A friend of mine lost her husband due to a brain aneurysm. In 20 minutes he was gone. She was about 38 and had NO idea what to do or where to look for anything. Thankfully some friends stepped in and helped her through the emotional and practical side of things. They asked her if there was a life insurance policy. They asked her if he had a retirement program.
They asked her so many questions and unfortunately she had NO idea. They were young. She had many more years to think about that, right?
As her friends were going through ALL the boxes of paperwork, in one of those unmarked files, they found an active life insurance policy. I think it was for $250,000. A quarter of a million dollars that she knew nothing about. (There is currently $1 billion in unclaimed life insurance!)
So, let me ask you?
Do you know:
Where the life insurance policy is? Do you know if there is a life insurance policy?
What bank accounts you both have? And where they are located?
What the passwords are for all of the accounts?
Who mows the grass? Who is the auto mechanic?
What his social security number is?
If there is a 401K? IRA? Retirement plan? Financial planner? Who to contact?
If he wanted to be cremated or buried? What type of memorial service or none?
There are so many things to do when your spouse passes away. The last thing you should be worrying about is money, passwords and who to call.
My husband and I have a binder. Inside that binder we have all of our information and copies of all the policies and documents. The digital files are emailed to our children. I update this every January with the most current information. These files are for the surviving spouse, as well as the children in case we should die at the same time.
This is what we have:
Bank statements for all of our accounts
Life Insurance policies
Auto Insurance and Homeowners policies
Social Security #’s
Financial planner name and contact information
Who to contact about 401K’s and IRA’s
Social Security Statements
Last Will & Testament PLUS Trust Documents
Lawyer name and contact Information
Location of all the inventory photos that I have of all of our belongings
Safe deposit box key (that was before the gun safe)
We have also included:
Funeral/cremation arrangements. Wants and wishes PLUS who to call.
Service arrangements. Location, scriptures to read and songs to sing.
Initial Instructions. These are for the kids. So that they know what to do and who to call. My password for my password app is in there. This way they can get ALL the passwords including the one for the gun safe, my computer and digital devices. (There is also a document that states what gets sold (like the house) so that no one feels obligated to try and keep it).
Contact information for selling the house, boats and cars. PLUS the contact information for an auctioneer who will sell the belongings that the kids do not want.
All of my business information. Who to contact to cancel.
A list of people to contact when I pass away.
We also have a ‘Dead List’. There are WAY too many stories out there of infighting after parents pass away. So, hopefully our Dead List will nip that in the bud. Our kids went through the house (independently) and wrote down what they would like when we are gone. I then reviewed the items and if there were duplicates (or triplicates) I determined who got what. Those lists got typed up and emailed to the respective child.
Well maybe. Maybe not. I personally feel that the emotional trauma of losing a spouse or a parent is enough to deal with without trying to figure out all of the other things as well.
What will you do when your husband passes away? Wouldn’t you like everything together?
There is no time like the present. Take the time and talk to your husband while you still can. Gather everything that you need.
And, it did not happen in 1 day. Yes, it took time. But now I don’t have to think about that part of my life anymore. We both know where it is and can rest assured we do not have to battle those hurdles when the time comes for God to take us home.
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