No one wants to think about their own demise, much less losing their spouse, but it is a fact of life. We don’t always have time on our side to put our affairs in order in advance.
Sudden death is an awkward topic, to be sure, but one that we should take the time to talk about with our spouse, partner and adult children. Don’t wait to have this important conversation; this is not a case where time is on your side.
When you decide to have this all-important chat about what your loved ones would do if you were to leave this earth suddenly, here are some points you need to cover:
- Have you prepaid for your funeral or left specific instructions for your final arrangements? If so, where is the paperwork, including any contracts and receipts for payments, located? Leaving instructions for your funeral with your will may not be the best idea, since this document may not be accessed immediately. You may want to consider discussing your wishes with your family in advance or storing them separately.
- Does your spouse/partner and/or adult children know where to find your will? Is it up to date? If the will is held in a safety deposit box in your name, consider holding the box jointly so that there is no delay in accessing this and other important papers.
- Where are your insurance policies kept? If you have an agent, does your spouse have his or her contact information?
- Do you have a basic list of assets that you own and where they are located? Review it annually and make changes as required.
- Write down the names and contact information for your lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor. You can place it in a password-protected file on your computer if you wish so that your loved ones will have the information in one place if they need to access it in a hurry.
- Your computer passwords are another important consideration. You may use them regularly, but your next of kin probably does not have access to this sensitive information. In the event of your sudden death, they would need to be able to access banking and other records to be able to pay bills and make decisions. A workable solution is to put your passwords into a separate computer file that is password protected and leave instructions that it should only be accessed in the event of your death or an emergency.
Issues around death and money can be difficult to discuss and many families find it beneficial to have an experienced financial advisor participate in the conversation. I’ve helped many families ensure they have a solid financial plan to prepare for a challenging time in life. Please contact me for a personal consultation.