Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

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bigtex
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Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by bigtex »

Hello, I currently handle all financial matters from making mortgage payment to investing to setting up insurance policies, etc. My spouse wants to know how to do everything if I were dead. Does anyone have a format or a plan for doing this? I am thinking things like account numbers passwords investing plan etc. We also don’t have an estate plan / will either so maybe this all goes hand in hand? We are still young in our 30s but just need to get this squared away. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Mike Scott
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by Mike Scott »

search "death book"
carolinaman
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by carolinaman »

Good for her! She is a wise woman.

I have similar situation but in my 70s. My situation is likely more complicated but I think you can use the same approach.

I have a checklist with one liners (1.5 pages of a Word document) for everything my wife will need to do following my death. Some of these items require more explanation and I have a separate document that provides details of doing those things including taxes, notify pensions and insurance, changing all accounts to her name only, etc. I also have lists of all deposit and payment accounts. All of this is quite involved and took me a long time to put together in as straight forward a manner as possible.

All of this needs to be documented and it is something you could do together so she will understand it better. You will also need to keep this document uptodate as it will change regularly.
bluebolt
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by bluebolt »

We have a shared document with all of our account info for bank accounts, brokerage accounts, insurance, monthly bills, etc. It lists the account owner, financial institution, account type, beneficiary, account number. For credit cards, we only have last four digits of the account number. I update this about once a quarter or if there is a significant account change.

All passwords are stored in a secure password manager that we both have access to.

Have also worked on consolidating accounts with a single brokerage to simplify.
tibbitts
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by tibbitts »

bigtex wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:46 pm Hello, I currently handle all financial matters from making mortgage payment to investing to setting up insurance policies, etc. My spouse wants to know how to do everything if I were dead. Does anyone have a format or a plan for doing this? I am thinking things like account numbers passwords investing plan etc. We also don’t have an estate plan / will either so maybe this all goes hand in hand? We are still young in our 30s but just need to get this squared away. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
You already should have a will and estate documents and both of you should have access to all the logins and passwords through whatever mechanism you decide on, and have tested that. I have about nine pages of text explaining where things are and any tricks to accessing them. But don't waste time on your investing philosophy - nobody will care when you're dead. If you have providers you prefer it will be obvious from where your accounts and assets are but don't be surprised if that lasts for about a week after you're gone. You have to let go and let the next person figure that out for themselves.
WillRetire
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by WillRetire »

In addition to the recommendations above, also have your spouse start getting involved in day-to-day bill paying. There's no substitute for experience "doing" vs. reading about it when stressed & bereaved.

And have your spouse logon to financial accounts at least once a quarter to look around and understand what's there. Each of you should have your own userid/password to access joint accounts.
tibbitts
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by tibbitts »

WillRetire wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:50 am In addition to the recommendations above, also have your spouse start getting involved in day-to-day bill paying. There's no substitute for experience "doing" vs. reading about it when stressed & bereaved.

And have your spouse logon to financial accounts at least once a quarter to look around and understand what's there. Each of you should have your own userid/password to access joint accounts.
Although I understand the motivation I don't think this is even remotely practical with most people. Logging into dozens of accounts once a quarter is a huge burden for someone who isn't interested. My own experience was that after death, nothing happens automatically. If there's one account it continues to work for at least a month or more until you go through steps to disable it. But that isn't to say someone can just sit on the situation - they do need the presence of mind of jump on these things, even little things like bill paying. Or find someone else who will (relative, etc.) Absolutely in theory it's more correct to have separate accounts, and it's the legally correct thing to do. So you have to balance what you can do in practice vs. what would be proper to do in theory.
mptfan
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by mptfan »

My first advice is to simplify and consolidate. Reduce the number of accounts as much as possible and use the fewest number of accounts and credit cards as possible. And make sure your spouse has at least one credit card that is in his or her name, not as an authorized user on your account, this is important because when you die your credit cards will get frozen and eventually closed and any authorized user cards will stop working. And automate, use automatic payments that are processed through one checking account and make sure your spouse has access to that account and make sure it is a joint account so the account does not get frozen when you die. And have everything set up for electronic statements and notifications that go to one email and make sure your spouse has access to that email. Simplify and consolidate.

