We recently lost a family member, and as you might expect it’s Brough up some issues that should have been completely preventable.
Please make sure you’ve provided for a time when you or the other adults in your household might become seriously injured, or even killed. Please get in touch with your adult siblings and ask them to do the same. PLEASE PLEASE get in touch with your parents, if they’re still with you, and insist they do the same.
Passwords. OMG, passwords. I know apps like LastPass provide a way to get emergency access to your account. I also know that in an emergency, it’s too hard to think about. Make a printed “Oh, Shit Kit” and keep it in a small fire box somewhere in your home. This should include:
- The passcodes to your mobile devices and computers.
- The master password for your “password vault” app, if you use one.
- Passwords for key accounts: banking, investments, insurance, and so on.
- Account numbers for anything that has money in it, along with the institution and their freaking phone number and website. Include credit cards!
- Information on ALL real estate holdings.
- Information on ALL loans or leases – account numbers, payment amount, financial institution, and so on.
Write it down. Put it in a plastic folio. Put a wax seal on the folio if you want. Lock it in a fire box. Make sure other adults—in and out of the household—know where the key lives.
KEEP IT UPDATED. Make it a quarterly effort. It’ll only take a few hours every three months.
AND FOR GOD’S SAKE, please speak with a family law attorney about whether you should have a will, a trust, or some other instrument to help ease the burden on your family in the event of your demise or inability to function. You may think being married Solves All Problems. IT DOES NOT. If you actually love your family, show it by spending some effort on making sure they’re ACTUALLY taken care of, and that in the middle of grieving for you (should that unfortunate circumstance come to pass), they don’t also have to suddenly become accountants, real estate agents, lawyers, and tax specialists.
You’ll thank yourself. Or, if not you, your family will thank you.