So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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miket29
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So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by miket29 »

Having recently been forced to face up to mortality via unfortunate health test results, I'm wondering what people do to help their next-of-kin and executors find all their accounts and bills? I have siblings so I've been putting together a letter outlining where to look, but I wonder if there's a better option. Back in the day monthly bills and statements would show up in the mail so that would give an idea, but these days so many things are auto-billed. And even for those who are married, if one spouse passes first then the second is effectively single as far as closing out accounts and the like goes.
Lee_WSP
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Lee_WSP »

You'll want an open upon death folder with all that information and then some.
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FIREchief
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by FIREchief »

Lee_WSP wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:24 pm You'll want an open upon death folder with all that information and then some.
+1. The fact that the OP is thinking about this is a good sign. Summary listings of accounts, credit cards, monthly payment liabilities, etc. can make the job much easier. All of our bills are paid by either EFT from the bank (pull by the biller) or auto billing to our credit cards. Only the most benign (cell phone and cable) require the credit card to remain active. Come to think of it, it may be time to switch the cell phone to EFT to ensure continuity (it's a trust checking account, so won't close upon death). I have our insurance all auto-bill to our checking account, but generally pay them by credit card a few days prior to due date to get the 2% cash back.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
Gnirk
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Gnirk »

I have a binder with all the details of my investment accounts, credit cards, bills and how they are paid, medical insurance, passwords, etc., under lock and key. My husband and my daughters know where it is and where to find the key.
Scotttheking
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Scotttheking »

Letter listing institutions and other info.
Patzer
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Patzer »

My will has a supplement with a list of all account numbers, and I have a copy of it with a few trusted people.
I also have my email account set to send an email and give access to my executor if I have not logged into it within 6 months.

My executor is not my significant other, so the chance of us both dying at the same time is significantly lower.
Last edited by Patzer on Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Traveller
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Traveller »

I keep a binder in my home office that includes all relevant info including accounts, contacts, insurance, copy of our wills, passwords, combo to the safe, our budget (which shows all our monthly bills), etc. My spouse and siblings know where it is.
AlohaJoe
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by AlohaJoe »

miket29 wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:15 pm Having recently been forced to face up to mortality via unfortunate health test results, I'm wondering what people do to help their next-of-kin and executors find all their accounts and bills?
Vanguard has a "Your Personal Financial Inventory" PDF for documenting this kind of thing.

https://investor.vanguard.com/family-le ... dge-center

(It's under "Financial Planning" on that page.)

There are many, many other templates out there with varying levels of detail.

The Big Book of Everything is the most comprehensive one I've seen (it is way too detailed for my tastes but at least it gives you an idea of things to think about)

http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbook.htm

Honestly, just relying on mail was always a bad idea since there were always a lot of issues that wouldn't have a ready answer in mail. You need to tell whoever is managing your estate how to contact people (Facebook? Facetime? Zoom? Whatsapp? Email?) How you want various things handled. (Organs donated? Cremation or burial?)

There have been a number of threads over the years about this. From a quick search:

viewtopic.php?t=215005
viewtopic.php?t=217241
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billthecat
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by billthecat »

I document it all in an encrypted document shared with others via cloud file sharing, and the password is printed and stored with my will in a folder.
Last edited by billthecat on Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:15 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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phxjcc
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by phxjcc »

My spouse knows where everything is, including a "just in case" letter that has all the bills and bank account info.
A spreadsheet is kept by both of use regarding bills and what gets paid by what account and how...push/pull, when and how much and what account.

If we both die, I don't care.

What's the worse that can happen?

My credit rating takes a hit?
The utilities are turned off?
The insurance gets cancelled?
Gardner's and pool men not get paid?

