Sunday, May 22, 2016

So this is a bit of a serious but necessary post.

I had a death in the family -- someone who is older (67), and wasn't feeling well, but in no way was death expected.

Or planned for.

I know there is often talk of wills and the need for one. And this was a case of no will, but to be honest, the lawyer agreed that it's simple enough that the lack of a will isn't going to be a problem. So yes, the "but I don't have much to leave" or "I don't have children" or "I don't have young children" can make sense.

But it's not just that.

It's the everything else.

And I'm not just talking the funeral and services and memorial. Which can be pricey. And decisions are being made about this when, perhaps, the amount left by the person, and owed by the person, are still unknown. Or unavailable.

It's finding out the things you need to know, especially nowadays when so much is online. How easy, or difficult, is it going to be for people to find out about accounts (banks, credit cards, any other bills) and where things are?

How easy, or difficult, will it be for people to to access usernames and IDs and passwords so that they can access account information? Once, that is, they find out about the account to know they need to find out when a bill is about to paid, or a check deposited, or how much is owed on that credit card?

I mentioned when things are unavailable. Funerals and related costs can be expensive, and if the person's money is not available until after probate -- well, that delay can be a challenge, also.

My final bit is about why it's good to be aware of finances. As much as the death was a surprise, and there's a lot to do -- what doesn't have to be done is an education on family finances and bills. I know that can happen to some, when one person takes care of everything and the other is left surprised at just how much has to be done.

So, anyone, that's my serious bit of advice for today. Yes, keep your passwords secure -- but also have them be somewhere they can be found.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Kristin Lenz said...

I'm sorry about your loss. You make all very good points. I'm a worrywart, so these are the types of questions that wake me up some nights. But daytime comes and we're all busy, and these are the things that get left undone. Thank you for the reminder.

Jen Robinson said...

Thanks for taking time out to remind us all about this, Liz. I'll bet that just about everyone could improve, in terms of how we document things (let alone wills and all of that). I'm so sorry for your family's loss.

Sylvia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Liz.
You are right about the education of family finances. I visit with older people frequently and invariably, the one left behind is the one who had 'no idea' where the money was, how it was spent or what investments were where. It is particularly heartbreaking when the widow(er) is ill physically or mentally and then has to deal with the money situation.
As a precaution, I make my husband sit with me several times a year as I pay bills, balance checkbooks, move money around. He refers to this 'a punishment' but I see them as a necessity.
Maybe you could recommend some basic books that helped you and your loved ones through the sorting through when you have come to the other side of this time?
Blessings for you,

teacher333 said...

Sorry for your loss! Very good advice for all.

Nicole said...

So sorry for your loss, Liz. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time. Nicole (formerly of OCL)