Then create a detailed document for your spouse that has all the information she would need in the case of your death. Some call it a death book (which is quite morbid although accurate), I call my document "emergency instructions" to be slightly less morbid. The document should contain all of your personal information such as SSN, date of birth, driver's license number, passport number, etc. It's not that your spouse does not know or could not find this information, that's not the point, the point is to give him or her a readily accessible document with everything summarized in one place to make things easier during a time of grief and stress. Also include a list of all financial and credit accounts and contact information. For bank and investment accounts, provide a specific phone number to contact for beneficiaries, this is different than the main customer service number, this department is usually called the estate distribution group or something similar, again, you don't want your spouse stressing out about exactly whom to call during a time of grief and stress.

Regarding usernames and passwords, I suggest some or all of the following depending on your situation.

1. Use a password manager and share your credentials with people you trust or your beneficiaries.
2. Use a password manager without sharing your credentials and use the emergency access feature to allow a trusted person to gain access to your password vault after you are gone. (Some passwords managers have this feature and some don't)
3. Use a cloud based storage provider, like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, and share the contents of your drive or selected folders within the drive with a trusted person.
4. Print out your usernames and passwords and other relevant information and give them to a trusted person.
5. Use the Google Inactive Account manager feature on Google accounts to share your data with a trusted person after you are gone (after the account is inactive for 3 months). Other cloud data providers may have a similar feature.
6. Prepare a summary document for your loved ones or heirs that gives them all the relevant information they may need and email it to them.
7. You can save the summary document in a password manager and allow your trusted person to have access to it with the emergency access feature. You can keep your important documents in a safe at home and do the same with the safe combination to be accessed using the emergency access feature after you are gone. (You can save almost anything in most password managers, not just passwords)

Also keep in mind that if you have two step verification set up on any of your accounts your loved one may not be able to access your account even with the username and password if they do not have access to the second factor for verification. I'm not saying you should not have two step verification, I think you should, I'm saying you need to make it available in the event you are not around.
Last edited by mptfan on Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:42 am, edited 4 times in total.
Big Dog
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by Big Dog »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:16 am
WillRetire wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:50 am In addition to the recommendations above, also have your spouse start getting involved in day-to-day bill paying. There's no substitute for experience "doing" vs. reading about it when stressed & bereaved.

And have your spouse logon to financial accounts at least once a quarter to look around and understand what's there. Each of you should have your own userid/password to access joint accounts.
Although I understand the motivation I don't think this is even remotely practical with most people. Logging into dozens of accounts once a quarter is a huge burden for someone who isn't interested. My own experience was that after death, nothing happens automatically. If there's one account it continues to work for at least a month or more until you go through steps to disable it. But that isn't to say someone can just sit on the situation - they do need the presence of mind of jump on these things, even little things like bill paying. Or find someone else who will (relative, etc.) Absolutely in theory it's more correct to have separate accounts, and it's the legally correct thing to do. So you have to balance what you can do in practice vs. what would be proper to do in theory.
First rule is to eliminate dozens of accounts. We have 4 now and will be down to two (Vanguard & checking) by early next year. And I make sure that all accounts have tax forms mailed by snail mail.
WillRetire
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by WillRetire »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:16 am
WillRetire wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:50 am In addition to the recommendations above, also have your spouse start getting involved in day-to-day bill paying. There's no substitute for experience "doing" vs. reading about it when stressed & bereaved.

And have your spouse logon to financial accounts at least once a quarter to look around and understand what's there. Each of you should have your own userid/password to access joint accounts.
Although I understand the motivation I don't think this is even remotely practical with most people. Logging into dozens of accounts once a quarter is a huge burden for someone who isn't interested. My own experience was that after death, nothing happens automatically. If there's one account it continues to work for at least a month or more until you go through steps to disable it. But that isn't to say someone can just sit on the situation - they do need the presence of mind of jump on these things, even little things like bill paying. Or find someone else who will (relative, etc.) Absolutely in theory it's more correct to have separate accounts, and it's the legally correct thing to do. So you have to balance what you can do in practice vs. what would be proper to do in theory.
Dozens of accounts? Yikes! How does that happen? Remember: a single account can hold multiple securities. And an individual may hold multiple types of accounts (type examples = 401K, IRAs, taxable brokerage) at the same financial instituion, say Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab just to name a few. One "signin" can view multiple accounts at that financial institution. Even if you have your 401K at one institution, taxable brokerage at a 2nd, IRAs at a 3rd, and banking at a 4th, that's still only 4 signins for 1 person. Spouse has [should have] their own signins for their 401K & IRAs, plus 2 more signins for the joint brokerage & banking accounts. 4 signins each. Many people have their IRAs at the same institution as their taxable brokerage, or vice versa, making 3 sign-ins per person. Either way, 3 or 4 per person.
Katietsu
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by Katietsu »

