Is your family prepared for your your death? Not a great sentiment to start an article with, I know; but it’s an important question to ask nonetheless. I am embarrassed to admit that my answer to that question is, “no.” I recently experienced a health issue I haven’t experienced since around the age of 11 years old. I won’t go into the details, but I was confronted with the very real concern that I may have left my family without a husband and father. Fortunately, everything is alright with me. However, if the worst had happened, my wife would be faced with the daunting task of unraveling our financial affairs. And she’d have to wade through that stress at a time when she is also mourning. You see, I handle the finances in our family. Like many families, one person tends to be more financially-minded, and therefore, it makes sense for this responsibility to fall on his or her plate. If that person is you, it is also your responsibility to ensure that your loved-ones know exactly where to go and what to do when they find themselves lost without you.
Wow, that was a bit of a downer, right?! Haha. Let’s lighten the mood with a dad joke.
Q: What is the leading cause of dry skin?
Now back to preparing for our inevitable demise. 😊
This not an article on estate planning. It’s important to have a last will and testament, life insurance, and all that jazz, but I’ll save those for a different time. This is simply an article to provide our Reno Dads community with a resource and starting point for gathering all of the most important financial documentation in one secure place. A “Break In Case Of Emergency” box if you will.
I am referring to what is known as a Legacy Binder. It is basically a binder (physical or virtual) in which you house all of your financial documents securely so your loved-ones can quickly and easily identify everything they need in order to competently navigate the very complicated and stressful act of executorship. What should go into your binder?
- Last Will and Testament
- Insurance Policies
- Bank and Credit Card Information
- Investment Account Information
- Benefits Information
- Income Tax Returns
- Homeowner Documents
- Usernames and Passwords
- Lists of Personal Affects and Instructions
That’s not a comprehensive list, and every family is different; but if you gathered all of the above in a single location, you’d be ahead of 99% of America. You could easily save all of this information to a flash drive, and then keep that flash drive in a fire safe or safety deposit box (to which you partner has access), but if you are like me, I’d prefer to make it fully mistake-proof. In that case, I think it is well worth the investment to purchase the ICE Binder, from smartmoneymamas.com.
The ICE Binder is about $40, and consists of 90 printable worksheets, separated in 15 sub-sections that are easy to navigate and organize everything your family would need. Of course not all the pages MUST be complete, and many may not even be applicable. So while it might seem a little overwhelming, imagine your wife or kids having to sort through all this stuff without knowing what to look for or where to look for it? Again, $40 is well worth the investment to have peace of mind that you’ve taken every step to make it fool-proof in my opinion. If nothing else, it’ll give you clarity on where everything is in case you need it in a pinch.
So I’ll end this article by saying as a good dad, it is your responsibility to plan for your family’s future; and that includes a future where you suddenly might not be there. Chances are you’ll never need it, but is such a relief to have that peace of mind.