I consider myself a pretty organized person. However, as in most households, there is a separation of duties that takes place. One of you pays the bills for the mortgage, the other handles the bank accounts and investments. You take certain things for granted. I was in a discussion with Mary one day when it dawned on me that there were a lot of things that she would not know or be unable to access if I died. I looked around for a solution as I am preparing to die and I now have a file I keep in a desktop folder labeled Dealing With Death.
In the folder is a list of computer passwords and PIN numbers for all of the web sites that we access on a regular basis. This includes Amazon, Ebay, the bank, investments, etc. There are over 75 of them. It also includes the garage door opener code and other security items like keys and combinations.
I have another spreadsheet that includes all of the bills that we pay, who we pay them to and how much the payments are, including monthly automatic payments, the amount and where they are coming from. Someone will have to pay the bills after you die or contact people to discontinue services.
Life insurance information, major assets owned, bank accounts and investment accounts are all spelled out on separate spread sheets. A sheet titled estate contacts then lists the names and numbers of the lawyer, doctor, dentist, financial planner, life insurance agent, insurance agent for house and cars, contact for pension plan and the accountant.
The last sheet is one of the most important. It is the survivor checklist. When someone dies, there is a lot of commotion and chaos. People are coming and going and then it becomes very quiet. If you are the only one left in the house, this checklist will help you get organized and acclimated again. It will also track who is doing what task, if someone is helping you. Click to view example.
Survivor’s Check List
You can put on this spreadsheet whatever you like. Mine covers tasks such as getting a notebook to record gifts, cards, and visits, reading the will and funeral wishes of the deceased, contacting the funeral home, contacting the people on the estate contact spreadsheet, contacting Social Security, contacting the pension provider, making arrangements for the house, plants, and pets to be cared for, contacting family and friends and taking care of thank you cards. You can arrange this list in any order that you want and revise it with names and numbers as you wish. You can also go over it with your partner, spouse, or family members and show them where you keep it.