Don’t Leave Your Family in the Dark

March 27, 2017

Woman meets with her financial planner.Even if you’re meticulous in planning financially, including arrangements for after your death, it can all be for naught if you don’t share your plans with your family. In fact, last year 60 Minutes reported on the billions of dollars in limbo because the beneficiaries never claimed the money.

While you don’t have to share the specifics of how your money will be divided, you should share what kinds of accounts you have, where the accounts are held, and the names and phone numbers of the people responsible for executing your wishes, particularly the following:

  • Contact information for close relatives, will executors, lawyers, employers, etc.
  • Will and medical directive copies. 
  • Insurance, including homeowners, auto, medical, life, and disability. Be sure to include contact information and policy numbers.
  • Financial accounts like Colorado PERA in addition to your bank and investment accounts and credit card and loan information, including account and phone numbers.
  • Property, like car or home purchase/deeds and inventory.

Once you have gathered all of the information in a safe place, make sure someone you trust knows where it is and how to access it. Most importantly, don’t forget to add or change information as you make updates in the future.

Photo: Thinkstock/Zsolt Nyulaszi

Sharing Information Electronically

  • Gather electronic copies of important documents and upload them to a service like Google Docs or Dropbox—be sure you encrypt them. Share the password with someone you can trust to keep the information secure.
  • Consider how family members could access your electronic accounts, like email, after your death. One option is to use a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane. You can then share the password to the manager with a trusted person.

Don’t forget that anything you have stored electronically is vulnerable to hackers.