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Home > Blog > Estate Planning > A Financial First Aid Kit Can Save Your Family Time and Money

A Financial First Aid Kit Can Save Your Family Time and Money


Whoever creates clickbait related to estate planning must not know the golden rule of estate planning, namely that estate planning is about planning for life, not planning for death.  Content creators can’t seem to resist mentioning the “D” word at every opportunity.  For example, Swedish death cleaning is a great idea, but it is a terrible name.  It is when you gradually declutter your house, one closet or drawer at a time, getting rid of stuff that you don’t need and giving items of personal property to family members and friends when appropriate.  If only it didn’t have a name that makes it sound like you are embalming a body for burial.  If only it had a more cheerful sounding name, like “Swedish retirement decluttering,” which calls to mind seniors happily reducing the contents of a chest of drawers they bought at Ikea.  Likewise, if someone tells you that writing a “death note” is more important than writing a will, you will probably refuse to do it, because it sounds like something out of a cheap paperback murder mystery novel.  Therefore, you should think of this document as a financial first aid kit, full of information that is useful to you while you are alive and will be useful to your surviving family members and friends after you die.  The best thing about a financial first aid kit is that you can sit down and write it right now, but after you finish you should contact a Bronx estate planning lawyer.

What Is a Financial First Aid Kit

A financial first aid kit is a list of all the information you need in order to manage your finances.  You probably have not written this information down because, for as long as you can remember, people have cautioned you to memorize passwords and login credentials instead of committing them to writing.  If you die or become incapacitated, though, the closest people in your life will need to know this information, so you should write it down, creating what financial planner Winnie Sun calls a financial first aid kit.  Your financial first aid kit should contain the following information:

  • Instructions on how to access your devices, such as your smartphone and computer
  • Your wishes about what your survivors should do with your online presence, such as your social media accounts and personal website, including whether you wants these pages to remain visible and how your surviving relatives should announce your death
  • The account numbers of your recurring bills, such as your mortgage and utility bills, as well as the contact information of the creditors responsible for them

A Financial First Aid Kit Does Not Take the Place of a Will

Whether or not you write a will, a financial first aid kit will make it simpler for the personal representative of your estate to tie up loose ends with your finances.  Only a will or an order by the probate court about an estate without a will can authorize your survivors to act on your behalf, though.  It is best to have an estate planning lawyer review your will before you formalize it.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Bronx Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning lawyer can help you make sure that your survivors have all the information they need to make probate as painless as possible.  Contact Cavallo & Cavallo in the Bronx, New York to set up a consultation.



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