Two Heads Are Better Than One

They say that opposites attract, which means that you and your spouse probably have varied interests and talents that complement each other and make it easier to share household tasks; one of you cooks and the other cleans, one of you does the outdoor chores and the other the indoor chores. Chances are good that one of you has a better head for numbers and handles most of the financial chores as well.

This arrangement is one that works out very well in the everyday scheme of things, but can be disastrous if something were to happen to the “financial expert” of the family, as this article by Beth Brophy in illustrates.

One of Brophy’s suggested solutions is to have an information binder, in which all of the family financial information is kept, including any estate planning documents. Although many people tend to think of an estate plan as something to be hidden away until the death of one spouse, estate planning and financial documents actually go hand in hand.

If you have an estate plan you most likely have a trust of one kind or another to ensure that your assets transfer without hassle to your spouse or children upon your death. You also should have a comprehensive financial power of attorney giving your agents the power to care for your financial matters in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to handle financial decisions on your own.

If something were to happen to the “financial expert” in the family, the trust and power of attorney are essential documents that would be needed immediately by your spouse or agents.  It is essential to keeping these important documents in one easily accessible place, along with bank statements, records of investment accounts, and the name and contact information of your financial planner and estate planning attorney.