How to Not Leave Your Family a Financial Mess

DO NOT LEAVE YOUR FAMILY A FINANCIAL MESS! Create a quick and dirty spreadsheet that has all of your financial information in one place. This will come in handy so that you or your loved ones can manage your household money in the event of an illness or death. If all your financial information is inside your head or not organized your family will have a financial mess on their hands should the money manager become ill or die.

You need three basic pieces of information: the bill, account number, and how much is due.  Create a spreadsheet with three columns or get a piece of paper and draw three columns. Hell, be extra lazy and fold a piece of paper in thirds lengthwise. Don’t let any dumb excuse prevent you from getting this exercise done.

1. Write down all of your current bills:

Write down all of your current bills even if you don’t know the total balances that is OK. The point of this exercise is to give the person who is not financially and charge the information they will need to contact your creditors in the event that something should happen to you. This is also useful if you were single and a loved one will have to take care of your finances should you have some sort of long term disability that would prevent you from doing so. Include as much information as you possibly have about who you all money to so in this first column of the spreadsheet you’re going to create make a list of everyone you know and try to put the names down so that if they had to Google them they could find out the contact information. If you have a Wells Fargo loan and you just put Wells and might be very difficult for a person looking at your spreadsheet later to understand what you’re trying to say. It would be better to put Wells Fargo student loan education financial services as that will help direct them to who to contact in the event of emergency

2. Write down the account number:

Write down the account number or at least the last four digits of the account number next to the bill you already wrote down.  Most people do not share their Social Security number. Even married people often don’t know their loved ones Social Security number. Include the account number or last four digits so that the person you contact has a reference point to determine which account you need help with. At least have the account number available even if you do not have their social security number memorized.

3. Write down the monthly amount owed.

Write down how much is owed each month for the corresponding bill. I’m not talking total balance here. I am asking you to put the monthly amount you pay this creditor/company each month. If someone has to be in charge of your finances for a while they’re gonna need to know how much you pay on each of your monthly bills.  Most of us are going paperless with our bills and everything comes electronically. This makes it difficult to determine basic information to have someone take over your finances if something bad happens. That is why it is so imperative you include at least how much is owed each month. The person in charge of your bills can pay your bills or make arrangements for the payment to be made on a different date.

Why you should create a quick and dirty money emergency sheet cheat:

I know that emergency planning is not sexy or fun, but it is so important to have basic information in accessible places. You don’t have to put down anything particularly personal that will subject you to identity theft. Do not leave them in a financial mess if they have to care for you when you’re seriously ill or while they’re grieving your death. If you are not the money manager at your house, you want this information accessible so you can step in and help if the money manger is ill or dies.

It is also important to have this information readily available in the event that you do pass away and your estate has to be probated. The administrator of the estate will need to make a list of all creditors and debts of the state as well as notify those people. It makes life so much easier for your loved ones again if this information is easily accessible and all in one place.

What kind of emergency planning do you have in place? Do you have a spreadsheet? Have you talked to your friends or your loved ones about who would be in charge of your finances if something happened to you?

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