If Something Happens, Do You Know Enough About Your Dad’s Finances?
Your dad passes away unexpectedly. Your mom was never involved in the household finances. Do you know enough to make sure bills get paid on time? Your mom is going to be grieving and won’t be in any frame of mind to keep up with bills. You may have to step in and help. Use these tips to make sure household finances are easily taken care of.
Create a Spreadsheet of Every Bill That’s Paid.
Do you know every bill your dad pays? Do you know every credit card account, utility, and bank? Work with your parents to create a list of every bill. Don’t forget bills paid only once or twice a year, such as water bills, property taxes, or school taxes.
Keep a Master List of Passwords.
If your dad does online banking or uses online bill pay services, you’ll need the password. Ask him to create a spreadsheet with all of the passwords or write them all in a small notebook that he locks in his safe or filing cabinet. This spreadsheet can be password protected using a password that only the two of you know.
Make Sure You Know All Bank Accounts.
Do you know every bank account your dad and mom have? Did your dad have a personal account that’s only in his name back in his hometown? Sit down with your parents and make a list of every account. If anything happens, you’ll need a death certificate to help get the account transferred to your mom’s name. This takes time, but it ensures that nothing is overlooked.
Keep Information Updated.
If your dad stops paying on a life insurance policy, he should update his list to say so. If anything happens and your mom learns he canceled a policy she was depending on, it can be devastating. If a car loan is paid off, he needs to update that to prevent additional payments from being made by accident.
As your mom adjusts to living alone, she may well need help with daily chores and demands. This is especially true if your dad did all the driving. Caregivers are there to help. Hire a caregiver to drive your mom to stores and medical appointments. Caregivers offer other services like meal preparation and companionship. Your mom likely needs a companion now that she’s living alone. Call a home care agency to set a schedule for caregiver visits.