Whether you’re single or married in California, if you have assets, it’s critical to create an emergency financial file with information about them and keep it updated. Doing so helps ensure they can be accessed if you pass away. Combining this action with the estate planning process is an excellent way to stay prepared.
Creating a financial file
If you have accounts with money or other valuable assets, creating a financial file that includes account names, login information and balances is essential. These accounts and data may include the following:
- PINs, usernames and passwords
- Checking and savings accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Auto, disability and life insurance policies
- Retirement accounts
Including important information such as your Social Security number, lines of credit, mortgages and loans is also critical. If you’ve completed estate planning, noting where your documents can be found, such as a will, trust or power of attorney designation, can be helpful.
Include your financial processes
If you have automated payments occurring, listing those accounts and a monthly budget helps ensure they continue to get paid. Including tax returns from previous years is also good as it references the income you’ve received.
Storing your emergency financial file
One of the best places to store your emergency financial file is in a fireproof safe. Having it in a safety deposit box can cause problems if the bank restricts access to it upon your death. If you don’t have a safe, give a copy to a trusted financial advisor or attorney.
Keep the file updated
Keeping your emergency financial file updated is critical. At a minimum, you’ll want to check it annually. Be sure to replace all documents with new ones, update usernames and passwords and add additional accounts and information when needed.
If you create an emergency financial file and alert a trusted professional or loved one to its whereabouts, handling your financial affairs and other essential matters will be much easier after you die.