None of this will happen as the paying accounts are on autopilot for at least 6 months.
We each keep one [interested paying] income/cash account that feeds the paying accounts, this is automated.
{Not on Autopilot--->Medicare Insurance, because of the nightmare I went through with Blue Cross when a relative died and it took 5 months to get $329 back from those *expletive'ing* "expletives"; eventually writing to the CLO and threatening litigation.}
One paying account per property--so that the Chateau in the Loire will not impact the Caribbean private island and that will not impact the ranch in Jackson Hole nor the golf house on 17 mile drive.
:beer
The cash accounts will *maybe* run out of money eventually--as SS and pensions get terminated on death.
However, they are fed by RMD's and rental income.

Heirs can figure it out.

If not, I won't care.

Note: Some//many BH'ers will say that I am wasting a lot of interest/earning capacity as I keep 6 months of run rate in cash.

Fine--but I don't care.
:shock:

I sleep fine--and don't need to worry if I have enough to cover expenses.

I recommend this approach.
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ApeAttack
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by ApeAttack »

Here is a thread I started a while ago that has a lot of useful comments and links from the BH community. In short, simply create a document that outlines all your finances, account info, passwords, etc... and let someone you trust know where to find it. I call it a "death package." :P

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=336298
Just another lazy index investor who recently found out about I-Bonds (https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/ibonds/res_ibonds.htm).
Luckywon
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Luckywon »

FIREchief wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:32 pm .....(it's a trust checking account, so won't close upon death).
When I was successor trustee for a relative with a RLT account at Bank of America, Bank of America froze the trust account upon learning of the grantor’s death. After I provided them with the now irrevocable trust EIN, they moved the holdings into a new account, with title to me as successor trustee. If I recall correctly, the process took about three weeks and many hours of my time, with Bank of America unresponsive and obstructive all the way. Point being, debiting to a trust account will not assure continuity, at least at B of A.
Viking65
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Viking65 »

Sorry to hear about your bad news.

There have been several threads on this over the years. As has been mentioned, the Death Book thread is very extensive:
viewtopic.php?t=119346

The Estate Planning Wiki (https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Estate_planning) also contains some of this.

For my part, I maintain a VIN (Very Important Numbers) spreadsheet containing 4 worksheets organized as the following:
1. Key Information - social security numbers, drivers licenses, passport numbers, banking info and account numbers, investment accounts, retirement assets, education funds, real estate, life insurance, etc.
2. Utilities/Credit Card info, property taxes, insurance (car, house, other), frequent flyer, etc.
3. Key Contacts - immediate family members, lawyers, family doctors, investment advisor, HR manager if you are working, embassy contact if you are expat, etc.
4. Other Contacts - those you would want informed in case of your demise

I revisit this and update it (roughly) once a year, or upon a major life event (when we updated our wills and established our revocable trusts for example).

All of my online login info is stored in a password manager (most recently 1Password for me), with the key (literally the key to the kingdom) provided to spouse and a couple very trusted family members.

My advice is just to start getting this info written down in any way that works for you. Begin with the low hanging fruit, and then every time you revisit the document/spreadsheet, you will keep finding more things to add making it more comprehensive and useful for those left behind.
Good Luck.
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buystoys
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by buystoys »

I have it all in a spread sheet along with my answers to commonly asked questions for validation. I send it to DH and my executrix every time I update it.
jebmke
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by jebmke »

I have master lists. All the accounts, all the direct debits and deposits, all the subscriptions including online. Separate list also for all the income tax docs that are received and when to expect them. This latter list is also used as a checklist for tax prep and for an active file I keep a change log that lists what is entered and what isn’t so someone could continue where I left off if necessary.

Separate listing of the tax basis for all taxable assets.

It is a thin notebook on top of the wills in my desk along with a duplicate key to the wine cabinet.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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nisiprius
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by nisiprius »

Let me lead off with what I think is an important detail. Be sure you have a plan for your executor to find the original of your will. The original. Since estate law is state law and varies, this is one of the specifics detail to discuss carefully with a lawyer. The likely situation is that there is only one original, that original is legally different from every copy--even a copy with original ink signatures of all witnesses. And that, depending, if the executor can't find The. Original. it might be no big deal, or it might cost in the mid five figures in legal expenses. On the other hand, it's only a minor nuisance and expense to create a whole new will if the old one is lost e.g. in a fire. In other words, get rid of the mindset that "this original will is a valuable paper that must be locked up in a secret safe place."

