Jonathan Dunwoody Director, Future Legacy Wills.
What happens when the “designated admin” person in your family passes away and you realise that all of the important information about your finances, insurance policy documents, bank account details, access codes to their laptop, what bills get paid and when etc all existed only in their head and were never written down?
Panic is what happens, followed by disbelief and then frustration.
I was recently approached by a lady whose 62 year old husband, who worked for himself, had died totally unexpectedly one weekend. In her household, given that he worked in the finance sector, he had over the years assumed the role of the “designated admin” person.
As the days of shock at his untimely death passed, the ramifications of the fact that only he knew all the answers to the problems that had to be solved, became more and more apparent.
Despite a thorough search of every nook and cranny by his widow and his children, no one knew his access code to unlock his laptop.
Without access to his laptop, no one could check his emails to see what he had been working on and for whom. There was also no way to trace items that might have been sent to him electronically, like Bank Statements, Utility bills, etc. Given that he worked for himself, there was also no way to search for outstanding invoices that should still be settled (and financially would really have helped).
No physical bank statements could be located which meant that no one could check which debits were running through his account and the Bank was not prepared to provide any information to anyone but the Executors of his Estate. Coupled with not finding a file or a drawer that held all of this information, it became a real challenge to even find who held his original Last Will and Testament. Hence the appointment of the executors was delayed and the snowball effect of the problems mounted.
Simply put – it was and still is an administrative nightmare for his grieving family.
In hindsight, one hour taken to document all the important information, using a tool like The Next Step – Personal & Family Information eBook, written by Barry Smith, would have made the world of difference for all concerned.
For some reason we think that we will all be granted time to pass on important information but, as this real life situation reflects, this is not always the case.