For the second time in my life, I’ve had to sort out someone’s financial affairs after they passed away. If you’ve never had to do this, consider yourself lucky. It’s not an easy thing to do and it isn’t any fun. So, it got me to thinking, what if I was hit by the proverbial bus tomorrow? Since I handle the financial affairs for my household, someone would have to sort out all of my financial affairs. That someone would most likely be my wife. I do keep her informed about everything, with periodic updates on our savings and budgeted expenses. However, she probably didn’t know all of the log-in IDs or passwords to access all of our accounts. She probably didn’t even know the websites for half of the accounts. My follow-up thought to this was, what if something happened to the both of us at the same time? Then what? We have two small children; they certainly won’t be able to do it.
Do you know where your money is?
That’s when I decided I needed to put everything down on paper. I called it my “In Case of Emergency” document. I listed all of the websites I use to maintain our finances along with all of the log-in IDs and passwords. I also listed the account numbers and phone numbers for the companies I deal with. In the document, I also included the life insurance policies that I and my wife have, along with the coverage amounts. My hope is this document makes it easier to for someone to piece together my financial puzzle should the need arise. The main thought I had in sorting out the financial affairs of others, is that I was worried I was missing something. I’d keep waiting for a statement or a bill to show up in the mail that I hadn’t seen before. With me, there would be practically no mail to trace. Virtually all of my accounts and bills are done on-line. All my statements are received through e-mail, there is no paper trail. I like it this way as it reduces clutter and mess in my life. However, this would make it extremely difficult for someone to pick up the puzzle after me. After listing the more obvious things, such as life insurance policies and bank accounts, I listed some other not so obvious information. I listed the number for my company’s human resource department. Since the health benefits my wife and I have are through my employer, this number will be useful. The human resource department will also be able to assist in the claim for the group life insurance coverage my employer provides, as well as transferring my retirement plan.
Why not be prepared?
I printed a copy of it and put it in our fire safe. Right along with it, I put our life insurance policies, my long-term disability policy and our will. My hope is that I won’t need this for a good 40 or 50 years. However, both of the times I was sorting out someone else’s affairs, it was much sooner than you would expect. So, you never know.