What If You Passed Away, Then What?

Shit just got real, yo!  Nah.  I’m about to travel for a while, so one quick post.  Sorry no revealing dividend money making stuff this go around.  Lets talk about death instead.

We work hard for the assets we accumulate, regardless of financial or just physical stuff.  What about  if you suddenly passed? What happens next?

There are a couple basic documents a person should have, regardless of being married or single.  You need to make it easy for your surviving spouse or loved one to know where the assets are located.  With a typical couple, one spouse is the bookkeeper.  They track the bills, investments, know where the money is at all times.  The other spouse, not interested in that stuff.  I see it all the time.  If you, the numbers person obviously because you’re on my site, were to pass.  Will your spouse, or loved one, know where to go to find the money and pay the bills?  If you can’t 100% say yes, better fix that, pronto.

I’ve seen old lady widows break down in tears, not knowing how to balance a check book.  Maybe 6 months after their spouse has passed, a CD is maturing and they are just receiving a statement from the bank, not knowing there was money there in the first place.  Was there life insurance somewhere?  Where are the investments located?  I’ve seen crazy shit, where people can’t track down accounts.

Basically what I’m getting at, every person needs an exit plan.

A few things you should think about doing:

  • Have the open conversation about death and money.  People don’t like to talk about either.
  • Set up a Will.  What happens to your dog, car, house, jewelry, all the other crap, when you pass.
  • Check your primary and contingent beneficiaries on life insurance, IRAs, 401(k) plans.  Basically anything that allows for a beneficiary, you want to make sure it has someone list and is up to date.  DON’T JUST ASSUME IT’S CORRECT AND UP TO DATE.
  • Make a checklist and make sure the spouse knows where it is.  I have and Excel document, of course I would, to reference.  It is basically an “In case I die, there is money here, call them” kind of thing.  It shows the different financial assets, credit, properties, liabilities, the companies where these accounts are located, phone number for the respective companies, account type, account number, and special notes (for maybe a user id, password, or anything else you might deem important enough to mention).


Feel free to use the above spreadsheet as a template.  I don’t have any liabilities, so you may need to add that category, for example your mortgage company and monthly payment.

The main reason for the above document is to simply make it easy for your better half to make the transition and make sure the money and bills are handled promptly.  You can throw a password on the document to protect it, but make sure the surviving spouse knows the password and about the document.

My normal practice it to update my parents computer with the above document and my net worth spreadsheet in case somethings happens to me.  They can contact the companies, get some paperwork completed to transfer accounts to the listed beneficiaries.  Makes life simple.

Have you gone through probate hell or maybe you were stuck trying to find an account.  Comment below.


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Readers Comments (5)

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