Would your family have access to all your financial information if the unfortunate were to occur? Does your family know where to find all your secure financial information? Can your children retrieve everything they need to obtain all information regarding income, accounts, insurance?
Recently an individual asked what would happen if they were to pass. We know life is not guaranteed from one day to the next. You can leave this world in a second. When leaving home, we never know when, if or in what condition we may return.
If you were to die today, would your children, spouse, family members or friends be able to obtain the information they need to pay off everything? Would they be able to access all your financial information? Do you want the government to claim your hard-earned money leaving your heirs or beneficiaries with nothing?
It’s quite complicated and takes time to petition the court to gain the rights to an individual’s estate if you leave no information readily available for your heirs. Even children can find opposition obtaining your personal information if there are no instructions documented.
Sometimes if no Will has been left, your hard-earned money and life savings can be claimed by the government. Your children, who you worked all your life for, will be left with nothing. Is this what you want?
Today! Right now! Before doing anything else, take time to jot down all accounts you receive income from, all accounts you have in any financial institution, all accounts you may have resources in. Record, in a secure spot, all information regarding savings accounts. All insurance information should be printed or jotted down. If your accounts are only accessible through the Internet, provide the website address, user names and passwords required to gain access to every account.
Even better, print a copy of the web page. On the printout, indicate username, passwords, security questions with answers and any information needed to access the account in the event of your death or even if you become disabled. When you have jotted down all the information, take a minute and review all information to assure accuracy.
Place this information in written format in a lock box or safety deposit box. Make sure the one person you trust the most or your children have access to this safety deposit or lock box.
Each month, take a few minutes and check this information. If updates or revisions are necessary, make sure updated information is added immediately. Attach the most recent updates with any information you feel is necessary to the original printout.
It is a good idea to attach a letter to the file entitled “In The Event of My Death”. The idea of discussing your death is not a pleasant one. Your family may resist this discussion. However, it is vital that each member, the person you have determined or an alternate individual knows the where, what and when information when necessary. It is important that you spearhead the conversation if only to express where they can find information if something were to occur.
It is important that everyone have a Will. If you do not have an attorney or the financial means to have a legal Will drawn up, there are hundreds of sites on line where a free Will can be drawn up and printed. Secure online storage of legal documents is also available if you feel the need.
If you draft an Internet Will, make sure you take the time to run by your bank and have your signature notarized. You never know who might contest the terms, conditions or validity of your Will. Relatives you never knew were alive may begin coming out of the woodwork at the time of your demise. When it comes time to distribution of assets amongst heirs, the death of an individual sometimes brings out the worst in people.
When death occurs, your heirs will be grieving their loss. Do not compound their grief with worries about your finances and how money or any other valuables should be allocated. Make sure you have taken time and care to assure your family has one less burden to endure.