Well, I’ve fallen behind on my own “6 Month Family Document Challenge.” There, I said it.
Between the technology disaster last month and not feeling well the past few weeks, I just haven’t had the extra oomph I needed. The nice thing is that since it is my idea, I get to make up the rules. Bwahaha! (I wonder how well that translates for some of my readers.)
So, Rule 1 is that if you get behind, or haven’t even started yet, it’s ok. Just start where you are at. The main point is to commit to getting the tasks done so you can have peace of mind and a great system for keeping your family’s information organized.
Month 5, sharing financial information, is really easy if you have Month 4 completed, where key information and documents were gathered. Month 5 is about communicating with your significant other, or some other person(s), how and where your financial accounts are organized. Ideally, this is the same person you set up as power of attorney in Month 2.
If something were to happen where you became temporarily or permanently incapacitated, providing this person with information about your finances ahead of time will help them manage your money, liquidate funds if needed for your family, etc. These are the important pieces of information to detail in writing and explain to them:
- Where is your money? If you haven’t already, make a list of all the companies or institutions where you have saving, checking and investment accounts. Include the account number, address, phone number and website. List CD’s (Certificates of Deposit), Treasury Bonds, with any information you have pertaining to their value and maturation date.
- How do you access your accounts? Note whether you access these accounts online or in person at a bank, and if you need a password or access card.
- How do you handle paying bills? Whether your bills are set up to automatically be withdrawn from your checking account, or you hand write and mail checks or money orders every month, write out your process. If you are hospitalized for a couple weeks, this could ensure that your bills continue to be paid on time so there is no disruption in insurance, etc.
- Do you work with a specific accountant, tax professional, financial advisor or investment broker? If you have any professionals that routinely handle certain aspects of your finances, list their contact information.
- Do you have a trust set up for your children? If you have set up a trust for minor children, make a note of it, who the guardian is, and the financial institution that will handle the trust.
By having these details written out, kept up to date, and communicated properly, you empower the person acting on your behalf. At a difficult time, this can make some things, at least, an efficient process.