There are times when things happen that cause total chaos in our lives.
Some unexpected action or issue that throws everything that was flowing along out of control. It’s not the same as a freeway backup caused by an accident…unless you’re in the accident. It’s not like a dam bursting and the rushing water flows down river wiping out structures and nature along the river banks because you kind of—in the back of your mind—know there’s a HUGE amount of water pent up behind that concrete structure.
What happens when something horrible happens to a spouse, thereby leaving the remaining spouse and family with dozens of issues, problems, and disasters? What happens when the remaining family (and friends) are distraught with grief and want to work on issue resolution but run into brick walls, bureaucracy, lack of information and quite possibly have health issues that impair their ability to take on the tasks?
I want to state first and foremost, I cannot understand, or explain all of—or most of—the possibilities that can unfold. I just want to spark in you (hello anyone out there?) the idea that you may be able to pre-prepare (I thought I would double emphasize that) some structure to help in case you get hit with the bad card.
- Make sure those you love and care for know you love and care for them. (I’m making note of this now for myself)
- Create an organized structure of “what.” What things need to be taken care of? What accounts do you have? What the logins are? What your wishes are? What the process is. What’s most important? What are the procedural steps? Some call it the “love letter” for their spouse. “Hey honey, I love you, but don’t forget to pay the electric bill.” Maybe that’s not the best example.
- Do not leave your distraught follow-up person (spouse, child, executor, trustee, lawyer, friend, bad person) to have to do forensic accounting to put your financial and personal records organization into an organized manner.
- Death vs Disability. If you become incapacitated, that is different than being deceased and having a death certificate to assist in taking action. Power of attorneys are important as are Medical Rights documents…and having those medical documents ready at a moment’s notice and when arriving at a hospital.
- Monthly operations, bill paying, cash flow, stabilization. Share the bills/accounts and the process that you use. Hopefully, you have an automated process. Also, make sure both you and your spouse are listed as approved/trusted parties on each account.
It’s so much better to have planned for those taking over your operational duties before there is a need for such a transfer of power. Don’t leave a pile of paperwork, or worse, PDFs for someone to deal with. Leave instructions and the ability for them to make changes.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.