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Saturday, February 28, 2009

What Happens To The Family?

When my father passed away at the relative young age of 58 years old, I was finally struck by our mortality. You see, my father seemed so strong and healthy. I can't recall him being sick for more than a few days at a time. My paternal grandparents were both past 80 years old at that time, and generally well.

After Dad died, I was struck also by a lot of things: the expenses for the wake, the funeral, and even the lot where we finally interred him. And before then, there were the expenses for his treatment. And of course, he was forced to retire early. No, he did not have any life insurance.

My father was wise enough to transfer his properties to my brothers' name before he passed on, so we didn't really have to worry about inheritance taxes. But what if the death came suddenly, and the inheritance is the form of solid assets that cannot be liquidated immediately? The burden of heirs is that they are obliged to pay a large inheritance tax. Some people even go into debt.

The older Chinese do not get life insurance or believe in it, but now I believe it's a necessity since we will all meet our maker someday. After my father died, I got a no medical life insurance since I was relatively young and healthy, even if I was still single then. I figured that if I unfortunately leave my loved ones, they are at least provided with the means to give me a good sendoff without too much financial burden on them. Now that I'm a mother myself, I have realized even more the wisdom of my decision. I now have dependents. I shudder to think what will happen to them if anything untoward happens to me.

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