I read an article awhile ago in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Difficult, Delicate Untangling of Our Parents’ Financial Lives” It described a couple’s very frustrating and stressful romp through the financial lives of aging, incapacitated parents.
Many young people in their 40’s and 50’s are struggling to unravel the finances of parents who can no longer do it for themselves. Their efforts are complicated when they find mysterious folders, notes on scrap paper, passbooks bunched together with rubber bands, and multiple accounts at multiple banks. Passwords are not in any order or maybe technology is not even used.
Think of your own financial life and the shortcuts used to deal with a checking or savings account, passwords, pensions, stocks, bonds, or IRAs, then imagine someone taking over and trying to understand what you own, what you owe, and how to access your accounts.
So, do your children a favor. Create a list with account numbers and passwords so they know everything about your financial situation: assets, loans, mortgage payments, deeds, insurance policies, online account passwords, keys to safe deposit boxes, and so forth. And most important, be sure to tell them the safe place where the list is kept or how to access if an actual safe is used.
As we age, we never know when a life-altering event will occur. It is difficult to admit that we will need assistance sometime in the future, and a delicate subject to discuss with family members. But it is better to be prepared and avoid the stress, frustration, and chaos that the family would have to endure.
Make your list now and go over it with family members. Everyone will be so happy you did!!