You Will Die: One Of The Few Things That Are A Certainty

You Will Die: One Of The Few Things That Are A CertaintyNote: This post was written in 2012 by the previous owner of this blog.

Nothing is certain, but death and taxes.  Sorry to be so morbid, but it’s a fact and just a matter of time. And if you’re like me, you want to ensure that the ones you love are taken care of and prepared.

You’ve worked long and hard to accumulate your assets, and keeping them safe also takes effort.  You want to ensure that you protect your assets.  And, if you’re like most families, there is typically one person who handles the finances for the family.

In my case, I handle the finances and my wife is aware of where we stand, but the day-to-day transactions are not clear to her. We have a lot of transactions that occur at fixed times of the month, variable times of the month, fixed expenses, variable expenses, some expenses paid with one credit card, some with another, some that we pay through our online bank, some directly at the company’s website, it can get quite confusing.

So here are a few tips to help you prepare for the worst:

Gather all account usernames and passwords

We have an online document that houses all usernames, passwords, and answers to key questions on a password protected spreadsheet. A printout of this document is kept safely in a secure place in our home. You can also put this in a safe deposit box at your bank.

Inventory all transactions

I have another document that shows what day of each month all expenses and incomes occur. For instance, I show that our cell phone bill is always due around the 5th of each month, is a variable expense, the bill is sent through the mail, and the bill is paid manually.

On the other side of the spectrum, I show that our mortgage is a fixed amount on the 1st of each month and the bill is paid out automatically from our bank. You may also need to include all other expenses that are not  monthly…car insurance is a good example.

Take inventory of all assets and liabilities

I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but you need to get a single page shot of all your assets and liabilities.  Mine is done electronically through Fidelity.

Plan your estate

I haven’t done this yet, but is on my list of things to do.  If you don’t have many assets, this may not be worth your time, but if you have significant assets, planning how to structure these assets can be a key activity in securing your families future.  Meet with a tax attorney or estate planner to begin the process

Protect electronic assets

You need to do this regardless, but your pictures, videos, and documents have invaluable and losing them can be devastating to your family. I use an on-line back-up company like Carbonite or Mozy and prefer this over an external hard drive for many reasons.

The first is that you don’t have to worry about backing up new documents on an external drive..the online systems automatically back any new files.  Secondly, if your house were to burn down, you lose both your computer AND your back-up drive.  If files are backed up online, your files are secured in a remote location.

Insurance

Make sure that your families are well insured in case of an issue that may arise immediately upon your death.  Umbrella insurance is key, but also have all the information on your life insurance, home insurance, and car insurance.

Instructions upon your death

This would include life insurance policy documents, what policies to cancel, and HR contacts at your employer.  I currently have all instructions typed on a single page document in a sealed envelope that is only to be opened upon my death.

I know this is a difficult topic because no one wants to discuss immortality, but let’s be real.  There are many other things for families to worry about immediately following a death, but eventually, they will have to deal with your estate and finances.

You do not know how long you’ll be here on this Earth and it is only your responsibility, particularly if you have a family, to ensure that they are secure financially. The good thing is that you think about this once, take action, and you don’t have to think about it much again outside of regular updates to the documentation.

But being prepared will give you peace of mind that your family can focus on more important things and not worry about the financial impact of a loss.

About The Author

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at I Am 1 Percent. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.


13 Comments

  1. Noah

    I highly recommend paying as many bills automatically as possible and with a credit card. In addition, pick a day each month that you check the bill and verify the amount is correct. If something is wrong, you can call and complain to the vendor. I’ve been burned several times when I paid something a day late. Plus, why clutter your mind with tasks that can be automated?

    The ONLY bill I won’t pay automatically or through a website is my water bill, which costs an additional $5 per transaction for a “convenience fee”. When the bill is only $19 average per month, I’d rather force them to pay for someone to open and file the mail. It’s their loss.

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      I usually do everything automatically and with a credit card except when a credit card is not accepted, i.e. utilities, mortgages, credit card statements. The ones I do manually (with or without a credit card) are ones where the bill is variable (cell phone, credit cards, utilities, cable)

      Reply
      1. Noah

        What is the reason for doing variable bills manually? If there is an issue, you can almost always dispute after the fact and get a credit for the following month. Cell phone companies are infamous for screwing up my bill and they always credit back any problems. The same thing applies to my internet provider.

        Reply
        1. PB

          I would add that even though I have my cell phone/utilities automatically deducted, I still recieve an electronic copy of the bill and take the time to look over it before the date the payment is made. I always have the option to dispute before the payment is withdrawn- which I did sucessfuly this past month for my water bill.

          It just saves me the stamp and the hassle of remember to actually send the payments in.

          Reply
          1. Noah

            To me, I’d rather pay $0.43 (?) cents than $5 per month. If it was under a dollar I would just do it automatically, but it’s the only bill I have to send in and I have a google reminder set up that emails me to remember to send it in.

      2. PK

        I do the same thing – I like to at least scan my variable bills – utilities and credit cards, mainly – before paying. DirecTV once sneakily added some channels onto my bill, but they also give a break for paying automatically, so keeping an eye slightly open helps even on the automatic bills.

        Reply
  2. PB

    Noah, I agree about the stamp vs. the $5. I don’t have to pay $5 for my water bill. I supposed I should have framed my comment as in response to 1percent’s comment and not yours I meant it as supporting your position.

    We currently rent, and I still pay rent with a check, because although we could pay with a credit card automatically it isn’t worth the $25 fee the place charges, at least to me.

    Reply
  3. PK

    “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.” -Steven Wright

    Not meant ironically, Mr. Wright it still very much alive!

    Doing the will is the hardest part… am I right? I too have everything else pretty much in order, minus the online backups. I have passwords and accounts in a fireproof safe but I suppose that’s not as safe as the cloud. I’ll look into it…

    Reply
  4. Dollar D @ The Dollar Disciple

    I had a brief moment where I recognized my mortality. So I wrote down all the login info to all of our bank accounts on a note card so that my wife could get to all the money for all of our businesses in case I was dead or otherwise incapacitated.

    It’s important to plan for known events, death being one of them!

    Reply
  5. Matt @ RamblingFever Money

    Forget the sealed envelope! I put my “Instructions For My Wife Upon My Death,” in the form of one of my early blog posts. It doesn’t go into specifics or give passwords to my accounts, but my wife knows how to access all of that.

    The rest of your advice here is exceptional and unfortunately is overlooked by far to many people.

    Reply
  6. Geoff

    Good point about storing your important computer information. I use a WordPress plugin which allows me to have all my blogs automatically stored with an outside company which can be set to whatever frequency is required. As for valuable online documents, photos etc I am with BT in the UK. As part of my package (I have a fibre optics setup) I also have use of ‘Digital Vault’ so I can upload what I want to make sure I save as back up to them whenever I want.

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      If its included in your fiber optic package, even better. Thanks for visiting the site!

      Reply
      1. Geoff

        Yes, along with free McAfee Internet security, anti-virus etc. On the subject though of making sure our loved ones are aware of what we do online it’s frightening to think of perhaps how little they do know. It isn’t like having a ‘normal’ job where we go out to work for someone and if anything was to happen to us it would all be virtually cut and dried from an employment point of view. We have our various programs we are in, passwords, possibly a number of sources of income. It’s very difficult to cover everything with anyone else about what we do online so our children could tie up all the loose ends.

        Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *