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When you die, don't make it harder on others

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  • When you die, don't make it harder on others

    a bit gruesome but something few people prepare for. When you die there will be a very high probability that your spouse or family members will be left with a great deal of confusion, adding to their great sense of loss. They say it takes at least 2-3 years after a person's death, for the surviving spouse to get finances back in line, organize the bills and money, and try to understand what it took two people to do.

    A "will" is a good place to start, but if you are the "bean counter" in the family, then you are the one that knows where all the bills are, how they are paid, passwords and logins to various accounts, payment schedules.....on and on and on. Save your family some grief by preparing for that right now. Keep a ledger of the accounts, how they are paid, where they are paid (on-line, versus mail, versus local). If you are the bean counter, trying to explain this to a non-bean counter doesn't work well so have a fall back plan. Perhaps a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a close friend.....someone that is known by both sides. Spend some time with this person, explaining where you keep the ledger/documents, the different accounts, logins, passwords. Lay the groundwork now, to minimize the impact later.

    In a nation or world wide disaster all bets are off, but if you fall over dead tomorrow, try and make it as easy as possible for those trying to make it work....without you.
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

  • #2
    I keep a file that has a few letters to be opened upon my death. The bills are updated every few months. People to contact is a different list, All our titles, passports, etc. are maintained in a separate safe and file.

    People you need to notify include: Mostly to modify payments:

    Social Security
    Bank(s)
    Mortgage Company
    Government retirement accounts (Military, Railroad, Post office)

    List of family/friends to notify

    List of assets including stocks, bonds, bank accounts, and physical assets.

    List of debts as current as possible with Point of Contacts.

    Now to put you into the ground. Most will use a mortician who will do most of the preps and paperwork. Includes certificate of death. You would be surprised as to how many copies you will go through.

    If you are going to be cremated make sure it is in you living will maintained by your doctor. Otherwise; you should have some idea where you want to be buried, (Buy the plots early). We did over 10 years ago.

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    • #3
      RichFL, I keep similar info in paper copies and on a thumb drive; both are kept in the BOB. I did some research before finally opting to keep info of that type on my phone. I use a secure app that encrypts the data on my phone. A back up is kept on my laptop but nothing goes over the net or into the cloud. My son-in-law knows how to unlock my phone and decrypt the info in case something happens to me. The app allows you to set security parameters to limit the possibility of someone else getting to the data. If someone wants to know the app, email me and I'll give you the name.
      Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

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      • #4
        Each year at tax time I make a disk with all the info on it and send a copy to each of my children. This way they know where what is and how much. I mean you are in your financials so why not take a few seconds and burn a couple of disk. Thumb drives would work but a disk is less likely to be lost by brood. It can be labeled and filed where thumb drives have a way of getting lost.
        I scan directly onto the disk so info never enters the hard drive of my laptop. I hand write lists of bills and payment method, scan it and then shred and/or burn the original. The same applies for the list of contents of my safety deposit box.

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        • #5
          One other thing to consider is what your state laws say about married people and what happens when one of them dies. In some states, not all of them, when a spouse dies the other person automatically inherits everything even if there is not a will in place. In some cases this might be an acceptable way to do things depending on a person's situation. I would check with an attorney to find out for sure.

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          • #6
            Good point, Sierra. Some states REQUIRE a will. If you don't have one all of the assets can be seized, and go into probate. Check with an attorney to be sure.
            The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

            Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is you are stupid, and make bad decisions.

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