Saturday Money Sense—Getting Together on the Basics

Great tips from Fidelity Viewpoints!

The Basics for Couples

Getting to know your money

Getting Started

1.  Do you know how much money your spouse makes?

2.  Is there a list of all the financial accounts (checking, savings, mortgage, credit cards, investments, 401(k), IRAs)?

  • Consider a virtual safe (e.g. FidSafe) as a secure & easy way to store your account numbers.

3.  Do the financial accounts have named beneficiaries (IRAs, 401(k), insurance policies, bank accounts, brokerage accounts)?

4.  Do you have a trust & individual pour-over wills?  

Imho, a trust is better than a will because it avoids probate court, in which case a probate judge and an attorney get to decide how to administer your estate.  A trust avoids probate altogether and is administered by your appointed successor trustee.  

If you have a trust with the accompanying pour-over wills, it's a good idea to review your documents every 3 years.  

5.  Do you have a Power of Attorney?  

A power of attorney appoints an agent to act on your behalf regarding financial & legal matters should you become incapacitated.  This is usually done when the trust is prepared.

6.  Do you have a health care proxy (a.k.a. Living Will)?  

This document names a person or persons who can make health care decision for you if you are unable to communicate.  It outlines your wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments.  This is usually completed along with the Power of Attorney.  

7.  Do you know where all of the important documents are kept?  Designate a specific place & include the following:  

  • Last 2 years of tax returns
  • Marriage and birth certificates
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills or Trust
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxies
  • Medical information (doctors, meds, health related info)

Read this quick article by Fidelity Viewpoints: 

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