Much has been written, so just a few thoughts:
-Separate the immediate from the the longer term. If you are are hit by a car and mentally incapacitated, what needs done? Have this information readily available. Make sure she is familiar with your insurance coverage. Have your wife pay the bills and review the credit card statements for a month. Repeat at a mutually decided interval. I believe that you both should be able to make a payment on an electric bill or credit card at anytime. For us, that means a joint checking account to which we both have online access with bill pay set up. This is associated with a money market with easy transfer if needed. We have other accounts, actually holding a majority of our net worth, that my spouse either has no idea how to access. That is OK. He needs where to find the information and he would have time to work out the “how”.
-Longer term concerns like retirement accounts and disability insurance. Include these in your death book. Also, sit down together and review at least once a year. A common time to do this is tax time. You can review the tax return and do a state of the finances at the same time. Do this more frequently if she is willing.
-Be very grateful that she is being proactive about this. You should work as a team to the greatest extent both are willing.
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goingup
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by goingup »

bigtex wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:46 pm My spouse wants to know how to do everything if I were dead.
I think your spouse should know how to do everything now. :D
mptfan
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by mptfan »

I am always amused when people respond to questions like this and give their opinion about what the non-financial spouse *should* do now, i.e., they *should* take a more proactive role in paying bills, handling financial accounts, etc. I think this is unrealistic advice in most cases, you cannot force someone to be interested in something or do something they don't want to do or have no interest in doing so long as they don't have to. The best you can do is provide information about what to do in the event you are gone.
Last edited by mptfan on Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Katietsu
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by Katietsu »

WillRetire wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:42 am
tibbitts wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:16 am
WillRetire wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:50 am And have your spouse logon to financial accounts at least once a quarter to look around and understand what's there. Each of you should have your own userid/password to access joint accounts.
Although I understand the motivation I don't think this is even remotely practical with most people. Logging into dozens of accounts once a quarter is a huge burden for someone who isn't interested.
Dozens of accounts? Yikes! How does that happen? ... Either way, 3 or 4 per person.
Does 3 to 4 times that qualify as “Yikes”? I would have thought so at 30 yrs old but not after 50 yrs old. Also never understood at 30 yrs old how unclaimed property ended up with the state. Now have some insight there.
HomeStretch
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by HomeStretch »

To add to the feedback you have already received:

1. Set up an email account to which you both share access to receive all communications from financial institutions, banks, credit card companies, vendors, utilities, tax authorities, etc.

2. If you use Bill Pay for a joint account, the related information (vendor list, vendor history, e-bill/auto-pay) is usually tied to one individual user account and cannot be accessed by the joint account holder in their own individual online account. The surviving spouse will need to set up Bill Pay in their own account. If your bills are set to e-bill to your Bill Pay account, your spouse may not be aware a new e-bill has showed up. In this case, the shared email account can be helpful to at least see e-bill notifications and any payment due alerts. I also keep a printed summary list of active vendors with an attached copy of the vendor bill for details updated once a year.

It’s good that your spouse is showing an interest in the joint finances. IMO it’s important that adults are knowledgable enough to handle their basic finances independently even if the spouse handles it for the household. I have helped a few friends after divorce or spouse’s incapacitation/death figure out the finances that they previously had no involvement in. It was pretty painful for them trying to get up to speed while dealing with grief, minor children, estate, job, etc.
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goingup
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by goingup »

mptfan wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:55 am I am always amused when people respond to questions like this and give their opinion about what the non-financial spouse *should* do now, i.e., they *should* take a more proactive role in paying bills, handling financial accounts, etc. I think this is unrealistic advice in most cases, you cannot force someone to be interested in something or do something they don't want to do or have no interest in doing so long as they don't have to. The best you can do is provide information about what to do in the event you are gone.
It sounds as though the spouse is interested in being more involved. The OP can shed more light on state of mind.

My opinion is that often one spouse controls the financial territory because it is easier and more expedient to do so. That's not setting the other spouse up for success if the event of death, disability or divorce. Even if one spouse shows little interest, they "should" know about all accounts and have all passwords and at least a general idea about how the finances operate.