The right mindset is "this original will is something that must be found quickly, so it should be in the first place someone would think to look. I'm going to tell everyone--not just the executor--where it is, and send them an email, but even if they forget, it is in the first place anyone would look." (The file cabinet next to my desk, in the drawer with the Post-It note that says "will," in the frontmost folder).

My theory is that you need a plan by which the executor can find everything even if the information you've given them is incomplete or out of date. It's not a problem of organizing and compiling information. It's a problem of a strategy that is robust enough to tolerate disorganized and incomplete information.

Don't think "diligently organized," think "robust and antifragile."

The problem with all answers that involve writing a letter, burning a CD, maintaining a spreadsheet, buying a preorganized binder of pockets and prelabelled tabs etc. is that things change. Keeping such a document up-to-date and distributing it is a chore roughly equivalent to filing a simple tax return. And it is very likely to get neglected toward the end. A sad situation I've literally personally observed twice is recordkeeping that starts out organized and ends with a shoebox full of unopened envelopes.

As a prudent planning assumption, I think it is best to assume that your executor is not going to find anything that only exists in electronic form, in a computer or on the Internet. Why do I think this? Because of an incident within my circle of personal knowledge. Access to the deceased's apartment was restricted because the person had died alone, and been found by police, who transported body to the medical examiner and sealed the apartment. The executor was only allowed access for an hour under police supervision--and when that situation was resolved, there was a tight deadline on getting the apartment vacated and cleaned out. By the time they got to the computer, the battery in the wireless mouse and keyboard were dead, and when that was resolved nobody knew the password to the deceased's computer. And it was not a situation where anyone had physical storage to keep a desktop computer around for further effort.

In addition to knowing what you have, it is helpful to give people an explicit list of things you do not have. For example, we do not have any life insurance in force. As a packrat, I find it hard to part with old papers that were important and I have not done a good job of keeping them for the right number of years and then disposing of them. I think I have scribbled "expired" and "cancelled" on them... I hope. It was only a couple of years ago I realized that I still had a checkbook for a money market account I once had, at a brokerage that no longer exists. It was not sparking joy any more, so I thanked it for its service and shredded it.

I don't have any good answers. One thing I really do is, about once a year, I ask my wife to recite from memory the names of every important financial institution we use. Just the names of the institution. I figure that knowing the Social Security number of the account holder is enough if you know that the account exists. I always get shouted down on this by youngsters but I believe that mailed paper statements are an important "antifragility" measure and I'll continue to demand them as long as I can do it with no out-of-pocket cost. Not only have I and other people discovered the existence of important accounts through the arrival of a mailed statement, but it also constantly refreshes my wife's memory of the list of accounts.
Last edited by nisiprius on Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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snackdog
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by snackdog »

All they need is the passwords to your phone and PC. With both of those they can access email (including archives) and all the bookmarked accounts and use Chrome passwords or reset them via email or phone.
Explorer
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Explorer »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:48 am

I don't have any good answers. One thing I really do is, about once a year, I ask my wife to recite from memory the names of every important financial institution we use. Just the names of the institution. I figure that knowing the Social Security number of the account holder is enough if you know that the account exists.
Best advice so far.. this is what I follow with my wife and kids. In fact more often than yearly. Recite the names of the financial institutions. I also encourage my adult kids to have accounts in the same places I/wife hold accounts that way it is even more better

The family knows where the original will is and everyone has access to that safe box.
deltaneutral83
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by deltaneutral83 »

In person conversation that takes 10 minutes to disclose all accounts, numbers, usernames, email, and institutions with your executor updated when there is a material change. Plus a word doc with same info in folder. Password to your primary email hidden and released upon death so executor can reset passwords from all accounts and have immediate access to all accounts without all the paperwork. Probably helps if your executor is an adult child. Assume also in this example that there is no spouse as I assume spouse would have all the info.
jebmke
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by jebmke »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:48 am I don't have any good answers.
One part of a good answer is to keep things as simple as possible. Every time I get a chance I try to simplify the entire financial situation. I took more steps during the pandemic - partly because I had time on my hands and partly because of the increased risk that it matters.

