list your wishes if something were to happen. You may think your parent’s know your wishes but when the time comes and in the stress of the situation they might not follow them!
            Oh I’m 26 and I have my doc’s in order and I’ve had them in order since college.

          • Misti

            Thank you, I looked into it and found that common law doesn’t apply if he has surviving family, though after funeral costs I dont think there would be much left anyways lol

          • Misti

            Actually I found a UK site at first, for the USA Rights of survivorship would make the account mine but I may have to pay inheritance tax.

          • Katie

            Misti – if you are a joint owner on the bank account it will not be “frozen”.  In the event that someone passes away and they are a joint owner on the bank account the money belongs to that joint owner.

          • Mary

            Katie do you have any legal background? I’m not trying to be snarky but the info you have is incorrect.

  • Brchbell

    I got a $9.95 program from: http://preparedineveryway.com/?page_id=110  
    It was easy to follow and helped us get everything we needed for our kids to have if anything ever happened to us.  We made a copy and gave it to our oldest son also.  You can put as much or as little as you want into it.  We trust each of our kids completely so included everything down to pass words, ect.  we keep our copy with our 72 hr kits in case we ever have to run then we have all we could ever need!  Joyce did a great job putting this together and it’s worth every cent we paid for it.

  • Sandra

    Our papers are in order although not yet in a trust; that’s the next step.I scanned all our documents, credit cards, ID’s, favorite photos etc as jpg/pdf and encrypted them, then saved them to several flash drives… we each have one in our emergency backpack. I just didn’t like the idea of having paper copies (other than the contents of wallet) so vulnerable to theft and a lockbox is just one more thing to carry.

  • Stephanie

    Love this challenge my family and I have a a binder containing : photos,medical history,finacial info.,insurance info,who to contact,what billsand credit card(s),funeral info etc.

  • vmassie

    Great challenge. Over the last few years we have done and updated things a number of times. This is a second marriage for both of us. Between us we have 8 kids – 13  grandkids – I have severe fibromylgia and so because of the kids all being gone. Insurance money goes to me and to one of husbands grown children who lives on his own but is emotionally disabled. If he goes before I do then the house stays with me. If we both pass together then the house money is split up. We have done like one of the other people said everything is in set up in a trust (all the bank accounts, etc is in the trust name) avoids probate. Husband is an attorney so makes it easier to do these things. One other thing we have done that no one has mentioned my sound morbid but we have also gotten together pictures of each of us growing up and with kids, etc. to use for a video show with music for the funeral. We have also both picked out worship music that we want played at the funeral so that is not left for the remaining spouse or children to do. We both have cemetary plots paid..

  • Laura

    Ok this one me and my husband started talking about a few weeks ago due  to a ward family memember passig on. But we don’t have all the details in place and I usually take care of bills but have always made sure my husband is well aware of our finances because my grandmother passed away when my mom was 9 and she has always reminded me than her dad knew nothing about the finances So as well as grieving he had to figure out all the money issuies.

    Cant wait to start on this one when my kiddos are down for naps

  • Beachy1mom

    Easy one.  Husband was in Air Force for 20 years and we took care of these a long time ago.  We updated and changed things every New Years Day as long as kids lived at home.  Kids are all gone, but each has an updated copy of wills (both living trust wills & death wills). , to include who gets what.  The rest will be sold & $$ split.  We already have plots in cemetery and arraignments made & all info is in lock box with 72 hour kits as well as copy in gun safe & with each of our kids.  All that’s left to do, is to die!

  • OutdoorsMom

    And excellent challenge, and fortunately one that is pretty much done for us.  🙂

    One thing that people don’t think about is their online life and what happens to all those email, facebook, and other online accounts when they pass away.  A dear friend of mine passed away a couple of years ago from cancer, and his facebook account is still active.  At first it was so that his sister could contact people regarding his passing and the funeral arrangements, but it’s become a morbid place where people occasionally leave comments to him on his birthday etc.  It freaks me out whenever his face shows up in my list of friends at the side of my facebook page.

