Share financial info with family?

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Drengr
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Share financial info with family?

Post by Drengr » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:48 am

Wife and I survived an accident recently. It made us think about what would have happened to our kids (7yr & 4yr old) if we had passed away. Wife & I are lucky to have loving families on both sides who will not think twice about taking very good care of our kids. We listed my wife's sister as the legal guardian of our kids & my wife's brother as the executor of our will/living revocable trust.We want to provide them with enough details of our finances to help them not miss anything if both of us die at the same time in an accident.

I would appreciate feedback on how to/what details you share with your loved ones. Specifically,
1. Who do you share your financial information with? Parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, others?
2. Do you share just the custodian name (eg.Vanguard, Fidelity, AIG) and account number? Or do you share your usernames & passwords?
3. What other information do you share? We can think of the below information right away. What else are we missing?

1. Insurance policies (term life & disability)
2. Bank accounts & safety locker key
3. Investment accounts incl HSA, 529 etc.
4. Important documents (Will,Trust, house deed)

I manage all the financial aspects of my family and want to ensure that I pass on at least the critical financial information to the right people if wife and I pass away at the same time unexpectedly.

mmcmonster
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by mmcmonster » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:01 pm

What DW and I did is quietly tell the people we wanted to take care of our kids our wishes.

We then put together a will that names everyone important. We keep a copy of the will out in the open on a book shelf, so it's easy to find. It's in an official envelope and is clearly marked in large letters, so it's hard to miss. The envelope also includes a recent copy of all my investment assets (I keep an uptodate spreadsheet with this information for personal use) with the last 4 digits of the account numbers.

We figure that will keep things stable until everything goes through probate.

MotoTrojan
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:13 pm

Account/policy numbers seems sufficient. I wouldn't want to provide anyone with my passwords and bet this could do more harm than good, dead or alive.

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lthenderson
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:15 pm

My brother is the guardian of our children should the need arise. I have a list of all our accounts along with phone numbers in a folder that he knows where to find. I hesitate on adding account numbers, usernames and passwords should someone steal said folder, plus I change the passwords often so it would just be another thing to update. All our accounts our POD to our children so with a death certificate, SSN and phone number, he should be able to get those balls rolling just fine. Our other assets are dealt with in our will which is also in the same folder.

WillRetire
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by WillRetire » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:27 pm

We share nothing now, except: Where to find our wills & instructions. Instructions include list of assets, accounts & phone numbers.

See no reason to share the details now. Just where to find them.

With advancing age, will consider giving a family member "view" access to some accounts, as a 2nd pair of eyes.

Presintense
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by Presintense » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:29 pm

Drengr wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:48 am
Wife and I survived an accident recently. It made us think about what would have happened to our kids (7yr & 4yr old) if we had passed away. Wife & I are lucky to have loving families on both sides who will not think twice about taking very good care of our kids. We listed my wife's sister as the legal guardian of our kids & my wife's brother as the executor of our will/living revocable trust.We want to provide them with enough details of our finances to help them not miss anything if both of us die at the same time in an accident.

I would appreciate feedback on how to/what details you share with your loved ones. Specifically,
1. Who do you share your financial information with? Parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, others?
2. Do you share just the custodian name (eg.Vanguard, Fidelity, AIG) and account number? Or do you share your usernames & passwords?
3. What other information do you share? We can think of the below information right away. What else are we missing?

1. Insurance policies (term life & disability)
2. Bank accounts & safety locker key
3. Investment accounts incl HSA, 529 etc.
4. Important documents (Will,Trust, house deed)

I manage all the financial aspects of my family and want to ensure that I pass on at least the critical financial information to the right people if wife and I pass away at the same time unexpectedly.
Sorry to hear about your accident. Glad you are here to tell about it and hope your wife is well. Assuming your will/trust/directives are in order, I personally would not disclose anything to anyone that they don't need to know at the current time.
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MarkerFM
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by MarkerFM » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm

I keep a thumb drive in the top center desk drawers at both our places that contains a comprehensive list of all assets, all estate planning documents, scans of life insurance policies, and a password-protected password document allowing access to all accounts. My brother (trustee) knows where it is.

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FIREchief
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm

I recommend maintaining a concise listing of all financial accounts:
Custodian
Account type
Account number
Beneficiaries

Absolutely no need to record balances, usernames, passwords. A properly empowered personal representative or heir will only need the information listed above.

If wife's brother has agreed to serve as executor, I would provide him with a copy of will and living trust, and review the account listing with him (as well as letting him know where to find it). The time to answer any questions is now.
Last edited by FIREchief on Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

onourway
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by onourway » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm

Details are laid out in our will.

Names of financial institutions and types of accounts held there seems sufficient. Certainly do not share passwords as this could lead to abuse and it’s not legal to directly access your accounts in case of your death anyhow.

