What Your Family Needs to Know When You Die (Part 4)

The assets you listed in the last installment are only half of your personal balance sheet that your family will need when you are gone.  The other half are your liabilities … the debts you owe to others.

  • Mortgage – for most families, the mortgage on the family home will be the largest debt that is owed.  Your family will need to know the name of the mortgage lender and its address; the loan number; and, the current balance owed on the loan.  If there is more than one mortgage on the property, be sure to list any other lenders and the appropriate account numbers.  Be sure to list the monthly payment that is due on each mortgage.

This would also be a good place to list any life insurance policies that you may have purchased to provide the funds to pay off the outstanding mortgage(s).

  • Auto Loan(s) – provide your family with the name of the lender along with the lender’s address; the account number; the current balance owed on the loan; and, the monthly payment that is due.  If you have purchased any loan cancellation insurance, you should list it here including the name of the insurance company, its address, and any person with whom you regularly have contact.

You should also list here the name of the company that insures your vehicle(s) along with the name of your agent and the policy number so that the company can be notified of your death.

  • Credit Cards and Personal Loans – in a perfect world, no money would be owed on unsecured debts.  However, few of us live in “Perfect World, USA” so list all of your personal/signature loans, credit card accounts, addresses for each account, the account numbers, and a current balance on the account.  Also, indicate where you keep your current statements and balances owed on each account.

A person’s death does not wipe out any debts that are owed.  Creditors have the right, and they will exercise it, to make demands for payment against your estate.  Sadly, there are some who will attempt to take advantage of survivors’ grief and confusion to make money by making claims against the estate for debts that do not exist.  By leaving a clear inventory of debts owed, you can protect your family against these bogus claims.