Securing one´s child´s future
What happens to the child if we disappear - who will take care of her? What happens to the child if one parent is disabled and your income drops significantly - can you keep your home? What if the baby has an accident and becomes paralysed? The chances of any of this happening are fortunately very small. But if an accident does happen, the consequences are serious and it is important to have thought about these things. We have looked into the need or not for child insurance as well as life and disability insurance for ourselves, and the need or not for a will, and we thought we would share what we have found. Don´t hesitate to send me your own comments and experiences!
Do you need a will?
It is the local court (Tingretten) that will decide who gets custody of the children should both parents die. Those who want to claim the parental responsibility must therefore notify the court. If only one person or family does so, they should get custody unless the court suspects that the child would not get "proper care and education" with them. Other family members can be heard, as well as the child itself if he/she is more than 7 years old. If several people claim the parental responsibility, the court chooses between them. If no one claims it, the case is transferred to the Child Welfare Services. Read more in the Children Act Section 63.
It's probably important to have thought through who you would want to be your child´s legal guardian should you pass away, and talk to the families on both sides about the decision. If you don´t, you will risk that more than one person/family claims custody and there may be a discord between the families. Also, those who aren´t chosen might feel hurt if they discover it after the fact. It is furthermore important to ensure that the family who does get custody makes sure that the child keeps in touch with the family of the other deceased parent. This is especially important if they live elsewhere, perhaps even in another country.
It may be helpful to have a written statement, in connection with a will, that clarifies who you want to take over parental responsibility and the obligations that comes with it (eg. visit to the other's family, etc). In Oslo one can keep the will and this Statement at the Oslo City Recorder. If the parents of a child die, the Court will first of all check here to see if the deceased had a will, and so far as possible, respect the wishes stated in the will. By having such a will and declaration, you will be able to save a lot of time for the court when deciding on custody.
Read more here.
If the child is under age, the Norwegian Overformynderiet (Public Trustee´s Office) manages his/her money if it exceeds 75 000 NOK. Your child will have a guardian (whoever is left with parental responsibility) who will represent the child vis-à-vis the Overformynderiet.
Life and Disability Insurance
If you have children, you should consider buying disability and life insurance so that an accident or illness, or even worse - death, does not lead to a large loss of income to the extent where you´re struggling to make ends meet. The worst thing for a child may be that you can no longer afford to keep your home and the family must move and change nursery or school.
The most important insurance is the disability insurance. If an accident occurs and you become disabled (unable to work, whatever the reason is), you will according to Dine Penger only receive between 50 and 60/70% of your wage in disability benefits. It goes without saying that this can make it difficult to maintain your standard of living and your house. At the same time the Norwegian State gives you a supplement for each child you have and you will pay less in taxes. I therefore recommend that you contact NAV and ask them directly how much you would receive should you become partly or totally unable to work. Disability insurance is expensive, and it may be worth looking into your finances and find out if your family would be fine without such an insurance. Some considerations:
Life insurance, which is an amount of money your partner gets if you were to pass away, is something to consider if you have kids and a great deal of debt that would be difficult for your partner to pay down alone. A life insurance costs around NOK 100 / month for a payment of NOK 1 million. NOTE: Many people have life insurance through their employer or union.
When you consider buying a life insurance, you should ask yourself these questions:
Read more about what insurances you should have here (in Norwegian).
Most of us are skeptical of insurance companies. They seem cynical and play on our emotions and fears. We also trust that the Norwegian welfare state will be there for us should anything happen. So do we really need a child insurance? We looked into it and here is what we found out.
Finance Norway gives a very good overview of child insurance vs. the public. See the main page and the links to the left. (In Norwegian)
What you should consider before buying insurance
(From the pages of the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Welfare):
Which insurance company should you choose?
Norwegian Family Finances have tested the insurance companies and the winners are Storebrand, Gjensidige, If and Frende.
In the magazine Foreldre og Barn´s test the winner is Frende.
In the magazine Dine Penger's test from January 2013, the Storebrand child insurance is labelled the best.
Checkpoints when choosing an insurance