What would happen when you or your spouse dies? What challenges will your family face? Most people do not have a plan which will lead to an immediate crisis. This leaves surviving family members with burdens and stresses. Whether your financial assets or your funeral preferences have a plan in advance. In Bridge on the River Kwai, Jack Hawkins said, “there is always the unexpected.”

When unprepared, quality decision-making is impaired. 

Reasons ‘why’ you should plan before you become frail, have dementia, or need caregiving services. 

Crisis for the Family

Family or friends or a trusted fiduciary need to know where your important documents are located, whether in digital files or in folders where they may be easily found.

Prepare for Financial Considerations

Estimate how much a funeral and service will cost. Have an estate plan which appoints an executor who has the power to access your financial accounts and permission for financial institutions to provide them with passwords if not known. 

Your Personal Plan

Explain the type of memorial service, casket, headstone, and burial you want. Write everything down to make planning easy for your family.

Create Your Financial Profile and Let People who where your information is located

Even though you know all the details of your financial situation, assume that family, friends, or a trusted fiduciary do not have the knowledge or access to your financial information or know whether to find it in your documents. 

Documents should include:

  • A phone tree for key family and advisors to call when you need them
  • Insurance policies, long term care plan, and account information
  • Bank accounts, including CDs and GICs
  • Investments, including RRSPs
  • Debts, including current balance
  •  Assets or liabilities
  • Insurance documents, i.e. Health, Long-Term Care Benefits, and Life Insurance
  • Names of doctors, wealth advisor, accountant, attorney, and other advisors. 
  • Passwords or have a power of attorney to authorize your executor or fiduciary permission to receive passwords. 

Preserve Your Digital Legacy

Have a record of your financial accounts, usernames, passwords, and security questions. I recommend writing them down in a notebook or your digital files for each account name on the file web portal, including the website, username, password, and account number. Usernames seldom change, but passwords may be changed periodically.