The financial part was already pretty easy and done. One investment custodian, two banks, three credit cards.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Big Dog
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Big Dog »

Back in the day monthly bills and statements would show up in the mail so that would give an idea, but these days so many things are auto-billed.
Even tho I have much stuff on auto-bill, I still require that the vendor/utility send a statement snail mail. With Vanguard, it's all tax statements.

Make sure that the most recent tax return(s) is in hardcopy and accessible, including 1099's and W2's. (When my step-dad passed last October, I found an old interest 1099 from a credit union that everyone had forgotten about. It contained $6k...)
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Watty
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Watty »

In your "If I die folder" one thing that would be good to have is a list of people to notify about your funeral so they can attend if they want to.

When my dad died my mom knew who would want to know about the funeral.

Later when my mom died it was a lot different since my siblings and I all lived in different cities and did not know everyone who would want to know and we did not have a lot of peoples current contact information.
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Marmot
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Marmot »

I didn't read the entire string, We have an excel spreadsheet with accounts and contacts. I don't know where to start so I will start in the middle. For simplicity where needed contact numbers, account numbers, contact names and email addresses are noted. We have 6 properties in two states. I have a tab for each property that lists who we pay for electricity, water and so forth. Included are account numbers and contact points. Each property also lists insurance provider, HOA, cable, internet provider and who to contact that is familiar with the property (our property manager for instance).
I have a tab for our information. All of our financial related accounts: banks with contact and account numbers, credit cards, vehicles, insurers. We list debt or no debt for most assets (cars , properties).
Side note: I was reading a string the other day where someone have 30+ credit cards. Can you imagine cleaning that up as a trustee?
We have an RV at a storage facility - can you imagine trying to figure out where it was if you really didn't know. Its a once a year payment, so not easily found in records :happy

We noted a personal loan that we made.

Two things I have learned:
1) I was recently trustee for my fathers estate. Thank god he was organized and my sister lived in his house since he went in a long term care facility. Because of that she knew everything about bills and so forth. We live many states away and no one is familiar with all of facets of our lives.
2) We had a friend who lost his spouse. He didn't know the password to his spouses computer or any passwords for his spouses accounts.

We saw our future trustees last weekend. I gave them a card with our estate attorney's name the password to our computers and our password for our "password" manager software. Additionally we have everything in scansnap.

The spreadsheet is currently under development. Once we get it "done", We can update it once a year. I can't imaging much work on it once the setup phase is completed. We will make sure they get a new version either on a thumbdrive or some other secure way.
Marty....don't go to the year 2020....Dr. Emmett Brown
lazynovice
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by lazynovice »

A lot of good tips in this thread. I have been on a mission to make things as simple as I can but there are still a few things I had not thought of.

In our case, we have consolidated accounts to as few institutions as possible. We have always kept a list of all accounts with account numbers, etc. That includes life insurance policies etc. It also includes credit cards. We have a file each of us can get to with log ins and passwords.

After the untimely death of a co-worker I drafted a document for my husband of everything I think he needs to do. Closing accounts, contacting Fidelity about step up in basis, following up with HR at my company because if I die early in the year, I will likely be owed last year’s bonus and if I die late in the year, I automatically vest in that year’s bonus that won’t be paid until the following year. (Some people have PTO banks that should be paid out.) Reminding him that he will be eligible for SS survivor’s benefits as young as 60. Telling him to sell and consolidate holdings as soon as the step up in basis is done because for him, I think the best thing is to just buy a Target Date fund in every account, taxes be damned. Also, since I won’t be preparing taxes anymore, he’ll want an accountant but make sure you don’t lose sight of our tax loss carry forward- if we are allowed to keep it.

