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Thread: How much do you know about your wife (or other significant other)?

  1. #1
    Master MakeColdplayHistory's Avatar
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    How much do you know about your wife (or other significant other)?

    There was a bit on this on Sky News this morning but the world has moved on quite a bit since Mrs MCH and I got together.

    Should the worst happen, I could get into her phone (mainly because I've recently been helping her with a problem with it) but not her laptop. I don't know Gmail, Facebook or any other password. I also don't know much about her work situation - manager's name, phone number for HR etc. As it happens I wouldn't be able to tell you a direct phone number for my own manager or HR. Banking is a bit simpler, she's recently moved her own bank account to the same bank/branch as mine and our joint account, although I know she has some ISA and other savings elsewhere.

    If we were both to be hit by the same lightning bolt, our teenage kids would struggle to find anything. I don't know if we've got bank, work or 'online' info written down anywhere.

    Part of the problem is that I don't know the full list of what we ought to know about each other or where/how to keep it so it's helpful but not a liability.

    Any ideas/help appreciated.

    As an aside, our wills almost certainly need updating anyway - maybe this could be linked?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by MakeColdplayHistory View Post
    There was a bit on this on Sky News this morning but the world has moved on quite a bit since Mrs MCH and I got together.

    Should the worst happen, I could get into her phone (mainly because I've recently been helping her with a problem with it) but not her laptop. I don't know Gmail, Facebook or any other password. I also don't know much about her work situation - manager's name, phone number for HR etc. As it happens I wouldn't be able to tell you a direct phone number for my own manager or HR. Banking is a bit simpler, she's recently moved her own bank account to the same bank/branch as mine and our joint account, although I know she has some ISA and other savings elsewhere.

    If we were both to be hit by the same lightning bolt, our teenage kids would struggle to find anything. I don't know if we've got bank, work or 'online' info written down anywhere.

    Part of the problem is that I don't know the full list of what we ought to know about each other or where/how to keep it so it's helpful but not a liability.

    Any ideas/help appreciated.

    As an aside, our wills almost certainly need updating anyway - maybe this could be linked?

    Our IFA encouraged us to set up a (somewhat discouragingly called) "Death Box". It is a secure, fire-proof, box that contains all the necessary details regarding our wills, financial affairs, birth & marriage certificates, passwords, etc.

    What brought it to mind was the recent death of my mother. Fortunately she and my father had a magnificently efficient filing system that enabled my father to lay his hands on all the requisite information with ease. What struck us was how, in the absence of my father, we would simply have had no idea as to where that vital information resided.

    In our case all our financial affairs are jointly organised, so on that side I would have few worries, but the location of a lot of the other information is known only to us, and would not be found easily in the event of our demise.

    Creating the "Death Box" and passing the information to our nominated executors seemed a very logical thing to do.

    Edit: This was the box we bought: https://www.safelincs.co.uk/first-al...protection-a4/ - the service from Safelincs was excellent BTW.
    Last edited by willie_gunn; 12th July 2019 at 08:26. Reason: Found the link to the box itself.

  3. #3
    There are 2 situations you need to (unfortunately) think of -

    1. One of you dies
    2. One of you is sick/come etc...

    In case 1, you need to know everything that exists financially and all commitments held. A death cirtificate then does the rest.

    2. This is much more tricky. You either need a power of attorney set up in advance, or you have no chance without court order.

    What you don't know about you can't do anything.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluehase284 View Post
    There are 2 situations you need to (unfortunately) think of -

    1. One of you dies
    2. One of you is sick/come etc...

    In case 1, you need to know everything that exists financially and all commitments held. A death cirtificate then does the rest.

    2. This is much more tricky. You either need a power of attorney set up in advance, or you have no chance without court order.

    What you don't know about you can't do anything.

    Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app
    A very valid point - we had our LPA's drawn up at the same time as the will.

  5. #5
    Master
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    A valid topic really, we are going through something similar at the moment with the brother in-law, his current girlfriend knew nothing but we managed to access a few accounts etc by guessing passwords and memorable information.

    Sent from my VOG-L29 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    A very interesting topic. I agree capturing all the account information and passwords in one place makes sense, but I wonder what the position (in particular of the banks) would be if a third party gained access to accounts in this way. For passwords etc. which in theory should be changed fairly regularly keeping details at a solicitor’s office doesn’t seem realistic. A safety deposit box would be one option, but a nominee would need to be able to access it if necessary.

  7. #7
    Master MakeColdplayHistory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by willie_gunn View Post
    Our IFA encouraged us to set up a (somewhat discouragingly called) "Death Box". It is a secure, fire-proof, box that contains all the necessary details regarding our wills, financial affairs, birth & marriage certificates, passwords, etc.

