Author Topic: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?  (Read 3988 times)

markbike528CBX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1350
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?

My wife has no clue on how to get our stache if I was to croak.

  We have a plan for the safe deposit box,  - clear it out if I'm circling the drain. 
Most every thing else is TOD (transfer on death).

I  have a list of account #s that she is sort of aware of, but she feels she needs more instruction/handholding. This despite my statement to: call the places holding the assets, waving a death certificate, and following their guidance on the transfer.

I don't want to confuse the issue with " take from taxable/nontaxable first....", as it really wouldnt matter, and would possibly lead her to a"financial advisor" of unknown morals.

How do I give her the info? 

BTW, her eyes glaze over when I mention finances.

since these are TOD assets and I don't have a will, and don't want the TOD assets in a will, I'm not sure what to do.


Jschange

  • Guest
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2016, 10:12:12 PM »
Could you find a fee for hours type financial advisor with experience talking to bereaved and confused spouses? Establish a minor relationship and then instruct your wife to take the list of account numbers there?


MDM

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10112
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 10:18:08 PM »
To how few accounts/funds can you reduce your holdings?

poppan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 10:36:54 PM »
Add her as joint tenant with right of survivorship? (JTWROS)

For 401k/IRAs: print out the actual form, fill it in and give it to her. Something like this one: https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060_www_fidelity_com/documents/letter_of_instruction.pdf

markbike528CBX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1350
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2016, 10:51:40 PM »
 @jschange: finding someone that I would trust after my demise is the problem
     However, one of my colleagues, was once a section 7 FA.

@MDM. one 401k, both taxable/IRA at vanguard,   all about 1/3 each,     small taxable/Roth at a broker, an that is about it.

@poppan.  Jtwros done for checking.

Thanks for the responses!

EricL

  • Guest
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2016, 10:53:04 PM »
Get a will made designating her as your primary heir. I think you can get a kit but it's probably best to just throw the money down for a good lawyer. Talk to all the companies that hold your investments so they know she's your heir.  Get what procedures she must follow to access your money if you croak. If these aren't understood your wife will get held up accessing your money no matter what papers she has. :(  If you're really concerned and REALLY trust her keep your passwords someplace she can access. Then all of the above is just a formality. 

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
  • Age: 82
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Ghouls Just Wanna Have Funds!
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2016, 11:40:18 PM »
Name her as beneficiary on all of your accounts that are not joint with right of survivorship (IRAs, 401ks) as that means they'll bypass probate. She'll be able to access them within a few weeks after death as soon as she contacts the companies. The rest can be transferred in your will.

Sit down and write it all out in basic English. Include your suggestions for how to access the funds and basic math for your reasons. Then instruct her about contacting the company your main accounts are with (Vanguard?) and to contact them and set up their professional management and discuss the notes you left with her and let them handle the rest. Vanguard's management should be comparatively cheap for what they'll offer, so you should talk with them to see how it works.

They can take control and all she'll need to do is let them know what she needs when she needs it for the most part. She can get recommendations on an accountant and all that stuff if she is unable to handle it herself.

MDM

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10112
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2016, 12:26:58 AM »
one 401k, both taxable/IRA at vanguard,   all about 1/3 each,     small taxable/Roth at a broker, an that is about it.

Roll the 401k into the Vanguard IRA, transfer the taxable/Roth at a broker to Vanguard, put everything into a Target Date fund, and you'll have
 - 1 broker (in this case Vanguard, but for someone else Fidelity, Schwab, etc. could work)
 - 1 fund (Target Date 2xxx)
 - 3 fund locations: tIRA, Roth, and taxable.

Might that work for you and her?

rothwem

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 677
  • Location: WNC
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2016, 05:53:57 AM »
Remember, there's always money in the banana stand

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3056
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2016, 06:05:28 AM »
Maybe I missed something - are you very ill, or just making sure things won't collapse if you get hit by a bus?

My wife is very "I don't care, thank you for managing it" but fortunately her brother is a Mustachians investor so the official plan is she'll ask for his help. Any useful and trusted relatives like that?

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 519
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2016, 06:31:19 AM »
I have a letter written in plain English that I update once a quarter with all of our account information.  It gives the balance of the accounts, which ones she is already joint owner of, which ones she needs to do something to claim, etc.  There is also a plan for what to do with the life insurance money (hiring a lawyer to handle a bunch of this is on the list), a reminder to file for Social Security survivor benefits, etc.  I also tell her what to do with the money if she chooses to remarry (hint: it better go to my kids and not her new husband).

