Preparing Your Loved Ones for the Worst

In most households, one spouse takes care of the finances and the extent of their discussion about their personal finances with their spouse are limited to occasional “can we afford this” questions and answers. Many couples prefer to conduct finances this way in order to stave off potential arguments about their finances and because some spouses just do not care to be concerned with the ins and outs of their family’s finances. However, should the financial guru of the family pass unexpectedly, the other spouse can be left in financial chaos.

It’s a Tough Topic

Thinking of unexpectedly passing can be a hard thought to swallow, but you should not let fear stop you from preparing your spouse in the event of your death. Being on the financial side of the relationship, you need to make sure your spouse at least understands personal finance basics in the case of your unexpected demise and what your family’s financial standing entails.

This can be accomplished a variety of different ways, but there are two popular choices that can get the job done. The first would be to sit down and get your spouse involved in your family’s finances. Share every financial decision and all pertinent information in order to ensure they know everything that is going on. Should he or she not wish to do this, you can decide to write a letter with all the financial he or she would need in order to continue without you.

Gather All Financial Information in One Place

Whether you decide to talk things out or write a letter, you need to make sure your spouse understands and has all the knowledge he or she needs. This includes account numbers and any information he or she could possibly need in order to access all your family’s investments and assets.

Your spouse will need a list of all accounts, and who is assisting in your estate planning, insurance agents, mortgage officers, and any other important people that are a part of your family’s financial security; any safe deposit boxes and how to access them; and finally, a list of all expenses including mortgages, phone bills, car payments, etc. Your spouse will need to know every possible detail. Include anything you think they could possibly ever need to know.

Keep it Up to Date

After you have everything in order, you need to make sure you keep it all up to date. This is especially important if you choose to leave everything in a letter instead of telling your spouse about everything you decide to do. Finances change over time, accounts get opened and closed every day, agents get fired and new agents get hired, a list of old account numbers and contacts helps no one. In such a difficult time, you do not want to leave you family any worse than they already will be. The death of a spouse is hard enough. Don’t leave your family open to financial insecurity as well.