For Mark Roberts’ Use:

Are you completely free of debt, with all of your money stashed in a single bank account? If you’re like the vast majority of people, the answer is, No, of course not. It almost sounds ridiculous to suggest such an idea. Most of us have more than one bank account, investment accounts, and insurance policies. We also have at least some debt, such as credit card balances or a mortgage. In addition to all of that, we typically deal with multiple professionals such as financial advisors, insurance brokers, accountants, and so on.

Now imagine something happens to you, and your family is left to untangle your financial web. It’s unlikely you want to leave your family with a confusing mess to sort through while they’re grieving for you. A simple solution to this problem is to simply write down your instructions in a letter, so that your loved ones have a simple, organized way to sort through your financial matters.

When writing your letter of instructions, consider including the following:


  1. Contact information for important people. This could be a list of your financial advisors, accountants, insurance agents, attorneys, or even just a close friend. Your loved ones will need to contact these people in the event of your passing or even a lengthy stay in a hospital.
  2. Directions to important documents. Where do you keep a copies of your will, life insurance policy, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other important information? These documents should be kept in a fire proof box, safe deposit box, or other secure location, but that means your family may not know about their location.
  3. A summary of all debts and contact information for those companies. This will make it easy for your family to cover your debts if you’re in the hospital, or settle your estate after your passing.
  4. Log-in information for online accounts. Include any accounts which you want to be accessed by your loved ones.
  5. Any other wishes you want to express to your family. If you have special instructions for your burial, want to honor a charity, or simple have final words for your loved ones, include them here.

To thoroughly cover all the bases, make several copies of this important letter. Give a copy to the executor of your estate, keep one in your home (and let someone know where it is located), and place another copy with your attorney or a trusted friend.