Other household "shoulds" are how to turn off the water and gas mains and where the fire extinguisher is kept.
oldfatguy
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by oldfatguy »

goingup wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:40 am
mptfan wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:55 am I am always amused when people respond to questions like this and give their opinion about what the non-financial spouse *should* do now, i.e., they *should* take a more proactive role in paying bills, handling financial accounts, etc. I think this is unrealistic advice in most cases, you cannot force someone to be interested in something or do something they don't want to do or have no interest in doing so long as they don't have to. The best you can do is provide information about what to do in the event you are gone.
It sounds as though the spouse is interested in being more involved. The OP can shed more light on state of mind.

My opinion is that often one spouse controls the financial territory because it is easier and more expedient to do so. That's not setting the other spouse up for success if the event of death, disability or divorce. Even if one spouse shows little interest, they "should" know about all accounts and have all passwords and at least a general idea about how the finances operate.

Other household "shoulds" are how to turn off the water and gas mains and where the fire extinguisher is kept.
Agreed. There are certain basic things that are part of being an adult, and knowing how to manage your finances is one of them. How many threads have we seen on this site about a widow/widower who has no clue how to handle finances or investments, and needs one of their kids to step in and take over. My grandfather was in that category, and my mother certainly will be if my father dies first.

OP, you could do the financial stuff together ... you could keep separate finances ... or you could take turns managing them (switch every year or so).
mptfan
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by mptfan »

oldfatguy wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:46 amThere are certain basic things that are part of being an adult, and knowing how to manage your finances is one of them.
And yet there are adults who do not know how to manage their finances. I know it's hard for some people on this board to fathom but there are people out there who just don't have the interest or the ability or the inclination to handle their own finances, and there are some people who are forced to do it and they screw it up royally. Listen to any Dave Ramsey caller for evidence of this. Some are capable, at least to some extent, but have no interest so they defer to their spouse or other trusted person to take care of it. Others just are not capable, that's a fact of life. For those who are capable but defer, it's good for the financial spouse to make arrangements as discussed in this thread. For those who are not capable, it's good to make suitable arrangements for others to handle things, which may include a trust of some kind or may involve adult children or other trusted person stepping in.

By analogy one could say that taking care of your health is a basic part of being an adult, and yet there are people who fail terribly to do the most basic things like avoid smoking or excessive alcohol or harmful drugs and they drive themselves to an early grave. They *should* avoid these things, but they don't.
Last edited by mptfan on Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
oldfatguy
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by oldfatguy »

mptfan wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:09 pm
oldfatguy wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 11:46 amThere are certain basic things that are part of being an adult, and knowing how to manage your finances is one of them.
And yet there are adults who do not know how to manage their finances. I know it's hard for some people to fathom but there are people out there who just don't have the interest or the inclination to handle their own finances.
I don't have the interest, either. It's a responsibility.
mptfan wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:09 pm
By analogy one could say that taking care of your health is a basic part of being an adult, and yet there are people who fail terribly to do the most basic things like avoid smoking or excessive alcohol or harmful drugs. They *should* avoid these things, but they don't.
Yes, and just like with those who don't know how to manage their finances, there is often a spouse and/or other family members who are enabling them
runninginvestor
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by runninginvestor »

Mike Scott wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:56 pm search "death book"
Death book

Edit: that's a link to the Death Book post.
Last edited by runninginvestor on Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mptfan
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by mptfan »

oldfatguy wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:16 pm Yes, and just like with those who don't know how to manage their finances, there is often a spouse and/or other family members who are enabling them
So now you agree that there are some people who don't know how to manage their finances?
oldfatguy
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by oldfatguy »

mptfan wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:20 pm
oldfatguy wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:16 pm Yes, and just like with those who don't know how to manage their finances, there is often a spouse and/or other family members who are enabling them
So now you agree that there are some people who don't know how to manage their finances?
I never suggested there weren't. In fact, I identified my grandfather and my mother as specific examples of those who did not.

Being an adult who doesn't know how to manage your own finances is a dysfunction.
Last edited by oldfatguy on Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
oldfatguy
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by oldfatguy »

duplicate
fittan
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by fittan »

Here's my plan and what I told my wife. Easy hon...remember these 3 things.

1) Login to mint.com. You will have a bird's eye view of every single account (bank, credit card, 401k, etc).

