Why You Should Prepare Now for the Death of a Spouse



By Geoff Williams

When Christine Baumgartner’s husband, Tony, died suddenly at age 64 in 2012, it was tragic but not a shock. It was, unfortunately, something the couple had been planning for.

In fact, Tony had been planning for his death since his teenage years, long before he met Christine, a dating and relationship coach in Orange County, California. Tony was born with a heart condition. When he was 16, his father died of a heart attack. Two years later, when Tony was 18, his doctor told him he would probably be dead by 26.

When Christine met Tony in 2005, he was 57. On their fourth date, he explained that he had been living with a chronic heart condition, and had, as he put it, “outlived his expiration date.”

Despite the uncertainties, Tony and Christine married in 2007, and while they both hoped to be together for decades, they recognized the importance of planning for the worst. When the worst came five years later, Christine was free to grieve without worrying that she might become financially destitute. Long before Tony passed, he ensured he had a will in place, a retirement account, stocks and a small life insurance policy. (He couldn’t get a big one with his medical history.)

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