I have showed the adult kids everything in case we both die. Mostly they don’t want to talk about it, but they’ve seen it. They know it is there. But to an earlier point, they don’t know my laptop password so I need to make it easier to find. Our wills are in the fire safe. So to an earlier point, I need to put them in the desk.
“I didn’t want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died.” Nomadland
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by OldBallCoach »

We have what we call the Black Binders of O Shi!!! We dead. We have two binders that cover EVERY detail of everything we own, how to dispose of us and all the legal mumbo jumbo and is clear. Account lists, deeds, titles, keys, its all there...We meet about once a year to go over all of it with two of our kids that will be taking care of the deal with help from our family attorney. All the kids know who gets what when where and all the focus can be on getting us planted and moving on. Rob Berger had a great podcast/youtube video on this a few years ago and it is worth a look. We keep these binders in a safe and all the kids know the combo and where it is located. Out attorney has all the details as well but the two kids agree they would rather do most of this themselves. it is important to be sure and update your binders when things change of course but I feel like there are SO MANY things to get done that the least we can do is help them find it all. No one needs a mess after a death. We also have two of our kids on our checking account so they can pay for things as the deal gets settled...no one lives for ever but you can exit with some class.
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by lazynovice »

If leaving lists of passwords, don’t forget the code to unlock your cell phone.
“I didn’t want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died.” Nomadland
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CyclingDuo
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by CyclingDuo »

lazynovice wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:14 amIf leaving lists of passwords, don’t forget the code to unlock your cell phone.
If an iPhone, you can always add an alternate Finger ID or an alternate Face ID so that both spouses can get into each other's devices in the event one becomes incapacitated or expired. Or you can add a family member beneficiary as well. Likewise, on a laptop or desktop or iPad you can add additional users, ID Touch with a copy of something like Vanguard's Personal Financial Inventory or the Big Book, etc.... as suggested so that both spouses or even another family member can have access.

CyclingDuo
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vfinx
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by vfinx »

Patzer wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:35 pm I also have my email account set to send an email and give access to my executor if I have not logged into it within 6 months.
That sounds like a great idea. How does one do this?
lazynovice
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by lazynovice »

This one is minor, but Facebook has a “legacy contact” in settings. You designate someone who can control your account after you die. It prevents friends from getting those messages to wish you a happy birthday every year. And crooks from using your account to hack other people. I got a friend request from a friend’s mother who died in 2012 last week.

To Watty’s point earlier, it might let your executor notify Facebook friends of your death. Not sure.
“I didn’t want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died.” Nomadland
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by tibbitts »

vfinx wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:45 am
Patzer wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:35 pm I also have my email account set to send an email and give access to my executor if I have not logged into it within 6 months.
That sounds like a great idea. How does one do this?
Yes, that definitely sounds interesting - what kind of email is this?
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by fourwheelcycle »

AlohaJoe wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:36 pm
Vanguard has a "Your Personal Financial Inventory" PDF for documenting this kind of thing.

https://investor.vanguard.com/family-le ... dge-center

(It's under "Financial Planning" on that page.)
Thanks - I've downloaded the PDF!

This is a helpful thread. I do most of the finances in our family and I have a plan to document our estate documents and banking/investment accounts for our executor. However, my wife pays all of the bills and we also have a lot of auto-debit bills set up, including our home, car and umbrella insurances, her health club, and my Medicare Plan G. When I read this thread, I realized I do not have a master list of all of our credit cards, how they are billed, and our myriad of other expenses, including a very few that are paid by check, many that are bill pay, and some that are auto-debit. Although my wife and I do all of our non-investing finances from a joint BoA account, bill pay is only set up under her sign-in for the account - I do not see it and I do not know how to use it!