2) Login to Lastpass.com. You will have all the passwords to everything in 1. Wife is aware of the master password.

3) Visit the attorney who setup our will and trust.

Of course I also remind her of my term life insurance and social security but the above are the main items.
mptfan
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by mptfan »

oldfatguy wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:22 pm Being an adult who doesn't know how to manage your own finances is a dysfunction.
Perhaps, but it's a reality for some. So if you have a spouse who falls in to that category, what do you do?
radiowave
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by radiowave »

+1 on simplifying accounts and banks as much as possible as strategy for spouse after death.

Good comments about eBill pay above. One thing I am setting up is a second set of eBill payees at a second place as a back up plan. One thing that raised my concern recently was potential loss of access to our eBill/pay account. Yes, adding a second duplicate set of Payees at another bank or brokerage adds complexity, but provides a second level of access for spouse.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page
tibbitts
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by tibbitts »

WillRetire wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:42 am
tibbitts wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:16 am
WillRetire wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:50 am In addition to the recommendations above, also have your spouse start getting involved in day-to-day bill paying. There's no substitute for experience "doing" vs. reading about it when stressed & bereaved.

And have your spouse logon to financial accounts at least once a quarter to look around and understand what's there. Each of you should have your own userid/password to access joint accounts.
Although I understand the motivation I don't think this is even remotely practical with most people. Logging into dozens of accounts once a quarter is a huge burden for someone who isn't interested. My own experience was that after death, nothing happens automatically. If there's one account it continues to work for at least a month or more until you go through steps to disable it. But that isn't to say someone can just sit on the situation - they do need the presence of mind of jump on these things, even little things like bill paying. Or find someone else who will (relative, etc.) Absolutely in theory it's more correct to have separate accounts, and it's the legally correct thing to do. So you have to balance what you can do in practice vs. what would be proper to do in theory.
Dozens of accounts? Yikes! How does that happen? Remember: a single account can hold multiple securities. And an individual may hold multiple types of accounts (type examples = 401K, IRAs, taxable brokerage) at the same financial instituion, say Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab just to name a few. One "signin" can view multiple accounts at that financial institution. Even if you have your 401K at one institution, taxable brokerage at a 2nd, IRAs at a 3rd, and banking at a 4th, that's still only 4 signins for 1 person. Spouse has [should have] their own signins for their 401K & IRAs, plus 2 more signins for the joint brokerage & banking accounts. 4 signins each. Many people have their IRAs at the same institution as their taxable brokerage, or vice versa, making 3 sign-ins per person. Either way, 3 or 4 per person.
A "financial account" is anything involving financial transactions: property taxes, insurance, utility/telecom/streaming services, credit cards, employer retirement plans, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, pension plans, Amazon subscriptions... the list goes on. How many frequent-traveler programs are you a member of? Accounts holding those hundreds of thousands of points/miles are "financial accounts" too.
oldfatguy
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by oldfatguy »

mptfan wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:33 pm
oldfatguy wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:22 pm Being an adult who doesn't know how to manage your own finances is a dysfunction.
Perhaps, but it's a reality for some. So if you have a spouse who falls in to that category, what do you do?
Do the finances together ... keep separate finances ... take turns managing the finances ... or get a divorce.
mptfan
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by mptfan »

oldfatguy wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:01 pm Do the finances together ... keep separate finances ... take turns managing the finances ... or get a divorce.
There's another option...stay married and keep joint finances while the financial spouse handles the finances for the non-financial spouse and prepares for the contingency of the death of the financial spouse as discussed in this thread.
Prudence
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by Prudence »

I am the financial spouse. We don't use bill pay but use auto pay (linked to joint checking account). Is there a reason to switch to bill pay?
Katietsu
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by Katietsu »

Prudence wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:57 pm I am the financial spouse. We don't use bill pay but use auto pay (linked to joint checking account). Is there a reason to switch to bill pay?
Some of this depends on how much you trust the system and how big of a disaster it would be if something went wrong.

My personal choices:- I autopay the bills that can be done so using a credit card with no charge.
-I use bill pay for the water bill due to lack of no fee alternative.
-I do allow the electric company with autopay linked to checking account. I am a bit uncomfortable with it but it would take a very unlikely event for this to cause a problem.
-Currently, I manually use bill pay for the credit cards. Have contemplated automating this, at least for minimum payments. Anyone have any input here?
-I use bill pay to automatically send a couple monthly fixed payments. This too makes me a little uncomfortable as they could go on after my death even if the service was no longer being provided.
-I have a second checking account at a CU that I keep a low balance in. This account is connected to things like Venmo and Paypal so that any fraudulent activity would have limited impact.

