It’s natural not to want to think about all of the bad things that could happen to you or your family and, of course, you can’t live life worrying about things that might never happen. However, the truth is that no one is invincible, and illnesses, accidents or an unexpected death could leave you unable to manage your daily finances or in a position where they are the last thing you have the time to focus on.
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The good news is that life’s unexpected events will be much more easily navigable if you take the time now to get your financial matters in order so in the event the unimaginable does happen, you and your family can concentrate on what is really important.
Establish a will and healthcare proxy. If you haven’t already, make an appointment with a lawyer to have a basic will and healthcare proxy set up. These will allow you to get your wishes on paper and make difficult decisions a bit easier on your family.
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Get organized. If you are the primary point person in your household for bill paying, investing, insurance and other important things, make sure that you are as organized as possible. Have a central list on paper or in an online document that lists companies you do business with, including account numbers and contact info. You may also want to include online access information, including usernames and passwords if you don’t use one or two general passwords that your spouse or children already know. Because this document will have a lot of important information in it, make sure you keep it somewhere safe and secure but that someone you trust knows where it is and how to access it.
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Update beneficiaries. If you or someone in your family were to die suddenly, getting access to funds in certain accounts could take some time if you haven’t set up beneficiaries on them. Beneficiaries can access funds immediately and a beneficiary designation usually supersedes your will. Since having access to funds could be a priority in an emergency situation, this is a must-do.
Automate as much as possible. If you wind up in the hospital, the last thing you want your family to worry about is whether the electricity bill has been paid or if the car insurance is going to lapse. Automating as many of your bills as possible will take a lot of the pressure off your loved ones during a trying time.
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