Dear Mr. Dupaix,
We have a wonderful marriage and great kids. We found a great way to divide household responsibilities and it works well for us. However, since I handle the finances, there’s some important information you will need. Here’s a guide of what you need to do financially for our family.
As I’ve always handled the finances, it going to be tough, but there are some family and friends that will be able to help you sort it out. Ask one of them to go through this checklist for you to keep our finances running until you are ready to take them over.
- Locate the checkbook. I keep money in there to cover expenses.
- Open the mail. All of our bills that aren’t paid automatically come through the mail. If you pay what comes in the mail, you will not fall behind.
- Use the money files located on our computer. Here’s how I organize  the information.
- File for life insurance. There is a list of all policies to work from with each company, face value and policy number.
- Contact my work. They will continue to pay my paycheck for an extra month.
- There is a master key to decipher all account numbers, user IDs, passwords, etc.
- Pay off all the credit cards in the arbitrage game .
- File for social security survivors benefits  for our children.
Here’s some additional information you may need:
- Where our safe deposit box is located.
- Location of my will.
A reader at Being Frugal  reminded me that I needed to write this list for my husband. While the letter is somewhat generic for obvious reasons, it’s a good framework. I plan to make a more detailed list for my husband. Have you made a list for your family?
Here’s some additional resources that will help you put together a list of your own:
- What to Do When Someone Dies 
- Handbook Eases Burdens When a Spouse Dies 
- Checklist: What to Do When Your Spouse Dies 
This article is featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance .