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Losing a spouse is a club no one wants to join

It seems unimaginable in your 30s or 40s. You may be so busy working long hours and raising young children, that the possibility of losing your spouse or partner never even crosses your mind.

A tragic reminder came at the beginning of this month. Sheryl Sandberg, the author of “Lean In” and an executive at Facebook lost her husband, David Goldberg, when he fell on a treadmill. The family was on vacation in Mexico and he was only 47.

Sandberg had drawn attention to the importance a spouse or partner plays in career success. Her husband made sacrifices to support her opportunities. Sandberg had the more successful career and became a role model for many women.

Have a plan

Being part of a team and having the support of a partner makes it easier to succeed. In the Denver metro, many young professional families earn similar salaries or the wife earns the larger salary. Often sacrifices and support from one partner allow the other to succeed. In the past, it used to be that women made the sacrifices, but that has started to change. What is your situation? Have you considered how your family would be affected if something happened to one of you?

When you have children, it is extremely important to sit down and have an estate planning conversation with an experienced attorney. Thinking about how your family would cope with a loss is critical. Proper life insurance could fill a gap in income, so that the remaining parent – especially the lower earner – would not struggle financially. An educational trust could ensure that children have the resources to further their schooling. Each family is different, so a plan needs to be tailored.

You cannot predict an early heart attack or a fatal accident, but you can be prepared. Obtain peace of mind that your family will continue to have needed support if anything unexpected occurs by creating a comprehensive estate plan.

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