I thought I had our "death letter" documentation all set up, but I see I have some work to do on our billed expenses.
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by carolinaman »

I am amazed at how complicated our financial life is despite my efforts to simplify it. I have a paper folder with documentation for all our financial accounts, most are paid online thru bank account or CC. There is a thumb drive with all of this info plus other relevant info such as tax returns, tax planning and more. I also have list of investment accounts, estate documents, all insurance and more.

I have a 2 page letter that lists all actions to be taken upon my death ranging from funeral plans, obituary, who to inform (pensions, SS, friends, family, etc.), what to cancel (cell phone, memberships, subscriptions, accounts, etc.), tax planning and implications including RMDs, QCDs, tax payments, review with attorney and financial adviser, passwords to all electronic files and accounts. I have more detailed lists and explanation for those items requiring it. I have written this in "plain English" or as plain as I can. This has been a work in process and I intend to review with wife and 2 children this summer.

BTW, the document will require periodic updating as our financial lives are stable but do change with addition/deletion of payment accounts, etc.
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Don_Qua »

When my Mother passed away she had already been in the hospital for several months. I arrived at her house to find a letter from the power company threatened a turn off of service due for non payment of the bill. She had given me a small list of her passwords years earlier that I kept in my wallet and I was able to get into her checking account electronically and immediately pay the power bill. Those passwords were immensely helpful.

I pay all of the bills at my house, to prepare for my demise I've prepared a spreadsheet of all account numbers and passwords for my wife. I keep a copy on a thumb drive in our home safe. I also keep a password protected copy on a small thumb drive on my key ring, which I keep on a chain clipped to a belt loop. Keeping these in synch when I add an account or have to change a password has proven to be no big deal for me. Thanks to my Mom's example I had minimal trouble settling her affairs and I want to spare my wife any of those problems.
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anon_investor
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by anon_investor »

tibbitts wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:07 am
vfinx wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:45 am
Patzer wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:35 pm I also have my email account set to send an email and give access to my executor if I have not logged into it within 6 months.
That sounds like a great idea. How does one do this?
Yes, that definitely sounds interesting - what kind of email is this?
+1, how does this work?
lazynovice
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by lazynovice »

anon_investor wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:44 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:07 am
vfinx wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:45 am
Patzer wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:35 pm I also have my email account set to send an email and give access to my executor if I have not logged into it within 6 months.
That sounds like a great idea. How does one do this?
Yes, that definitely sounds interesting - what kind of email is this?
+1, how does this work?
Looks like Google has this:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to- ... -address-7
“I didn’t want my sailboat to be in the driveway when I died.” Nomadland
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jpsfranks
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by jpsfranks »

Some password managers (e.g. LastPass, Bitwarden) have an "Emergency Access" feature where you designate a contact who can request access to your vault in the event of an emergency. An access request from an emergency contact will generate a notification to you. If you are around to receive the notification you can approve or deny it. If you do not respond (say because you are dead/incapacitated) then access is granted automatically after a waiting period.
jak3812
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by jak3812 »

lazynovice wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:50 am
anon_investor wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:44 am
tibbitts wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 10:07 am
vfinx wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:45 am
Patzer wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:35 pm I also have my email account set to send an email and give access to my executor if I have not logged into it within 6 months.
That sounds like a great idea. How does one do this?
Yes, that definitely sounds interesting - what kind of email is this?
+1, how does this work?
Looks like Google has this:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to- ... -address-7
I think the Business Insider article is inaccurate. I found this for Google:

About Inactive Account Manager: https://support.google.com/accounts/ans ... 6546?hl=en
Direct link to setup (must be logged in): https://myaccount.google.com/inactive
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FIREchief
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by FIREchief »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:48 am In addition to knowing what you have, it is helpful to give people an explicit list of things you do not have. For example, we do not have any life insurance in force.
This is an excellent point. I used to have life insurance and paper savings bonds. I cancelled both. I've noted this in my Financial-Estate-End of Life Planning document so that nobody feels compelled to look for them.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
Tom_T
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Tom_T »

Bogleheads are on top of everything, so this advice probably doesn't apply, but... go to your state's "unclaimed funds" search site and see if there's something you forgot about. Also for any other states you lived in. My late sister-in-law had bank accounts scattered in three different states. The estate attorney had to spend some time tracking everything down, contacting the banks, and so on. Save them the trouble and grab your money yourself!