My wife has about a 10 minute tolerance for discussing this stuff at a detail level, so I figure the best I can do is keep a big pile of cash in the joint savings account so she and my kids are OK while she figures out how to access the other funds.

plog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 229
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 06:46:53 AM »
Quote
How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?...BTW, her eyes glaze over when I mention finances.

I think everyone here with their technical financial advice is missing the real issue.  This is a character issue not a financial one.  I don't mean that prejoratively--its just that your wife doesn't care to know these things.  I have no idea how the washing machine works, what kind of oil to put in my car, where the christmas stuff is, etc, etc. and I don't care to.  Your wife doesn't care to know this and sounds like she's fine with that. Yes, it may come back to bite her, but you can't make people care about things they don't.

So, you need to name a good executor of your will and/or trustee for a trust.  If you know no one, sounds like you will have to hire a lawyer or someone else with a legal/ethical responsibility to ensure your wishes are carried out. 

TrulyStashin

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1030
  • Location: Mid-Sized Southern City
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2016, 08:56:13 AM »
Quote
How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?...BTW, her eyes glaze over when I mention finances.

I think everyone here with their technical financial advice is missing the real issue.  This is a character issue not a financial one.  I don't mean that prejoratively--its just that your wife doesn't care to know these things.  I have no idea how the washing machine works, what kind of oil to put in my car, where the christmas stuff is, etc, etc. and I don't care to.  Your wife doesn't care to know this and sounds like she's fine with that. Yes, it may come back to bite her, but you can't make people care about things they don't.

So, you need to name a good executor of your will and/or trustee for a trust.  If you know no one, sounds like you will have to hire a lawyer or someone else with a legal/ethical responsibility to ensure your wishes are carried out.

+1   You need to have a will anyway.  Naming her JWROS/ TOD works great so long as nothing gets forgotten, but in case of some "residue" assets, you need a will.  Ask around and find a good attorney to draft up a will (your wife needs one too).  That same attorney can be the executor of the estate and advise your wife after you're gone.  Establish the relationship now so you won't have to worry about who is holding your wife's hand when you're gone.  Attorney's have ethical duties to act in clients' best interests and it costs less than you think.  Just be choosy now in picking an attorney with a solid reputation and whom you trust.   Some things are worth paying for.  This is one of them.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5748
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2016, 09:18:59 AM »

Is there any way to get her more involved?  I don't mean all of a sudden... but just little things over time.
* Any time you want to manually invest a little, hold her hand, but make her do it
* If you're working towards FIRE, make some charts/graphs where it seems easy to see it grow (and at the same time see each of the accounts).

Lots of people really glaze over with finances.  But the typical Mustacian simplicity of a couple of index fund accounts may be way easier than she thinks it is. 

markbike528CBX

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1350
  • Location: the Everbrown part of the Evergreen State (WA)
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2016, 02:34:17 PM »

I think everyone here with their technical financial advice is missing the real issue.  This is a character issue not a financial one.  I don't mean that prejoratively--its just that your wife doesn't care to know these things.  .......

@plog. you got it.
And I dont mind that she doesnt care,  I'd just like for her care enough to remember where the instruction paper is stored.

Thanks for those of you suggested a short, prose instruction.  will do.

BTDretire

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2960
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2016, 10:24:08 AM »
This is a good reminder, my wife has little interest in where the money is.
She doesn't know account numbers, or passwords, snor does she have much experience on
the computer. I'll also need to get busy writing a paper detailing how to access
our funds, even if my daughter has to help her with it.

Miss Prim

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 401
  • Location: Michigan
Re: How do I ensure that my SO (wife) knows how to get the money if I die?
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2016, 12:31:48 PM »
I handle all of the finances, so my husband is basically like your wife.  I do have every account that we have plugged into MINT and he knows the password, so that should give him an idea of where everything is and how much.   I also keep all of my end of the year statements in a folder and have another folder with passwords for each account written on them.  He is the beneficiary for all of my accounts with my children as secondary.  My son manages his own finances, so I think he will be able to help him. 

I do worry about this, as he is very frugal, but doesn't understand or even care to read about investing.  He does understand that he can pull 3-4% of the total out every year, I have gone over this with him.  I also made more money than him over the years, so even though I am 4 years younger than him, I am delaying SS. until at least 66, so he can have a higher amount if I die first. 

I know if something happens to me, my kids would be able to at least help him with everything, so that helps me sleep better at night!  Now, I need to learn how to work the riding lawnmower and about upkeep on a car in case something happens to him! 

                                                                                                                  Miss Prim