Create Your Emergency Money List

December 28, 2018

If you are married, it is likely that either you or your spouse assume primary responsibility for financial matters, like paying your bills, filing your tax returns, choosing your investments, buying insurance, and applying for loans.  If you are single, then you are probably the only person who knows everything about your finances.  In either case, what happens when the primary money manager is gone?  A family member or friend will need to piece together your financial puzzle, piece by piece, until a complete picture emerges.

In order to avoid putting this burden on your family or friends, you can create an emergency money list now.  If you have worked with Ruder Ware to prepare your estate plan, you may have a jump start on preparing your list.  Some of our attorneys ask you to complete a questionnaire before coming to your first meeting with us so that we have some essential information about you and can make estate planning recommendations that are tailored to your finances and life circumstances.  Your financial advisor may have requested that you complete a similar task.  However, if you don’t have an emergency money list, it is essential that you prepare one.

Here are a few ideas regarding what information to include on your list:

  1. Names, phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, birth dates, and social security numbers for members of your immediate family.
  2. Names, phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail addresses for your closest relatives and friends.
  3. Names, phone numbers, addresses, and e-mail addresses of your professional advisors, including your attorney, accountant, life insurance agent, financial planner, doctor, and any other advisors.
  4. Information about your primary residence, cabins or cottages, and other residential and commercial real estate holdings, including the record owners of each property and the adjusted basis in each property.
  5. Your mortgage and homeowner’s insurance information, including the name and phone number of the lender as well as the loan or policy numbers.
  6. Information about your cars and auto insurer, including the model numbers, the name and phone number of the insurer, and the policy numbers.
  7. Information about your business interests, including the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the companies and the nature of your interests in the companies.
  8. Information about your life, disability, health, long-term care, and any other insurance, including the names and phone numbers of the insurers and the policy numbers.
  9. Your bank and credit card account information, including the types of accounts, account numbers, and names, phone numbers, and addresses for the financial institutions where the accounts are held.
  10. Information about retirement accounts, pensions, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other investment accounts, including the account owner, types of accounts, account numbers, and names, phone numbers, and addresses for the companies or brokerage firms where the investments are held.
  11. Where to find the records or account information that corresponds to each of the items on your list, plus other important records like tax returns, receipts for charitable contributions, and estate planning documents.

When the money manager is gone, your emergency money list will be a valuable tool in administering your estate.  The list can provide family or friends with nearly all of the information they need within the first few days of a person’s incapacity or death, while saving them from the burden of needing to search for the information.

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