One other tip. Her late husband had left her some life insurance which she didn't know about. So, when she passed, and this policy was discovered, the insurer required a copy of his death certificate from seven years' prior. Luckily we found it buried in a folder in an overstuffed file cabinet in her house.
alfaspider
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by alfaspider »

I made an appendix to my will with a list of accounts and their approximate balances that I update from time to time.
golf101
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by golf101 »

https://cameronhuddleston.com/download/75254/

I have filled this out for myself so my husband (or executor if we happen to die together) knows where everything is. I’ve also given this to my mom in the hopes she will fill it out. And also plan to ask the in-laws (who won’t share a thing with my husband, the executor) with the hopes we can get a little information to at least be able to pay some bills after they are gone.
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FIREchief
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by FIREchief »

Luckywon wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:21 am
FIREchief wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:32 pm .....(it's a trust checking account, so won't close upon death).
When I was successor trustee for a relative with a RLT account at Bank of America, Bank of America froze the trust account upon learning of the grantor’s death. After I provided them with the now irrevocable trust EIN, they moved the holdings into a new account, with title to me as successor trustee. If I recall correctly, the process took about three weeks and many hours of my time, with Bank of America unresponsive and obstructive all the way. Point being, debiting to a trust account will not assure continuity, at least at B of A.
That's a good point. As we've mentioned from time to time in these threads, it sometimes can help to not be too quick to notify custodians of deaths. That gives the executor/trustee time to proactively set up new accounts and redirect auto billings.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
SimonJester
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by SimonJester »

Having dealt with this for my FIL who passed suddenly & unexpectedly, I will provide my insights...

Generally my wife and I had an idea of what bills there should be and what needed to get paid immediately.

There was NOTHING anyone can do bill wise until the courts appoint you as executor of the estate.

One we had that squared away, we took care of utilities and started contacting various companies to close our services.

For some things we waited for bills to show up in the mail and dealt with them.

Nothing was organized, we had boxes and boxes and boxes of paperwork dating back 40 years. We shredded a TON of paperwork that was not needed.

My recommendation try to get things down to a single banker box in a single location. Having a list of accounts and what they are with your will, make sure your executor know where your will is located.

We searched for weeks for a life insurance policy that he supposedly had that we never did find... Who knows.

Years later after his estate was settled my wife received a check for some money left over in his unemployment account.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
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miket29
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by miket29 »

thanks everyone for the tips and links to forms. There were a few things I hadn't thought of.
hudson
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by hudson »

I send a yearly email with the location of my will and final documents, list of holdings, and other papers...to those who will need it.
They have access to my safe deposit box. The keys will be available to them when I pass. They have a copy of all of my final papers.
OpenMinded1
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by OpenMinded1 »

golf101 wrote: Wed Jun 09, 2021 2:33 pm https://cameronhuddleston.com/download/75254/

