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Are you ready if your partner dies suddenly?

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By Lisa Samuels

As I grow wiser in my life and through my position in the financial services industry, I have had so many conversations with crew members, marine craftsmen and business owners who have lost someone, often unexpectedly.

I was at a marine event one Saturday morning when I received a text from a friend telling me that her husband had passed away in the early hours of the morning. He was 50 years old. He had worked as a project manager alongside my husband for years. We had plans to meet the following Friday for dinner. Gone, in the blink of an eye.

Another bizarre Saturday, I got a call from a dear friend who was a chief stew whom we had just had lunch with the week before. She and her husband, the captain, had retired when the boat sold and were planning big things for their retirement, working on a beautiful property away from South Florida.

The phone call was so surreal, but she somehow had the strength to tell us that her husband, our friend, had been killed in a freak accident at the new house. Gone, too soon.

Things can change in an instant. After Hurricane Irma last year, we all scrambled around, looking for home insurance, car insurance, and business insurance papers to make sure we were protected from damage.

We always follow procedures on vessels and in our businesses. But what about with our loved ones? Our spouses, lovers and children? Are we prepared if that dreaded “What If” impacted us?

The new year is the perfect time to take a minute to think about estate plans. An estate plan focuses on a person, his/her family and their future. If something should happen to the family breadwinner, an estate plan contains instructions for the family’s financial security, health care and plans for distributing assets. Most importantly, it protects the people you care about most.

But too often, a plan gets made, filed and forgotten. An estate plan is a set of living documents, and it needs to adjust and change as we grow older, our children grow up, our work life changes.

September is Life Insurance Awareness month. Call an insurance agent to begin the process. Make it a New Year’s resolution that come September, your family will be protected.

Lisa Samuels is a financial adviser and insurance agent with T. Spencer Samuels Insurance & Financial Services in South Florida. Comments are welcome below.

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