No one wants to think about the unexpected, but bad things can happen and in the unfortunate event that one does, you or your loved ones want to be in a situation where you’re prepared to focus all of your energy on the matter at hand and not be worrying about paperwork or time off from work. Here are a few things you can do now to make things easier should an emergency ever happen in your home:
Organize your accounts. You don’t want to make it too easy for someone to access your accounts, but in the event of your death or an accident where you can’t access information yourself, it’s important that someone be able to do so on your behalf. If your spouse doesn’t handle financial matters, make sure you have an easy to access list of the institutions with which you bank and that their name is on accounts so that they can call to access them if necessary. You don’t want to store your passwords in an obvious place and online storage may make you susceptible to hacking, but making a list and keeping it in a safety deposit box may not be a bad idea.
Get a will and health care proxy. No one likes to think about dying, but in the event that it happens unexpectedly, you can save your heirs a lot of trouble by having the necessary documents in place, including a will, which will dictate how your assets are divided, and a health care proxy, which will appoint someone to make decisions about your health in the event that you are incapable. Both can prevent a lot of stress and disagreement among your loved ones.
Keep your beneficiaries up to date. If any of your retirement or investment accounts have an option for a beneficiary, this person will become the owner of the account no matter what your will says. This can be a good thing in that it allows people to quickly access funds they may need without having to wait for your estate to be settled. However, if you have any old beneficiaries listed such as an ex-spouse or a deceased family member or you haven’t listed any beneficiaries, make sure you review your accounts and update them.