monthly budget

Leaving a Legacy

by mike on January 27, 2010

We often hear people talking about taking care of their families.  This can mean many different things.  Most of us think of getting a job, providing an income, putting food on the table.  Taking care of your family also means making sure things are in order when you are gone.  I know it is not fun to think about, but you need to prepare so that your family is taken care of if, heaven forbid, something happen to you.  Let’s discuss what you need to do to leave a legacy for your family.

1.     You must have a will. This may be the most important part of taking care of your family if something tragic were to happen.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want the state deciding what is to happen to my things or, even worse, deciding who will have custody of my children.  A will spells out all of your wishes as to what happens to your stuff, your money, and your kids.  If you have a simple estate, then I suggest going to and fill out a will for your specific state.  It’s inexpensive and easy.  If you have a more complicated estate (such as you own a business, have shared custody of children, etc), then you need to make an appointment with a lawyer.  If you do not have a will yet, I challenge you to have one by the end of the week.  It’s that important.

2.     A list of your financial accounts. The next thing you need is a list of all of your financial accounts.  This includes any checking of savings accounts.  Also any IRAs, 401ks, mutual funds, money markets, any account you have money in.  You need to list the following:

a.     What type of account each one is (checking, savings, etc.)

b.     Account number

c.      Approximate amount in each account

d.     Which financial institution each account is at

3.     Funeral Instructions. This really is not easy to think about or discuss.  It is a great way, though, to take care of your grieving family.  Create written instructions about your funeral, such as the type of casket, the songs you want played, etc.  This will be a huge relief to your family members to not have to worry about these details as they can take the time to grieve instead.

4.     Insurances. It goes without saying that you should have all of the proper insurances in places.  I discussed what they are and what type you should have in a previous articles.  Make a list of these insurance policies and what companies they are with.  Also, make copies of any of the important documents associated with each policy.

5.     Monthly Budget. Leave a copy of an example monthly budget.  That way your loved ones will get an idea of what types of bills you had and what you were doing with your money.  This takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation for your family members.

6.     Passwords. Make a list of all of your online accounts and the passwords associated with them.  This will make it much easier for your loved ones to access important accounts.  Also, list any safety deposit box you may have for them to access as well.

I encourage you to do each of the above things.  Gather all of the appropriate documents and put them in a safe place.  It may be a file drawer or a fireproof safe.  No matter where you organize it all, let some of your loved ones know where it is all located.  I pray that nothing tragic ever happens to you.  I do want you to be at ease knowing that your family is taken care of if something does happen.  That is leaving a legacy for your family that you can be proud of.