• 2-Minute Article
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  • Jun 22, 2022

How to Prepare Financial Information for a Trusted Contact

Use this checklist to talk about your finances with your adult children or other trusted contacts.

Updated: May 31, 2022

Created in Collaboration with Kiplinger.

Questions this article can help you answer:
  • What financial information should I consider sharing with my adult children or other trusted contacts?
  • How can I make it easier for my trusted contacts to help me manage my money as I age?
  • What estate planning documents should I have?

While it may feel uncomfortable, sharing information with your adult children or other trusted contacts about your personal finances and estate can bring many benefits. Communicating important financial details can:

  • Make it easier for a trusted contact to step in and help manage your daily finances if necessary
  • Help ensure that your wishes are taken into account when your assets are managed and distributed
  • Clarify the plans you have in place to help avoid the probate process, which can incur costs and delay transfer of assets
  • Empower you and your family to plan for the future as you intend

Below is a checklist of important documents and details to prepare and discuss during these conversations. As financial information referenced in this checklist is considered sensitive information, we urge you to use caution when preparing and discussing this information and to only provide details to someone who you consider a trusted contact.

Key Financial Data

  Information about accounts with banks or credit unions
  Contact information for financial professional, tax preparer, attorney, and insurance agent
  Copies of insurance policies
  Information about pensions, investment and retirement accounts, and annuities
  Copy of most recent income tax return
  Social Security number(s)

Parent’s responsibility to initiate legacy planning conversation with children

Vital Legal Documents

Be prepared to share copies of the following documents along with instructions on where to find the original versions.

  A health care directive, which spells out your medical treatment preferences, and a health care agent, who makes medical decisions for you if you can’t
  A power of attorney for finances
  Trusts or wills
  Deeds to real estate, including cemetery plots
  Vehicle titles
  Birth and marriage certificates

Financial Professionals say only some clients have open conversations about estate plans

Ongoing Money Management

  List of household expenses and recurring bills, including account information
  Information about outstanding debts
  Safe deposit box information and where the key can be found
  Passwords for devices and digital accounts

Best practices for sharing digital assets3

  • Store written passwords in a secure place such as a safe deposit box or home safe
  • Consider password management programs such as Keeper or LastPass to store and share passwords
  • Authorize a successor contact (often called a “legacy contact”) with online service providers
  • Include specific clauses in estate planning documents that allow individuals you designate (also known as your “digital executor(s)”) to manage your passwords and digital assets

Ask a financial professional to refer you to an attorney who can help you plan and complete the estate documents outlined in this checklist.

Download Checklist

Keeping a trusted contact informed can help everyone feel more confident and prepared.

Read How to Start the Legacy Planning Talk With Your Family to learn more about creating an ongoing dialogue with your loved ones.

Kiplinger has an in-house content studio, which reports on investing, retirement planning, and wise money management for its partner organizations, providing trustworthy advice and guidance for their readers.