Thursday, April 26, 2018

Would the Spouse Know What To Do If You Die?

This post over on reddit is an excellent example of how everyone should prepare for an unexpected death (read the post and all of the useful comments as well).  I know that as the "person in charge" of the money and important documents (relatively speaking...I'm occasionally told I'm not in charge so there's that...) I can sometimes forget that the spouse and the kids aren't informed of everything that they would need to know in the event of my untimely death.

Taking a cue from this post, consider what would happen to your family if #1, you were traveling out of the country and they couldn't get a hold of you for a week or so (unusual in this internet-connected world but I know quite a few people who go off-grid for sometimes weeks at a time).  Would the spouse/SO/kids know how to access emergency funds?  Would they know what bills needed to be paid when?

And #2, what would happen if you were incapacitated for a longer term?  The spouse had a heart attack a month ago and while thankfully open heart surgery wasn't needed, I pictured what would happen if we reversed places and the outcome was more severe.  The person who is NOT incapacitated needs to know how to access all important documents and account passwords.  They need to know what accounts they are even looking at and what to do with them.  They need to know who to call for help when everything at the moment is overwhelming.  They also need a long-term financial plan to keep the family's financial ship afloat.

The last option, death, is even more challenging.  In the midst of grief, how would your SO fare on the financial front?  How long would it take life insurance to kick in?  How would they pay for your funeral?  How would their long-term financial stability be maintained if they have no knowledge/desire to learn about investing and money management?

Add to your prepper "to do" list making up a written plan like in the post for the spouse/SO that would direct them what to do in the event of your incapacitation/demise.  This information could prove invaluable to them in a time of crisis.

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