    What brought it to mind was the recent death of my mother. Fortunately she and my father had a magnificently efficient filing system that enabled my father to lay his hands on all the requisite information with ease. What struck us was how, in the absence of my father, we would simply have had no idea as to where that vital information resided.

    Creating the "Death Box" and passing the information to our nominated executors seemed a very logical thing to do.
    That's the kind of thing I'm thinking of. We do have a few file boxes in the attic (inc. wills) but pretty much everything in there is out of date and I bet there's loads of stuff that should be in there that isn't.

    Can I ask you (and others) what info you have in there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluehase284 View Post
    There are 2 situations you need to (unfortunately) think of -

    1. One of you dies
    2. One of you is sick/coma etc...

    In case 1, you need to know everything that exists financially and all commitments held. A death certificate then does the rest.

    2. This is much more tricky. You either need a power of attorney set up in advance, or you have no chance without court order.

    What you don't know about you can't do anything.
    Good point about power of attorney. This is something we don't have set up and will include when we sort all this out.

    I'll start my own list here to help my own thinking...

    • Birth/Marriage certs (ours and the kids)
    • Wills (updated)
    • LPAs (need setting up)
    • Bank account details (bank, branch, account number) - password for online banking?
    • Shareholding info (all held electronically so website, account and password?)
    • Work contact details?
    • Work 'Death in Service' details
    • Life Assurance details
    • Critical Illness insurance policy details
    • Computer passwords
    • Phone passcodes
    • GMail, Facebook, Whatsapp details - which are the important ones? (nobody's going to mind if my Tripadvisor account goes dormant and stops posting restaurant reviews)
    • Utilities info - gas, electric, TV, phone, broadband?
    • National Insurance numbers
    • Pension Info - state, work, private
    • Is there anything else the state would need to know about either of us?
    Last edited by MakeColdplayHistory; 12th July 2019 at 09:34.

  8. #8
    I would suggest including details of any insurance policies (life, house, car, pets, watches, etc) as well as the V5's or leasing agreements for any cars you might own.

    If you have any other type of license (shotgun, firearms, etc) then photocopies of those, as well as details of the nearest firearms dealer so that they can be taken into storage.

    Whilst you may already have included details in your will regarding who will receive any particularly valuable assets (watches, works of art, etc) you might also want to include a list of those, together with the replacement value.

  9. #9
    My first thought is make a will together. Pretty much mandatory if you want to minimise inheritence tax.

    I am in complete awe of your user name, btw. It makes me smile every time I see it.

  10. #10

    How much do you know about your wife (or other significant other)?

    Quote Originally Posted by vortgern View Post
    A very interesting topic. I agree capturing all the account information and passwords in one place makes sense, but I wonder what the position (in particular of the banks) would be if a third party gained access to accounts in this way. For passwords etc. which in theory should be changed fairly regularly keeping details at a solicitor’s office doesn’t seem realistic. A safety deposit box would be one option, but a nominee would need to be able to access it if necessary.
    Use a password program like (Dashlane etc.) and keep the password for that with a solicitor if you must.
    Don’t think safety deposit boxes are that common or easily available for most people nowadays.

  11. #11
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Use a password program like (Dashlane etc.) and keep the password for that with a solicitor if you must.
    Don’t think safety deposit boxes are that common or easily available for most people nowadays.
    Safety deposit boxes / or secure storage is definately a thing and is not that expensive starting at about £20 a month for a small one.

    We recently went through this with my mothers estate, she was very disorganised when it came to paperwork although I set up all her online bits and bobs so that was fairly straightforward.
    Eventually we found:
    * The will - held with her / our solicitor.
    * There was a lockbox stored by her bank, this held nothing beyond family documents but was relatively easy to access once the death certificate and will were provided.
    * The house deeds - as the house was purchased in 1968 and the mortgage was paid off in the 90's there was no electronic representation as there usually is with more modern transactions, eventually we tracked a package that was held by her bank via a letter informing my father that the mortgage had been paid off. Even when asking the bank for any other paperwork or packages that they might hold in my parents name they could not provide a definitive answer and were performing a lengthy manual search procedure with an estimate of 'months' to complete. Upon providing the reference number of the package containing the deeds they produced the pack within days.
    * Shares - all their share holdings were paper, we found a bunch of dividend documents and contacted the share company who are being very helpful to transfer ownership.
    * Insurances - we have not yet discovered any beyond the usual car, home and contents so I can't comment on that.

