Big warning – If you aren’t looking to get depressed then I would stop reading right now…
Really, just come back another day and read this when you are NOT in a good mood.
Well, you’ve been warned (or maybe you are just back and not in a good mood today). Either way, here we go…
Not a fun thought – but….do you ever think what would happen to those around you if you died today?
Where would they stand financially? Does your spouse have everything that he or she needs?
These are not easy topics to think about. However, they are critically important to answer if you don’t want to leave a “mess” as your legacy.
Today, we are going to go through 3 key topics you need to have a conversation with your spouse about. Don’t wait, do them today (or at least very, very soon).
Where Are The Important Documents Stored?
Let’s hope that you have a Will or a a Living Trust set up. If so, your spouse needs to know where these important documents are stored. They should remain in the same place. Pick a location: it could be a dresser drawer (that you store nothing else), a safe, or a certain place on the bookshelf. Wherever you store these documents you will want to leave them there and never touch them.
You should also have Power of Attorney documents for each husband and wife. That way, you could act on one another’s behalf in the event of a problem.
For me, I had an emergency surgery in 2014 that put me in the hospital for 3 weeks – not a good time for my family or I. My wife was able to use the Power of Attorney documents to sign papers on my behalf. She was also able to immediately provide the hospital with my advance directive.
If you don’t know what these documents are, or why they are important, please do yourself a favor and look them up. They are truly critical to your overall financial plan. We will also be doing future articles on these topics but in the meantime, please look them up so you can become familiar.
Where Do You Want To Be Buried?
I told you….these topics are no fun. However, I have personal experience in this area too and can tell you that it is very important to talk about BEFORE it happens. I lost my mom in 2013 very unexpectedly. When someone close to you passes suddenly, it seems like the world goes into overdrive. So many decisions to make….so many plans to put through…so many loose ends to tie up. All the while you are mourning a loss. Don’t let this be you.
Have a talk with you spouse about 2 things:
- Where do you want to be buried?
- Do you prefer cremation or casket?
Not exactly what I would consider a romantic dinner topic huh?
Again, these conversations aren’t meant to be easy, they are meant to protect the other person when the inevitable happens. We are all going to pass one day. The “when” of it all is completely out of our hands. We owe it to our significant others to take care of these things and make decisions before someone else is forced to make them for us.
What Are All The Financial Accounts and Passwords?
As we age we sometimes find that we have random bank, retirement, or brokerage accounts. Oftentimes our spouse has no idea where the accounts are located let alone access them. For this reason it is critical that you write all of this down, and place it with you Will or other important documents. Here is the list you need to make:
- Every bank account, the website and associated password
- Every brokerage account, the website, and associated password
- Every loan, who holds it, their contact information and a password if there is one
- Every insurance policy, the company website, and password
Suffice it to say that anything that you currently access that has money in it, write it down for your spouse. Because passwords change so often we recommend using a password manager like 1Password or LastPass and that your spouse have the main password to unlock all other passwords and websites.
Also, if you run an online business like a website, e-commerce store, etc., make sure your spouse has access to all those passwords and pertinent information. Since often the spouse isn’t involved in online businesses, we recommend having a trusted friend or business partner as a contact who can guide the spouse through the website should something happen to you. They likely won’t know how to run your online business so a business partner or friend can help facilitate a sale of the business if need be.
Have Everything In Order
This point really isn’t one you are going to have a conversation around. However, be sure that all of your beneficiaries are up to date, make sure you have adequate life insurance coverage based on your age, make sure your spouse knows where all the financial accounts are, and do your best to leave everything in pristine shape should something happen to you.
We never expect to pass, not really. I know 80 year-olds who think they have 30 more years. We often have less time than we think – be ready.
I’ll say it again, this is not a “feel good” subject – death never is. The purpose of you reading this (hopefully) is to get you to take action. Get your financial life in order, have everything organized, prepare not for yourself, but for those left behind. Having all of this in order should give you a sense of accomplishment and peace. After you are done – go have fun and enjoy LIFE!!
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