If you’re like most people, you haven’t remained in one location at one job doing business with one bank for the last thirty years. It’s more likely that you’ve moved a few times, changed jobs, shifted money around and changed insurance companies. With each life change, managing your finances has the potential to become more challenging – especially if something happened that prevented you from managing your personal finances.
Two important questions you need to ask yourself:
- Who will take care of my money matters if something happened to me?
- Would my partner or family members know who to contact if I died or were incapacitated?
When many of us think about end of life planning, we get bogged down with thinking about setting up a will or trust. Those are important steps for sure. But even more basic is gathering up account details for all of the companies you do business with on a regular basis and making sure someone else knows where that information is kept.
Let’s say you have a life insurance policy that you’ve faithfully paid into since you became an adult with the plan that it would pay for your funeral and other final expenses. If you die and you’re the only one who knew about the policy, it does nobody else any good.
Take a couple hours to make an index of all companies you do business with in one place that can be accessed by someone who may need to handle your financial affairs if something prevents you from doing so.
The obvious companies that probably come to mind for you are your bank(s), your insurance company, and maybe your investment company. But equally important are your utility companies and other service providers. Don’t leave it up to your loved ones to figure it out.
Include these companies when creating your contact list:
- Banks and credit unions
- Insurance companies
- Investment companies
- Utility providers
- Alarm monitoring company
- Home care and lawn services
By taking this proactive step you can help save a lot of time and grief for your loved ones. If your name, address, beneficiaries or other personal info is outdated with any of those companies, update it ASAP.
If your name, address, beneficiaries or other personal info is outdated with any of those companies, update it ASAP.
At a bare minimum, keep a copy of a statement or invoice from each company in a bright colored folder and place it in one of the most obvious places a loved one would look if something happened to you. Better yet, jot down company names along with any personal contact who knows you personally. Include your account numbers and best phone number to reach the company if the need arises. Depending on how close you are to the person you’re sharing the info with, it may make sense to send it to them in an email or shared drive such as Google docs.
Don’t leave a financial mess for someone else to clean up. Take time to catalog all companies you do business with and put the info in a safe place where the person(s) who would be in charge can access it if you die or are incapacitated.