    As you can see it can be very stressful compiling all the information in order to wind up a loved ones estate and it has been one of the worst experiences of my life. I am in the process of compiling a 'death box' for my wife and I so whoever is left to sort things out will have everything to hand.

  12. #12
    Craftsman
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    Whilst not helping with physical items password managers like LastPass can assist with online issues. You can either have a family plan so everyone has access or you can set up an emergency access feature whereby you give a trusted person an access code. You can also use LP as a storage vault for files such as pdfs so you can keep scanned copies of important documents & have them available as long as you can log in.

    The advantage of a pasword manager is that it's always up to date & you don't have to keep updating a document stuck in a safe somewhere. You can store notes in it so you have a central point for lists of things like bank account details & the like.

  13. #13
    Master subseastu's Avatar
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    I've basically got an A4 envelope in the (approved type) safe that contains wills, some certificates and a couple of pages of all our online websites and passwords. Power of attorney is useful to have

    Sent from my H8314 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by julian2002 View Post
    Safety deposit boxes / or secure storage is definately a thing and is not that expensive starting at about £20 a month for a small one.

    We recently went through this with my mothers estate, she was very disorganised when it came to paperwork although I set up all her online bits and bobs so that was fairly straightforward.
    Eventually we found:
    * The will - held with her / our solicitor.
    * There was a lockbox stored by her bank, this held nothing beyond family documents but was relatively easy to access once the death certificate and will were provided.
    * The house deeds - as the house was purchased in 1968 and the mortgage was paid off in the 90's there was no electronic representation as there usually is with more modern transactions, eventually we tracked a package that was held by her bank via a letter informing my father that the mortgage had been paid off. Even when asking the bank for any other paperwork or packages that they might hold in my parents name they could not provide a definitive answer and were performing a lengthy manual search procedure with an estimate of 'months' to complete. Upon providing the reference number of the package containing the deeds they produced the pack within days.
    * Shares - all their share holdings were paper, we found a bunch of dividend documents and contacted the share company who are being very helpful to transfer ownership.
    * Insurances - we have not yet discovered any beyond the usual car, home and contents so I can't comment on that.

    As you can see it can be very stressful compiling all the information in order to wind up a loved ones estate and it has been one of the worst experiences of my life. I am in the process of compiling a 'death box' for my wife and I so whoever is left to sort things out will have everything to hand.
    Personally I wouldn't pay £20/month but my point was, where are they, don't think most banks have them nowadays.

  15. #15
    Grand Master hogthrob's Avatar
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    Am I right in thinking that a joint bank account gets frozen in the event of one of you dying?


    Some very good suggestions about what to think of. Don't forget that in the event of your death, you need to have a good friend ready to go in and delete your search history.

  16. #16
    I don't believe it gets frozen if it's a joint account - all the money should go to the surviving partner. Certainly this was the case with my father, though clearly we informed the bank of my mother's death.

    I think it is then normal that, as and when the surviving partner dies, the executor should freeze the bank accounts and open a separate one for the estate. But that's just what I recall, so better to seek professional advice.

  17. #17
    Craftsman
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    I think joint bank accounts if “joint and separate” are operable by the survivor, only in the case where two signatures are required for any transaction that it becomes awkward, been known to talk crack at times though.

  18. #18
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitfitter View Post
    I think joint bank accounts if “joint and separate” are operable by the survivor, only in the case where two signatures are required for any transaction that it becomes awkward, been known to talk crack at times though.
    Yes - a joint bank account will just be transferred into the name of the survivor, no matter how high the balance.Just need to produce the death certificate - nothing else.

  19. #19
    Master woodacre1983's Avatar
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    This is a very useful thread! I am in the position of having lost both my parents both in their 70s in the last 2.5 years. Both sudden. When my mum passed my dad knew everything and it was easy to get all the transfers done and everything seamlessly moved to my dad.

    Then when my dad passed we had a massive nightmare. He had left no will. We had to hunt around for bank details finding he had many more than the cards he carried. Details for pension and mortgage was not all together and when it came to selling the house important details regarding solar panels and extensions built was very difficult to locate.

    This made my wife and I think hard my dad would of wanted things to be easy for us but he never planned how to do this. We are now living in a more digital age where it can realistically be harder to get information they just hunting for paperwork.
    We both now have a simple hardback notebook with relevant passwords and details of banks and loans and savings.



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  20. #20
    Master
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    Having lost my father recently this strikes a cord, however I am troubled about the ramifications the theft of such a box could cause.
    Banking, insurance and email details could make identity theft and fraudulent transactions a simple affair.

    Are there any safeguards put in place to prevent such?

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