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I don't know where all the money is????

It is often the case that family and executors do not know what finances someone has to deal with on death, where the assets are held, what liabilities they have and sometimes even to begin where to start to look for it.

What do you do when a client visits to ask for you help with administering her husband's estate? You identify assets and liabilities. My client told me her husband was super efficient. He had a lovely spreadsheet on his laptop showing what there was and where it was. He did not like paper so scanned everything to his laptop. She told me it would be easy to sort as he was so organised. She never worried about the financial things and he had it all under control. Fabulous I thought, until I asked for the password for the computer. As super efficient as her husband was the one thing he forgot to do was to tell anyone the password to get into the laptop!

With many elderly couples one of them usually has responsibility for the financial affairs. One of the parts of the job I love is when I let a surviving spouse know how much money they actually have. The surprise on some faces is amazing and is often greeted with "we were always so careful to save, but I did not think there was this much!"

It is really important that couples have an honest conversation about assets and liabilities. Both parties to a relationship need to understand what is going on with the household finances. I often advise clients to make a note of the assets and liabilities they have and keep this note with their will so the survivor and the executors have an idea of what they are looking for.

Let's make sure that savings do not come as a surprise to those you leave behind. Have those conversations and make sure you know that your family will not worry when you are no longer here.

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