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FIREchief
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:33 pm

MarkerFM wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm
I keep a thumb drive in the top center desk drawers at both our places that contains …. a password-protected password document allowing access to all accounts.
How do you envision these passwords for account access being used?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

livesoft
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:34 pm

No data nor financial info are shared. We certainly asked the folks that were named as guardians and executors in our wills if that was OK with them. Our children are over 21 now, so even less concern about this.
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FIREchief
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:34 pm

onourway wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm
Details are laid out in our will.

Names of financial institutions and types of accounts held there seems sufficient. Certainly do not share passwords as this could lead to abuse and it’s not legal to directly access your accounts in case of your death anyhow.
Does your will really contain the names of financial institutions and types of accounts? If so, do you have to update your will in the event that you change or add custodians?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

onourway
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by onourway » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:35 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:34 pm
onourway wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm
Details are laid out in our will.

Names of financial institutions and types of accounts held there seems sufficient. Certainly do not share passwords as this could lead to abuse and it’s not legal to directly access your accounts in case of your death anyhow.
Does your will really contain the names of financial institutions and types of accounts? If so, do you have to update your will in the event that you change or add custodians?
No, not in our will. I agree that seems far too cumbersome. At home in a place they will be found would be sufficient.

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FIREchief
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:42 pm

onourway wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:35 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:34 pm
onourway wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm
Names of financial institutions and types of accounts held there seems sufficient.
Does your will really contain the names of financial institutions and types of accounts?
No, not in our will. I agree that seems far too cumbersome. At home in a place they will be found would be sufficient.
I've been told that it is important to also record account numbers for your executor/successor trustee. In most family situations, I can't envision a problem with this.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:14 pm

We share info with our daughters. Seems fair since we are counting on them as we age. Wouldn't be fair to expect them to have to pull things together if we need them.

Like so many decisions, it really depends on family dynamics. Thus far we haven't had a reason to not share.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

cherijoh
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by cherijoh » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:11 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:14 pm
We share info with our daughters. Seems fair since we are counting on them as we age. Wouldn't be fair to expect them to have to pull things together if we need them.

Like so many decisions, it really depends on family dynamics. Thus far we haven't had a reason to not share.

Broken Man 1999
My parents did the same after my brother & I were adults.

A friend had some challenges when her dad passed and neither she nor her mom had no clue about accounts and policies. Her mother didn't even know how to write a check or pay a bill and she was almost 70. :shock: My mom at least took care of day-to-day finances her entire life and only needed help with investments and taxes after my dad passed.

HomeStretch
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:18 pm

Our file contains copies of our wills and trust agreements, account listing, safe deposit box key, original financial and healthcare POAs/directives, and final arrangement forms.

Our executor and POA successors know where to find the file. We have not shared any financial details.

Ybsybs
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by Ybsybs » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:24 pm

I chose to print a letter that I have in a binder with our current wills and our trust document. I've told the person we've selected as guardian for our children that this letter exists, where to find it, and what to expect in it.

The letter is legally non-binding (I made sure of this with the lawyer who updated or wills and trust this year). In it I explain where we have money right now and what I would do with it and why if, somehow, I were around after my death to provide financial advice. It has suggestions about how to retitle my IRA, who to contact to go about converting my 401k into an IRA, the appropriate phone numbers to call to report the death of the account owner, the process (as of this year) for claiming funds as a beneficiary, and the current beneficiary details for the accounts.

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LinusP
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by LinusP » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:30 pm

I really liked the approach in the Nolo book, Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To. It helps you assemble a binder with all sorts of into, from "living will"-type stuff to financial accounts - the result is a step-by-step for an executor (or surviving spouse) to walk through.

When I bring up something financial with my wife, she'll often ask, "is that in the binder?", and I'll say, "oops, not yet - but it will be within a couple of days." I have a whole section in there on how she could simplify the investments if something were to happen to me.

I used to keep a list of usernames and passwords for an executor, but I've since realized that there's a process for these things, and it shouldn't be circumvented (except by legal means to avoid private).

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FIREchief
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:50 pm

LinusP wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:30 pm
When I bring up something financial with my wife, she'll often ask, "is that in the binder?", and I'll say, "oops, not yet - but it will be within a couple of days." I have a whole section in there on how she could simplify the investments if something were to happen to me.
Many of us have taken similar approaches. I went a step further and printed out "mark up" copies for designated heirs, and had them read the entire document and note any questions or items that were unclear. It's a WHOLE lot easier for me to answer questions and clarify for heirs now than when I'm in the great beyond. Collectively, the level of questions and feedback I received indicated that they each did, in fact, really read the document. 8-)
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

MarkerFM
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by MarkerFM » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:53 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:33 pm
MarkerFM wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm
I keep a thumb drive in the top center desk drawers at both our places that contains …. a password-protected password document allowing access to all accounts.
How do you envision these passwords for account access being used?
So the trustee (or wife) can access. I know some might get locked if they find out I'm dead, but most are trust accounts. Also there are airline and hotel accounts with lots of points/miles. A separate account contains a list of all assets with account numbers showing exact ownership. A treasure map if you will.

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FIREchief
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:53 pm

LinusP wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:30 pm
I used to keep a list of usernames and passwords for an executor, but I've since realized that there's a process for these things, and it shouldn't be circumvented (except by legal means...).
Exactly right!!! :beer
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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FIREchief
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:58 pm

MarkerFM wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:53 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:33 pm
MarkerFM wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:31 pm
I keep a thumb drive in the top center desk drawers at both our places that contains …. a password-protected password document allowing access to all accounts.
How do you envision these passwords for account access being used?
So the trustee (or wife) can access. I know some might get locked if they find out I'm dead, but most are trust accounts.
If your wife is a current trustee, she should be able to set up her own access at any time. Any successor trustee will need to work with the custodian to gain access under their own login credentials. It is never acceptable for anybody to use a decedent's credentials to login to a financial account.
Also there are airline and hotel accounts with lots of points/miles.
That one I can understand. Can American Airlines really show me the fine print that says that my poor deceased Aunt Sally was not allowed to buy me a plane ticket to her funeral? :P
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

fru-gal
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by fru-gal » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:11 pm

Drengr wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:48 am
1. Who do you share your financial information with? Parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, others?
2. Do you share just the custodian name (eg.Vanguard, Fidelity, AIG) and account number? Or do you share your usernames & passwords?
3. What other information do you share? We can think of the below information right away. What else are we missing?

1. Insurance policies (term life & disability)
2. Bank accounts & safety locker key
3. Investment accounts incl HSA, 529 etc.
4. Important documents (Will,Trust, house deed)
Only the executor/trustee of my will/trust. The first one in line gets all that information except the amounts in the accounts. That information is needed or the executor/trustee has to do a lot more work.

The people next in line as executor/trustees get copies of the will, trust, where appropriate the healthcare power of attorney and a sheet of paper that says where the safe deposit box is that has a copy of all the information given to the first person in line.

The first in line and I own the safe deposit box mutually.

FOGU
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by FOGU » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:28 pm

I have a will and and trust set up for my survivors, my wife and minor children, in the event of my untimely demise.

The trustee/executor and backup trustee/executor have the personal identification information for my survivors, Social Security numbers, etc., but really no other details.

I do not share accounts, amounts or any other financial information. I see no need to share financial details with them. We are close, though, so what they find probably won't be any great surprise. Among my people nobody ever asks for details and nobody volunteers, except to some limited degree relevant to a specific point.

I have a packet in a safe place with copies of all important documents and information, account numbers, insurance policy documents, real estate holdings, etc. In the event of my untimely demise my wife has instructions to give the information to the trustee/executor. If we perish together the trustee/executors know where to find the packet.

I am careful to maintain all necessary information current and organized.

My father prepared a lot of wills as an attorney and he often used his children as witnesses. His favorite joke at the will signing was, "Just because you have a will now doesn't mean you have to use it." Hardy har har.
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michaeljc70
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:49 am

My grandparents had a binder that had copies of any life insurance policies, copies of annuity contracts, a statement for each bank account and CD, a statement for each investment account and things like that. My father (the contingent trustee, it was all in a trust) was shown the binder and knew where it was. If you don't want to share this information with anyone, it can be kept in a safe deposit box or somewhere else you know it would be found if you died.

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nisiprius
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Re: Share financial info with family?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:22 am

1) About once a year, I ask my wife to name, from memory, the names of all the financial institutions, brokerages, insurance companies at which we have assets. I figure that simply knowing that "there's an account at Vanguard" and a Social Security number, the chances of being able to get to the assets is pretty good.

2) I resist any suggestions to opt voluntarily for electronic statements. In my personal experience, several times, mailed paper statements have alerted survivors to assets they hadn't known about.

3) No matter how organized you think you are, people may not be able to get to your electronic accounts. Again, I have known several failures at doing this. I suggest not relying on the idea that someone else can get into your computer and access your half-a-dozen financial accounts. If you believe they can, you absolutely need to test that a few times a year. I think you'll be shocked at just how often your family members gets blocked by an "Oh, I-forgot-to-tell-you." (Like a website sending a "password reset" or a "one-time passcode" to an old email address you forgot to change, that you hardly ever use, that you know the password for but that you forgot to put on that neatly organized list.) Or the website wants answers to "security questions" because it's being accessed from your family member's computer instead of yours. Or it wants to send a two-factor-authentication message to a cell phone and you forgot to tell them the "unlock" pattern.

One person I know failed to get access to a deceased person's computer because they were only allowed in for an hour, and the battery in the wireless mouse and keyboard had gone dead.

4) About once a year, I send my adult children the "creepy death email," in which, again, I simply list the financial institutions we have assets at, and a very rough indication of how much money is there.

5) Something I've not been good about, so this is a "do as I say, not as I do." It is almost as important to destroy, or clearly mark, any pieces of paper for closed accounts, so that heirs don't waste time trying to figure out whether they could still be active or not.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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