I have filled this out for myself so my husband (or executor if we happen to die together) knows where everything is. I’ve also given this to my mom in the hopes she will fill it out. And also plan to ask the in-laws (who won’t share a thing with my husband, the executor) with the hopes we can get a little information to at least be able to pay some bills after they are gone.
Maybe I'm a little paranoid, but part of me thinks that's great, the other part thinks maybe not because god help you if it falls into the wrong hands. Passwords, account numbers, addresses, names, social security numbers, amounts, driver's license numbers all together in one document. I guess this applies to some of the other responses also. Does your executor already have a copy, or have you just told them where they can find it? I think giving something like this to an executor before your death could be a security issue. Maybe you can trust your executor, but what about other people that enter their house, if that's where they keep it. Does their house have a security system? What if they die before you, and their executor comes into the house and finds it. For those of you that keep things like this in a safe in the house, if it's a small safe, would someone be able to just loosen or saw off a few bolts and carry it out. Maybe it's not even bolted down. I ask because a safe would probably get a robber's attention. He or she is going to think there's probably something worth steeling in it.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Maybe giving part of the info to an executor ahead of time, and keeping the remainder at home. My way of thinking about this is influenced by the fact that the house I'm currently living in was broken into, and my parents house also. It happens.
Housedoc
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by Housedoc »

AlohaJoe wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:36 pm
miket29 wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:15 pm Having recently been forced to face up to mortality via unfortunate health test results, I'm wondering what people do to help their next-of-kin and executors find all their accounts and bills?
Vanguard has a "Your Personal Financial Inventory" PDF for documenting this kind of thing.

https://investor.vanguard.com/family-le ... dge-center

(It's under "Financial Planning" on that page.)

There are many, many other templates out there with varying levels of detail.

The Big Book of Everything is the most comprehensive one I've seen (it is way too detailed for my tastes but at least it gives you an idea of things to think about)

http://www.erikdewey.com/bigbook.htm

Honestly, just relying on mail was always a bad idea since there were always a lot of issues that wouldn't have a ready answer in mail. You need to tell whoever is managing your estate how to contact people (Facebook? Facetime? Zoom? Whatsapp? Email?) How you want various things handled. (Organs donated? Cremation or burial?)

There have been a number of threads over the years about this. From a quick search:

viewtopic.php?t=215005
viewtopic.php?t=217241
Vanguard Planning document. All family members know where it is hidden in a fireproof box. Would not want a burglar to have access to this info.
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GerryL
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by GerryL »

I am using the Nolo Get It Together book to document all my papers and "wishes" into a binder -- actually two binders. The 28 individual chapters cover everything from estate planning docs and and accounts to biographical info and care for pets. I am using the digital forms (encrypted) before printing them out to store in the binders. That way I can update the digital version and reprint to keep the pages up to date.

Some of the chapters are not relevant to my personal situation, so I am repurposing them as needed. For instance, there is no discussion about how to document plans for a DAF.
cbeck
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by cbeck »

I am just in the process of organizing this information myself. The basis of our plan is the 1Password manager. My wife and I already have accounts in our 1Password family, so we are already sharing some login credentials. The advantage is that this information is secure, but accessible from anywhere on her own devices. Also, the passwords are guaranteed to be up-to-date and she will have immediate access for paying bills, etc.

I will store documents on procedures, account information, account statements, list of account beneficiaries, etc. on a shared drive in some cloud, but none of those documents will contain any passwords. There will be no paper documents. By the way, I don't have a will, since my only assets are financial and all in TOD accounts.

Although we are otherwise happy with 1Password, its one deficiency is that it lacks a "deadman's switch." I don't want my wife to have access to all of my accounts at all times, because I don't want any accidents. The deadman's switch would provide that access only in an emergency. Lastpass does have just what we want, so I have set Lastpass accounts for both of us to provide her with my 1Password master password on request unless I deny the request within three days. Kind of klugey, but should work. We will be rehearsing it monthly.
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BolderBoy
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Re: So now you're dead -- how does your executor find all your accounts & bills?

Post by BolderBoy »

Traveller wrote: Tue Jun 08, 2021 10:36 pmI keep a binder in my home office that includes all relevant info including accounts, contacts, insurance, copy of our wills, passwords, combo to the safe, our budget (which shows all our monthly bills), etc.
I likewise have a binder with all the necessary info, updated whenever I make a change in my life.

It is called my, "Family Financial Album".
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
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