When Mike died suddenly and unexpectedly, Sally, his wife of over 30 years, was overcome not just with grief, but also with worry. Not only did she lose her best friend and soul mate, but Mike had also always been the family money manager. While Sally knew they were financially comfortable, in the shock of her sudden loss she had no idea how she was going to cope with her new situation.
Fortunately, Sally and Mike’s adult daughter, Melanie, was able to relieve some of that stress. “Don’t you remember, Mum? Dad often reminded us that if anything happened to him we should look for the ‘In Case of Emergency’ folder in his study.”
The folder was soon located, and with it a great weight was lifted from Sally’s shoulders. It contained:
While all the important files were automatically backed up online and, thanks to the password manager, now available to Melanie, Mike also maintained a hard copy of the ‘In Case of Emergency’ folder to give Sally and Melanie certainty of access and some protection against technology glitches.
No amount of preparation could spare Sally and Melanie their profound grief. However, Mike’s forethought made their lives significantly easier at such a difficult time.
Where’s your ‘In Case of Emergency’ file?
Even when a couple both know the what, when, and how of family finances, creating and maintaining an ‘In Case of Emergency’ (ICE) file is still a good idea. It can help prevent important information from being overlooked at a time of great stress. If both members of a couple die or become incapacitated an ICE file will be invaluable to an alternate executor or family members.
Your ICE file can be as simple or as complex as your financial affairs. The most important things are:
While discussions related to death or disability can be difficult to initiate, compare that to the consequences of not having the discussion. Doesn’t your family deserve the peace of mind of knowing that you’ve taken the time to prepare an ICE file, and that they can locate it in their time of need?
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