    Please ensure that someone knows the details of your online life and can close your accounts when you pass away.  Think about all your favourite websites:  for example Food Storage Made Easy sends you emails etc.  Then there are digital scrapbook sites, all kinds of forums on every topic imaginable, family history sites, social network sites, recipe-a-day sites, you name it. 

    Today/tomorrow/for the rest of the week: as you do your daily online routine, record where you go and list all the websites to which you belong along with your usernames and passwords.  List all the sites that send you email and note if they have an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email (all group emailings should have this).  Keep your list up to date and keep it with your important papers so that in the case of your death, your online life can end as well.

    People really don’t think about this one, but their lives touch so many more than in past generations through the internet.

  • Rjhaacke

    Yes! We have it done. 6 years ago we had a trust set up with our financial planner and a lawyer. In our trust there is a will, power of attorney, living will, funeral arrangements, it also states who will get are kids if we both die.  Everything is figured out legally by the lawyer and notarized. Life insurance was bought at the same time. Everything is in the name of the trust -house, cars, back accounts, retirement, etc. I highly recommend everyone do this. There was such peace of mind when we walked out of that office.
    We then went home and created a emegency lockbox where our trust binder was put, all important documents and a binder that lays out exactly what we have with account numbers and passwords. We each have a key and the trustee we assigned has a key and knows where to access this lockbox in the house. (Just grab the lock box and go if we need to evacuate)
    I do the budget each, but once a month we set down together and go through it so we know where we are at. We follow Dame Ramsey Financial Freedom plan. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to get out of debt and on a better path.

  • Rhonnie

    A lot of this we talk about and revise anyway, due to changing circumstances (mainly health, or re-location).  But it’s good to have the reminder.  Thank you.
    One thing we’ve brought up in our discussions – what to do if things change before we get the chance to talk, and I end up with grandson while everyone else is gone.  There was the worry of where I’d be with him during a real disaster.  We’ve already discussed leaving a ‘calling card’ – something with a name or symbol of each of us at the first planned meeting place, with information of the place they went to if they’re not there – and now they (parents) know where I’d go first so that they could find their child.  Which would be a Red Cross shelter now.  They know that I’d at least be there for the first 72 hours (except under certain situations), or that I’m registered somewhere there so that they can track me down.  Especially since I’m one of the ‘hub’ or contact people for these situations.  After that, we’ve got the rest of the situation down in case anything happens to my daughter and son-in-law.  All but the paperwork – it’s still a difficult thing for them to discuss.  Disasters are ok, they get through them pretty well.  But not something so final.  

  • Julie

    I am also a military wife and yea I have this one done. I do need a binder though but that is on this weeks to do list.

  • Paul

    The life insurance part has been done for a long time. We each are the others Beneficiaries in case something bad happens. Our kids are grown and gone so that is of no concern either. I do the finances but will go over everything with the wife again just to make sure she hasn’t forgotten anything. We never really felt the need for a will. I guess if we both died for some reason there is the question about what to do with our stuff. Maybe from that aspect we should have a basic one. Hmmm, will talk to the wife about it.

  • Shaunda Burns

    Phew, finally an easier one.  I just read the tasks and limitations and can say, “I am done with this one!”.  As a military wife, I always have to have our affairs in order.  Although we do finances together when my husband is home, I do it all when he is gone.  Our wills are done, we have a plan for our children, we have life insurance, and everything is filed in our emergency binder as well as appropriate copies sent to family members.  I even looked at the financial questionnaire and can say I know all the answers to that. I will have my husband look at it later today to make sure he knows everything, but I am pretty sure he does.   Yippee!!.  Thanks for the challenge.

    Shaunda Burns

  • Gwen

    Hmmm….the report card link says that that page is not found…??

  • Stephanie

    finally I”m ahead of the game.my family and I have already discussed this face to face and have created a binder that has a photo of each family member,their medical,lhistory,copies of living wills,wills,financial documents,insurance documents,who takes the person(s)pets or children,a list of names and phone #’s of people each wanted contacted,credited card companies and utility companies. what type of funeral arrangements etc.