Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I love you, honey. If I die, here's how to get our money.

 A while back I read a post titled "I love you honey. If I die, you'll be rich" over on the Beards & Money blog. The upshot is that, because, Dr. Beard's wife does not bring in an income, if something were to happen to him, she would not have any income coming in to pay the bills. So he has a life insurance policy and laid out a plan his wife can follow to ensure she will be taken care of financially for the rest of her life, should something happen to him.

Although no one likes to think about it, at some point we all die. When you have a family you love, you want to make sure they will be OK if you suddenly die or are otherwise incapacitated and were unable to provide the financial support you currently do. This is what life and disability insurance is for. I have it. Dr. Beard has it. It's just something you do when you care about the people that depend on you.

But the post got me thinking about other issues that might come up if I were to perish. My wife does earn an income, so she wouldn't suddenly lose all income when I die. I do, however, handle all the financial details of our life - everything from investments to paying the bills. Furthermore, 97% of what I do is done online, which means logins and passwords. My wife wouldn't know any of those, nor would she know where to find them. As I mentioned previously, we've got a lot of accounts. She'd be lost, at worst. At best, she could easily overlook some account and lose whatever money was in it because she didn't know it existed. We've gone almost entirely paperless and she probably wouldn't even know where to find old statements.

So I sat down and, over the course of a couple of days, I made a spreadsheet of all our accounts. I listed what they are used for, what institutions they are with, the account numbers, and the logins to the various websites. I added notes that detailed any information about each account that she might need to know or to clarify what the account was for. I thought about including passwords in the spreadsheet, but that was just a little too risky for me. If someone got a copy of that sheet, they could ruin our lives. Instead, I've stashed the passwords in a different, secure location.

I printed out the spreadsheet and sealed it in an envelope and wrote "I love you" across the front. Then I stored it in our safe. We'll eventually get a safe deposit box and a copy will go there. I intend to review this spreadsheet once a year to make sure it's up-to-date. If something ever happens to me, she just has to open that envelope to find everything she needs to take over our finances.

In the information age, it's not enough to just provide money for your loved ones when you are gone. You also have to make sure they have the digital keys to access it.


  1. Great article ! Situation is similar to yours and we did that a couple of years ago along with creating a living will. Made an Excel doc with institutions and account numbers sans passwords ofcourse and stashed it in a safety deposit box...

  2. We're planning a visit to a lawyer later this year to get a will and associated documents drawn up.