Are Your Financial Affairs In Order?
23 November 2022
Nobody likes to think about death or becoming seriously ill, but it is important to make sure that your financial affairs are in order so that your family or next of kin can access your money and information if required.
Since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, financial institutions, along with all other businesses that hold customers’ personal details, have had to tighten their security procedures. While this is a positive step towards preventing fraud and protecting the individual, it can prove difficult in the event of illness or death.
We have seen many cases where a spouse cannot access money or even information as bank accounts, bills, and insurance policies, etc. were not in joint names which just adds more stress at an already very difficult time.
Everyone, regardless of their marital status, should ensure they nominate someone to look after their financial affairs in the event that this may be required. If you are married or cohabiting, you should ensure all bank accounts, investments, household bills, etc. are held in joint names so that your spouse/partner can access money or information if required. It is equally important for someone who is not married to ensure that a family member or trusted friend has been appointed to look after their affairs.
If placing an account in joint names is not an option, you can advise each financial institution, utility company, etc. that your spouse/partner/nominated person is to have access to any information they request. This instruction must be submitted to the relevant company in writing. However, this nomination will not allow anyone to withdraw money on your behalf. This can only be done by placing the account or policy in joint names.
It is also a good idea to keep a list of all bank accounts, insurance policies, pensions, etc. that you hold along with details of any utility companies you deal with and that your spouse or nominated person knows where this information is. This way, if you fall ill or pass away suddenly all information should be easily accessible and, where possible, money can be withdrawn to cover expenses incurred by your death or illness if required.
We don’t like to think about negative things happening to us, but it is vitally important that we ensure the people closest to us have access to information or money when they need it most.
Lisa Doherty, CFP® BBS QFA RPA SIA is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER. You can contact her through John F. Loughrey Financial Services by telephone on 074-9124002 or by email on email@example.com