The Basics for Couples
|Getting to know your money|
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: