Imagine this: something happens to you, and your investments or other financial accounts worth thousands of dollars sit untouched. They’re never used again, all because you never passed your financial accounts information on to anyone else.
Meanwhile, your family is applying for benefits, slogging through the probate process, guessing as best they can about which financial accounts you have (and what to do with each one), and trying to pay financial estate or income taxes.
When it comes to your financial accounts, it’s absolutely worth taking the time to gather all of your information in one place. Although it might seem tedious or even overwhelming, just think of the people you love and how much easier their work will be during such a trying time.
Today we’re walking you through how to organize your financial accounts, including each checklist you’ll need. Ready to begin?
It’s time for you to gather…
Your Estate Planning Documents
A revocable living trust is a common choice because it allows your loved ones to avoid court interference in both the event of your death and if you become incapacitated. If you have minor children, a judge can follow your wishes when appointing someone to raise your kids.
The truth is, there’s never a time that feels great to take care of a task like this, but consulting an experienced estate planning attorney sooner rather than later is a great idea.
If your health takes a turn for the worse, make it clear which medications you’re taking. For each medication, create a list that includes:
- Name of the medication
- Dosage and frequency
- Purpose of medication
- Doctors names, phone numbers and specialties
You can make it simple for your designated family member or friend to quickly get a sense of your finances by making a list that includes:
- Any sources of income and amounts
- Your recurring bills with due dates
- Your assets, including:
- Banking and investment financial accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Life insurance policies.
- Home, vehicles, and more
- Debts: For items like mortgages, lines of credit, and credit cards, make a list that includes
- Financial institutions
- Account numbers
- Phone numbers
- Contact information
Computer Files & Online Account Access
The name of the game here is to make it easy for someone you trust to find your most important files and records. Clean off your desktop and leave a clearly-marked folder with a list of:
- Online accounts
- Passwords and login information
- Payment dates and amounts for each bill you pay digitally
You’ll also want to protect yourself in the event your computer is stolen. Backup your files frequently on a secure hard drive.
Other Important Contacts & Documents
Some very important items don’t quite fall under an obvious category like debts or online bills, but don’t let this slip through the cracks when organizing your financial accounts.
Don’t Forget To Include Information About Your:
- Insurance Agent
- Friends and associates who should be contacted in the event of your illness, injury or death
- Miscellaneous key documents, which might include:
- Recent tax returns
- Birth certificates
- Marriage licenses and divorce papers
- Social security numbers
- Military discharge/separation papers
Finally, it’s time to choose your trusted friend or family member to be in charge of all of this information if something were to happen to you. It’s a big job, so be sure to give it a lot of thought. In the future, your loved ones will be thankful they weren’t caught off guard.