For the purposes of this thread, I should probably do some simplification in case someone did need to take this over.
tibbitts
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Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by tibbitts »

Prudence wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:57 pm I am the financial spouse. We don't use bill pay but use auto pay (linked to joint checking account). Is there a reason to switch to bill pay?
For a long time until this year I did manual payments through the various websites, but made a mistake (fortunately forgiven so no cost to me) a few months ago, and now have everything set to autopay. My reasoning for not doing autopay was fear of a mistake causing bounced payments etc. but then I realized that I was more likely to make mistakes than the autopay maybe paying a large amount for a fraudulent charge, more than I had in my bank account.
RudyS
Posts: 2190
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:11 am

Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by RudyS »

tibbitts wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:55 pm
Prudence wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:57 pm I am the financial spouse. We don't use bill pay but use auto pay (linked to joint checking account). Is there a reason to switch to bill pay?
For a long time until this year I did manual payments through the various websites, but made a mistake (fortunately forgiven so no cost to me) a few months ago, and now have everything set to autopay. My reasoning for not doing autopay was fear of a mistake causing bounced payments etc. but then I realized that I was more likely to make mistakes than the autopay maybe paying a large amount for a fraudulent charge, more than I had in my bank account.
I too am the "financial spouse." Cute term. All credit cards (but one) are in my name with DW as authorized user. They are all on autopay to our joint checking account, into which pension and ss go. This thing should basically run itself. As backup, DW has her own card, which is autopaid from a second checking account which also has direct payments. There is sufficient time to make necessary changes before something goes past due.
Wannaretireearly
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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:39 pm

Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

We use the Trust/Will setup. A page in there has written account numbers, etc.
I need to create a shared online doc, rather than rely on this above.
This time next year, we'll be millionaires!
sc9182
Posts: 470
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:43 pm

Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by sc9182 »

May be the widowed spouse decide to get re-married. New spouse most likely will do the clean up - don’t worry much :-)

If not - step-siblings or greedy child will help with partial financial clean up!!

It is really hard to make some one else (including spouse) follow tracks carefully laid by you ..
mptfan
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by mptfan »

Katietsu wrote: Thu Apr 15, 2021 2:40 pm -I do allow the electric company with autopay linked to checking account. I am a bit uncomfortable with it but it would take a very unlikely event for this to cause a problem.
-Currently, I manually use bill pay for the credit cards. Have contemplated automating this, at least for minimum payments. Anyone have any input here?
-I use bill pay to automatically send a couple monthly fixed payments. This too makes me a little uncomfortable as they could go on after my death even if the service was no longer being provided.
Years ago I was like you, I refused to give out my checking account number and allow merchants to auto debit my account. I was afraid of fraud, or the merchant would overbill, or they would keep billing even after I cancelled the account, so I would either manually pay each bill or set up autopay using my bank's billpayer. After I while it became tedious, and just as another poster commented, I realized that there was a higher likelihood that I would screw something up by forgetting to pay on time or the bill pay check would get lost or delayed in the mail (which has happened) or even if the check arrived on time it was not processed on time (I think that happened too). The bottom line is I changed my thinking and I began to set up auto bill payments by allowing selected trusted merchants to debit my checking account and I have to say it has made my life easier and after several years of doing it this way there have not been any problems yet. I am still somewhat selective though, I only give out my checking account to merchants that I trust or that I think are big and reputable enough that I would have recourse if they messed it up. I have come to trust my electrical utility and my credit card providers, but otherwise I am extremely selective about giving out my checking account info, I am a bit more willing to set up auto billing on my credit card.
MikeG62
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Template for financial life for spouse if I’m dead?

Post by MikeG62 »

Prepare a word document detailing all the steps you take in handling your monthly financials. Have her read that. Second, sit with her for a month (or a few months) and either have her watch you perform those activities or have her do them with you providing input along the way.

Be happy that you are way ahead of where my DW is. My DW wants nothing to do with managing or being involved in our financial affairs. So I went the route of written instructions, which she has read (a number of times).

I've documented my situation on this forum a number of times, including here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=327879&p=5553965&hi ... t#p5553965

I've done pretty much all I can do.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
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