Organizing important financial information now could help your loved ones sort out your finances after your death.
- If you are the primary manager for the household finances, your partner or family may be left in a difficult situation after your death.
- When one family member handles money matters, other family members may be unsure when bills are due and what the account logins are if they weren’t managing the accounts.
- Taking the time to organize essential financial information in one place could be beneficial.
This isn’t the most uplifting title for an article. But it’s an important topic to discuss. A few months ago, I realized that as the household member who primarily handles most of our financial affairs, I was also the only one who knew all the essential details. A thought occurred to me — what happens when I die? I quickly started creating an “in case I die” folder. Find out why you may want to do the same.
In many families, it’s not uncommon to divide up household and essential life tasks. Since my early adult years, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with financial matters. So when my husband and I got married, I took the lead in organizing much of our shared financial matters.
While this works well for us both, I recently had a thought. Would my spouse know how to log in to important accounts if I died? The answer is no. The last thing I’d want him to experience is additional stress trying to sort out and pay routine bills shortly after my death.
For this reason, I took the time to organize important details related to all of our financial matters. This way, the information is available if there comes a time when it’s needed.
What information I included in the folder
You may be wondering what I included in the folder.
For starters, I outlined all the company names for our bills and the account numbers for each account. I also wrote an estimate of what the bill usually costs and the due date for each bill. Finally, I included login details for each account since most of our bills are paperless.
I also made sure to include less frequent bills — like our quarterly water, sewage, and trash bills. That also meant I included annual bills like our AAA membership and other similar expenses. I wouldn’t want a bill to go unpaid because I forgot to include it.
I also made sure that our bank account details were included. Since we have multiple accounts, it could be easy for him to forget about one of them.
Many of these details I know off the top of my head, but my husband would have to do a lot of work finding out this information if I didn’t include it in the folder. I’m sure the last thing he’d want to do while grieving is spend hours on the phone sorting out billing matters.
Should you create an ‘in case of death’ folder?
You may want to begin working on a similar folder if you’re the family member handling essential financial matters.
If you’re not the household financial manager, then ask your partner to begin working on a folder. If you live alone or with roommates, it wouldn’t hurt to take the time to outline this information and give it to a loved one.
Don’t forget to include regular bills like credit card bills and household utilities and less frequent bills like memberships and other yearly fees.
While it will take time to create a folder like this, you could save your loved ones time and eliminate stress after your death by gathering this information and keeping it in one place.
Keep your folder in a safe place
Make sure you store your folder in a safe place. If you have a fireproof safe in your home, you might store it there. If you want to keep the folder outside your home, you could give it to a trusted loved one to store safely at their property. You could also get a bank safety deposit box for important documents like these.
It felt strange creating my “in case I die” folder. Still, I feel much more comfortable knowing that my husband will have all of the vital information he needs to continue managing household finances if I can no longer do it for us.
Check out our personal finance resources if you’re looking for additional tips on handling essential money matters.
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