How to save a lot of aggravation, heartache (plus some bucks)

joyfulguyNovember 23, 2006

Only rarely do both members of a senior couple die together.

For many couples of our vintage, the man was the breadwinner and the wife was not employed for pay. And frequently the man is the one who becomes suddenly incapacitated, or dies, first.

While many of the spouses ran the family money, so were familiar with financial issues, there were many who did not.

And were not familiar with such issues.

During 20 years as a mainline Protestant clergyperson and 20 years as a personal financial advisor (selling no financial products, by the way, through almost all of that time), I have found a number of situations where one spouse, who did not get much involved with issues related to management of issues involving the family operation, including the family money, was left, on the serious illness or death of the manager-spouse, pretty well at sea with regard to how to run things.

Many scarcely know how to write a cheque - or pay bills by phone, online, etc. (or even know which ones to pay). Or even how to drive a car.

When one suffers a serious illness, in which case sometimes the one that is struck down still is able to offer guidance, or death, when even such assistence is no longer available, it is hugely disruptive to the management of the family's affairs.

Let alone the emotional trauma that is involved relative to the sudden onset of serious illness or death.

So, if your family is one in which one spouse was only minimally involved in the operation of the family's system - please, please - have the non-involved spouse brought at least partly up to speed on how the family operates from day to day, week to week and month to month.

How the family money is managed, etc.

Could save a huge amount of emotional turmoil, later.

And avoid some potentially substantial losses regarding the family's assets, as well.

Right now, a retired C.A. who's a member of an investment group that I attend, has a wife who has very little involvement and not much interest in several of those issus - which troubles him substantially.

Just a word of advice to folks that are, probably in many areas, wise as it is.

ole joyful

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Great advice. When my uncle passed away a number of years ago,his wife had never ever written a cheque and had no clue. There is enough to go through, without having to go through this, while grieving your loss.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 11:15AM
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joyfulguy - You are so right.
This is something that's been on my mind for a very long time.
I'm not married, but have been living with "hubby" for about 20 years now. I wouldn't know WHAT to do or even WHERE to begin (other than opening his mail) if something were to happen to him. And vice versa.

Another thing. "I" have lots of computer related things: "sign-in" I.D.'s, email addys, passwords, etc., etc. - So much that even "I" was forgetting them! I started to make a list...somewhere! LOL!
(Yes, I do NOT own computer - I use hubby's - which is for his business - WHEN I can)

But more and more people are doing the "on-line" pay transactions and such. ALSO "AUTO-PAY".

It's important that all the computer info is written down and put into a safe place also: I.D.'s, passwords, PINS, and all the "other identifying info such as Mother's maiden name, "favorite pet's name", name of school, ...all that stuff. Preferably a safe-deposit box. (oR, BURRIED IN THE BACKYARD - lol!)

I don't do anything online that would be important enough to have to contact or close, but many people do! And SOMEONE would need to know that info!

Another thing...Friends and relatives phone #'s. "Hubby's" relatives move around SO much. I currently have NO contact info for anyone. (three of them moved just within last 6 months.)

Obviously I/WE have a lot to do.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 10:36AM
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excellent advice. Like Cathy54, my husband pays most of the bills and he has made me a list of all his userid's, passwords etc. Otherwise I would have no idea how to get information from these companies.

Another thing to consider is that if a credit card, insurance policy etc has your spouse as a primary contact then chances are you will not be able to speak with the credit card company or insurance company about the account.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 4:36PM
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