I’m not sure why—perhaps because I’m getting older or that in writing for this blog I’m more tuned in to the consequences of not being prepared to provide financial peace of mind for my family—but I’ve been thinking a bunch about all the complexity families potentially face after a loved one passes away. As if losing someone near and dear isn’t difficult enough, survivors face the added burden of trying to make heads or tails of the various bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, subscriptions, unresolved debt, insurance policies, and more that are left behind.
While I plan on being around for my family for a good long time, I realize the unexpected happens. We see it on the news all the time. The odds are against a tragedy or a grave illness happening to us, but sadly it’s possible. Those things don’t just happen to those who have lived a good, long life. They happen to young folks, too.
Given that reality, I believe it’s never too early to have your act together for those who depend on you. Do your beneficiaries know where you keep all of your important information? Do you even have all of that information organized—let alone accessible in one central place?
If no, consider putting your affairs in order. You’ll sleep better now, and (heaven forbid) if anything were to happen to you, you’ll save your survivors from some major headaches on top of their heartache.
What Information Will Your Family/Beneficiaries Need?
Here’s a list of some of the things you’ll want to organize.
- Your attorney’s contact info and your will/trust
- Term and/or permanent life insurance company contact information and policy documents
- Your financial advisor’s contact info
- Your accountant’s, bookkeeper’s, and tax preparer’s contact information
- Personal documents including birth certificates, social security information, marriage certificate, etc.
- Retirement account information (pensions, 401K, IRA, etc.)
- Mortgage and homeowners insurance information
- Income tax information
- Real estate tax information
- Contact information for club and association memberships
- Auto insurance policy information
- Bank accounts (savings, checking, CDs, etc.)
- Credit card information, including contact info and account numbers
- Investment accounts (stocks, bonds, etc.)
- Online accounts that you use to pay recurring fees or manage subscriptions (such as email, social media, access to banking and investment websites, shopping websites, online data storage, accounting software, wireless phone, credit card, productivity apps, etc.)
- And if you’re in business for yourself, client and vendor contact information.
Quite the list, isn’t it? And if it’s overwhelming to think about pulling all of that together, just imagine how much of an ordeal it would be for your loved ones.
I sure wouldn’t want my husband and daughter to have to ferret all of that out on their own. So, I’ve got some work to do. How about you?
Life Insurance—Just one Piece of Peace of Mind
In my posts, I usually share how getting term life insurance can help provide financial stability to those who depend on you. But peace of mind for the future of your family relies not only on life insurance; it also requires attention to other significant—and some seemingly not so significant—details.