A little preparation goes a long way when managing a family crisis.
Tragically, a little while ago an acquaintance of mine was widowed very unexpectedly.
This friend has two children who were 2 year’s old and two-months old at the time. As she was trying to deal with her grief, and her children’s grief, as well as running a household on her own, she was trying to go through her family’s financial affairs and sort everything out. It was a heart-wrenching task, and although her friends and family wanted to help, there was only so much they could do. She is the one who had to call the credit card companies, banks, and insurance companies and fill out the paperwork. She was the one who had to sleuth through unfiled paperwork and statements (which I am sure every single one of us has) and try to find out who to call next. It was a nightmare.
Unfortunately, her situation is a blunt reminder to the rest of us:
Do you have a will?
Do you know where it is?
Do you have life insurance?
Do you have enough?
Do you have a file that shows outstanding loans/active credit cards?
Do you have a file of your investments?
Do you have a plan?
This is a fantastic link that can help you organize your information: Your Virtual Shoebox Guide. A meeting with a professional is also invaluable to get a second opinion on whether there are any holes in your plan.