Rave reviews for our guest speaker, financial journalist Robyn Friedman, who led an informative session in our offices last Thursday sharing her personal experiences and financial challenges after unexpectedly losing her husband.
Robyn addressed a gathering of clients, friends and guests as part of our ongoing client educational series. She recently published an article in City & Shore magazine detailing what she learned settling her husband’s estate after his sudden death last fall (read her article here).
Robyn described the complex and frustrating process of accessing bank accounts, dealing with online service providers, handling medical and other bills, and struggling to honor your loved one’s last wishes.
That’s not easy with today’s digital accounts and smart device technology, which make it ever more important to leave comprehensive and detailed records for loved ones.
Here’s some key takeaways from Robyn’s presentation:
- Double-check your insurance policies and retirement accounts to make sure your beneficiaries are correct and up-to-date. Old accounts pre-dating your marriage may not name the spouse as beneficiary.
- Have your estate planning documents drafted, and know where your loved one’s documents are stored. Older documents may not properly address medical privacy issues, or online or digital accounts, so update them regularly. To gain access to a safe deposit box in our area, you’ll need a key and to be an authorized signer.
- Have a digital account list with user IDs and passwords (or use password keepers like LastPass or Dashlane). Without that, privacy regulations might bar even a surviving spouse from accessing devices and accounts. Consider preparing a binder for your loved ones listing accounts, key advisors and detailed instructions. In fact, one of our attendees told us that the best gift she received from an aging parent was a binder with a comprehensive set of personal instructions and last wishes, saying it took the burden of care-giving totally “off of her shoulders.”
Robyn, we can’t thank you enough for so generously sharing your time and expertise with us! You’ve helped so many people by relating these very personal stories from your own life experiences. Thank you! (To read Robyn’s article, click here).