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How can your family access all key financial information after you are gone?

Updated: Mar 18

Covid19 has taught us some financial lessons the hard way. The fragility of lives has induced people to think about the financial preparedness of their families in the event of any unfortunate situation. Preparedness here implies not just the wealth – the financial assets accumulated for the family. It is also about how the family is able to access all the key financial information with less effort or hassle.

As the main bread earner, if your family depends not just on your income but also on your ability to manage personal finances, think about how they will access all the crucial information in your absence. As sombre as it may sound, but contemplating your own demise will induce you to at least start thinking in this direction.

Creating a master file which has not just all the important information but also the location of important documents is the first step you can take for your family. The obvious incidental benefit of this holistic exercise would be it will enable you to organise your financial information and consolidate the same at one place. Work from home option in this lockdown offers the perfect opportunity to spend some time in this exercise which otherwise you are likely to put off once life crawls back to normal and you get busier in your daily rut. Here is a detailed list on what important details you can include in your master file of important financial information

  1. Important IDs: In order to claim money from banks account, insurance policies, investments, etc. your family will require to establish the identity of the deceased. So, first and foremost, jot down details of your PAN, Aadhar, Passport, Driving Licence, Voter Card, etc and the location of these documents – both physical and digital.

  2. Passwords: In this digital age, it is inevitable that you have a lot of crucial financial information in your computer, mobile, mail account, etc. And it is imperative for your family to have access to these. So, enlist the password details which will enable your family to access all your gadgets without any hassle. Your mobile phone in particular is a very important gadget for your family to access since your registered number will continue to receive a lot of important SMS alerts for auto bill payments, investments, credit card statements, etc. after you.  Ensure to have an alternate lock in your smartphone besides your finger print or facial recognition. This password can be in the form of pins or patterns which your family can use in your absence to unlock your mobile phone.

  3. Bank details: The names and basic details of all your bank accounts need to be added here. These should include bank name, branch, account number, name of nominee, etc. This information will help your family in knowing the total combined savings you have in all accounts and then proceed to apply for their closure and transfer the money to the nominee/legal heir. Also, add the information on debit/credit cards, digital wallets or any other payment gateways. This will help your family to close/deactivate the same along with systematic closure of your bank accounts.

  4. Utility details: This will have details of all your utility service providers like water, gas, power, mobile, internet, annual maintenance contracts and any other services you are using. Also mention which bills you are paying online and are getting auto-debit from your bank account every month.

  5. Loan Details: Jot down details of home loan, car loan, personal loan, credit card loan, etc. Mention the outstanding amount, rate of interest, tenure and the bank details from where the loan instalments are getting debited. If there is any loan agent or relationship manager, add their contact details. Also mention the location of the loan documents – both physical and digital.

  6. Insurance: Jot down details of life, health and vehicle insurance policies. Elaborate on the policy name, policy number, sum assured, policy term, premium amount, frequency of payment, date of premium payment, policy maturity date, etc. If you are paying the premiums online, mention the bank account and/or the insurance/broker company website from where you are making the payment and mention the login details of such transaction platform. Also document the name of the beneficiary and the contact details of the insurance agent who sold you the policy. Most importantly, write the location of the policy documents – both offline and online, if any.

  7. Investments: Make a list of all your financial assets which can be a ready reckoner for your family. Ensure to mention location of physical and/or online digital copies of all financial assets. This could include:

  8. Bank and Corporate deposits – Bank or company name, amount invested, interest rate, date of deposit and maturity; etc.

  9. Post office saving schemes – Bank or post office branch from where the investment is done, amount invested, interest rate, date of deposit and maturity.

  10. Mutual Funds – Fund holdings & value, Folio number, bank account, login details, distributor name and contact, if any.

  11. Equity Shares – Broker name, demat account, fund holdings & value, login info and bank account which is linked with the demat account.

  12. EPF – UAN number and login details.

  13. NPS – PRAN number, fund holdings & value and the associated bank account.

  14. Gold: Gold mutual funds, etfs or sovereign gold bond schemes

8. Real Assets: It is imperative to compile information on important assets that you own. This should include:

  1. Housing property: Mention the location of all the crucial papers including agreement copy, share certificate, stamp duty paid, etc.  Also put down the nominee details.

  2. Vehicle: Mention details of the vehicle you own like two or four-wheeler which include ownership paper, the registration certificate, vehicle insurance policy info, fast tag info, if any.

9. Tax details: Mention your PAN card or username and password in your e-filing site. Also, mention the location of the latest year’s ITR copies – both physical and digital. Mention the name and contact details of your chartered accountant, if any who would look into any pending tax liabilities or refunds due and the returns that need to be filed.

10. Will: If you have prepared a Will, mention its location. If you have kept it in a locker, mention the associated bank and locker details. Mention the name of the lawyer and his/her contact details who is usually also the executor of the Will and can help your family out in the smooth distribution of your assets.

This is a broad list of all financial information that you can collate and consolidate in a master file. You can customise this further as per your personal situation. Ensure to keep your family in the loop about this file. You can mail digital copies to your family members and also take a print out of the same and store in cupboard, bank locker, wherever suitable. Also, bear in mind to update this file once every quarter or even 6 months.

Picking up the financial pieces after the demise of the bread earner is not an easy thing for any family. But such an elaborate exercise will at least help the family to access all key information without any hassle. You can also engage a professional financial advisor who will not just help you organise all your financial information but also give a concrete direction to your financial life. He/She can also be the key person who will help your family to rebuild their financial life after you.

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