When someone comes to us who has recently lost a spouse or loved one, they often tell us there are several things they wish their spouse or loved one had done. The first is, of course, to have updated their estate plan within the last couple of years. I think we all know this is important. However, the second major area of frustration is not knowing how to handle the deceased person’s bills or how to contact their friends. Below are a few tips to help your own family members avoid those frustrations.
- First, be sure to keep an updated list of passwords handy. This can be accomplished, while still keeping those passwords secure, by making a written list that is regularly updated and kept in your home safe of safe deposit box at the bank, or by keeping a password-protected file on your computer with a full list of those passwords. Also, make sure to include the answers to the security questions that are sometimes required in addition to the password itself. Make sure the person you are trusting with this information knows how to get to it in an emergency. This should include both passwords needed to pay bills and those needed to access your email and social media accounts.
- Along with the list of passwords, it can be really helpful to have a list of all of the monthly bills that need to be paid (mortgage, utilities, car payment(s), etc.), how to pay them and what day of the month they are due. We have had numerous cases where the spouse that handled all of this passed away and left the surviving spouse with no idea of exactly what needed to be paid and when, which can be very frustrating.
- Finally, for those of you running businesses, keep in mind you need to do the same thing for any of these types of tasks that only you handle within your business. Be sure either a family member or trusted employee knows how to handle these tasks in the event you suddenly pass away. This will help ensure that everything continues to run smoothly even in the case of an emergency.
These are just a few things to consider when planning for your family’s future. If you or a loved one have additional concerns or need to begin planning, feel free to call us to set an appointment so we can sit down and discuss your individual concerns.