ACCESS DENIED – How to Make Certain This is Not the Message When the Worst Happens

April 20, 2020 | Stacy Miller, CFP®, Bright Investments


During this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve stayed busy with my new normal. I’m blessed to be working. My husband is now working at the dining room table across from my office. As I normally work from home by myself, I look forward to the opportunities to meet him (& my sons) in the kitchen. My college kids are at home and studying hard (well, most of the time).

One thing that this quarantine has highlighted for me is the need for making sure my estate planning documents are up to date. We recently re-did our Last Will & Testament, Power-of-Attorney and Living Will. What I was lacking and have been working to rectify is a list of our assets, liabilities, and insurance policies with contact information and passwords. My solution is an Excel spreadsheet with five tabs: Assets, Liabilities, Income, Insurance, and Kids. In here I have several columns to include: Institution (where the account is located), Point of Contact (name and/or phone number), Type/Title of Account, Account Number, Website, Username, Password, PIN, and Notes. This document will be a one-stop-shop for all accounts for my entire family and will be handy any time, as well as in an emergency.

In many families, one spouse is the primary manager for finances. In my house, it’s me. The point of all these estate documents is to make the transition as easy as possible for the family members who are left behind when the worst happens. I cannot imagine the grief that my husband and sons would have to go through to access these accounts without this document. These financial accounts have layers of security for our protection, and this spreadsheet will make access easy. When grief is ruling your world, cutting through red tape can seem an insurmountable challenge. So, create, print and save this spreadsheet with your other estate planning documents. I’ll put mine in my safe with my Last Will and Testament, and my family will all know where to find it.

Be prepared and be well.

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Bright Investments

Phone: (334) 321-2321

Auburn, AL

Nashville, TN

Tampa, FL

Memphis, TN