Sunday, August 12, 2018

Financial Records for Spouses

Are you in a marriage or partnership where one partner deals with all the finances - banking, bills, insurance, investments and taxes?  Have you made up a record sheet giving all the vital information so your partner could take over should you become incapacitated?  If not it's high time you did.

We have an older friend back in Guelph whose husband managed all the finances.  He died suddenly and she was left helpless (to say nothing of the grieving).  She could not even turn on the computer, which was password protected.  She struggled for weeks to figure out just how to get started.

So a few years back, before my first heart surgery, I prepared an info sheet for Mrs.F.G.  It had info like the passwords for our online banking and a dozen other things, info on how we pay our bills (in an online world we pay bills three different ways), and key contacts who could help, like our insurance agent and financial advisor.

A key piece of the picture is to get yourself a good financial advisor.  We have an excellent one at home in Meaford, who deals with both our investmens and income tax.  And I've made sure to get Mrs.F.G.  in to meet him so she's comfortable seeing him without me.  Another key piece is to make sure  bank accounts and investments are held jointly.  This makes things so much easier (banks don't like giving you access to someone else's bank account, even if they are your husband/wife).  A third key piece is to have you financial records filed in the same easy-to-find place.

So this time, when I was lying comatose in a hospital bed for a month, Mrs. F.G. knew where to start.  The staff at the local branch of our bank has been very helpful, and our son came to help sort out more details.  But having that basic information was very helpful.  I have not looked at banking statement or bill since mid-Feb, but it's all been taken care of.

There's more I could list, but I hope I've made my point.  In an online world, where everything is password protected, you owe it to your partner to pull all this info together.

24 comments:

  1. I was just thinking about this a few days ago. My wife didn’t work so she took care of all the bills for everything. Now we are still pretty much the same way and I wouldn’t have a clue how to get to all the things we pay on line. I do know the bank accounts and can get onto those places.

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  2. Great advice, and I will heed it very thoughtfully and seriously. So glad you had it all done earlier, and Mrs F.G.could manage those accounts and bank details herself. Well done to you both.

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  3. Great advice,we both share the passwords and access to accounts, and have a great financial advisor so I am sure we can handle whatever comes our way. Good planning on your part Stew.

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  5. You've made your point and I hope you continue and leave more info. We just finished a new will. power of attorney and life care. Yes, lists are most helpful. good on you for having things organized.

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  6. That's great advice. Wayne does all our financial work, but I am knowledgeable about what it involves and how to handle things if needed. I was on my own for several years and took care of my mother's finances so I know I can do it. We also have a wonderful accountant and two lawyers (one in the States and one in Canada) for wills and powers of attorney. - Margy

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  7. Hello, this is great advice and information. Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day and new week ahead!

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  8. My hubby and I pay all our bills online, and recently we went through the password business, just in case something happens. It's good to stay up to speed with all the changes that happen these days online. Good advice, and of course you took care of it before your surgery. You seem to be doing amazingly well, it's wonderful to see! :-)

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  9. My parents always handled things jointly, though my dad was the primary wage earner in the family.

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  10. I did all that for Om, password protected the file, and now it won't open. I'm so bummed I haven't started over, but I need to get it done.

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  11. A friend who has no family here took ill a few years ago and he ended up in ICU like you for several months and tubes in everywhere. We had a key to his place but no way to access his money. Bills were piling up until we finally found the phone # of his niece in England. She wired us money until he got out of hospital 9 months later. We then insisted that he fill out some power of attorney papers so now at least his property can be taken care of if he gets ill again. It was a real mess.

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  12. Very good advice. Ken and I started doing this but haven't finished. I think we'd better!!!

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  13. Well said, I should leave a detailed list as I handle everything :)

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  14. Yes indeed it makes perfectly good logical sense. I was totally on top of things until a few years ago when I began forgetting things and making errors. I'm not on top of all things anymore. It's too easy to get lazy and let someone else handle everything. In my many conversations with my good friend Richard this is one of the topics we touch on from time to time.

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  15. This is exactly the advice I keep reminding my husband of, but we never seem to get it done. Thanks for this reminder.

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  16. Thank you Stew for this terrific advice. You were very wise in advance setting things up for Mrs. F.G.
    Builders all the online banking and sometimes I feel totally inadequate even though I know the basics. No one knows how a person will react with the incapacitation or loss of a spouse. I don't put a lot of faith in my own memory to remember the steps at a time like that. We need to put it in writing for me. Thank you so much for the reminder.

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  17. We 'share' the responsibilities of the world of our business. All vital info is held in common. Hubby handled most of it while I was still working and he was retired. Now with us in an apartment and spending most days about 15 feet apart things are pretty my in common. Most of our credit cards are in my name as I am 6 years his junior. Figure the odds are I will be the last 'to go' but who knows. There are some tax laws here in Texas that preclude joint ownership of automobiles. Which as a feminist really grates me. >:(

    So glad you are being able to get out and about to see the butterflies and birds. Looking forward to all the photos.

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  19. Great advice - I am the financial "wizard" in our family, and each month I also email an updated password sheet and our monthly budget to my husband's email so it is fresh and current.

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  20. Don’t forget to leave an up to date will in a place it can be found. And tell your loved ones what sort of funeral you want. Or none at all. My brother died suddenly and alone in another country where the laws are different. He left no will and no instructions. It was all a bit of a nightmare,

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  21. Thank you for this advice. I think my husband and I must have a serious conversation on where everything is. He manages his finances and the home finances while I manage mine. Everything is joint, but I never concern myself with the things he manages. I know I would play a searching game if ever I had to suddenly take over everything. You were such a wise man to get this all in order.

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  22. Yes, I did make a list...then the stroke happened...and it would be useless for Roger. But I have it and have told daughter where it is...but thanks to this post, it reminds me I do need to update it.

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