If you are in business, make sure you also get up to speed about your business, how it works, and the risks it is exposed to.
Normally you should own the life insurance on your husbands life and vice versa. As soon as a death certificate is issued - after about 10 days - the insurance will usually pay out. This avoids waiting for probate which can take 3-6 months – having cash available sooner rather than later helps a lot.
If there is business partnership life insurance, the insurance should be cross-owned and a buy-sell agreement should be in place too – a business life insurance specialist can help you set this up.
What other risks are you exposed to ?
Are you in business ? if so, do you need public liability insurance?
Is the key woman/man insured ?
Do your employees have proper employment agreements ?
Are you heavily in debt?
Does your spouse like to take big risks ?
Do you have emergency money in place? Maybe you need more.
Should your home be in a family trust to protect it against unreasonable creditors ?
Discuss any issues with your spouse and other advisers if necessary.
Make notes, plan actions you will take, and when.
What you should know about your husbands will
Some men can be reluctant to make a will, or talk about death. If he is unwilling, tell him it might be you who dies first, that might help get him along to the lawyers. Just make sure there is a will.
Make sure it is current / updated
If there is a family trust, know how the two tie together
Make sure you know where the wills are, and what is in them
Know who the executors are – and preferably someone young-ish
Enduring powers of attorney
Everyone should have one. Find out more at www.ageconcern.org.nz/epa
But it’s not just an age thing. Anyone can be incapacitated by illness or accident at any age.
My wife informs me that (if I die first) she has worked out who she will use for advice on moving house, and other big issues. And she has another person in mind to manage her money. Both the people she has chosen are ideal and I applaud her foresight.
Do you really need to do all this ?
If you are widowed – yes, you will need to know all of this.
If your marriage is crumbling, give it every chance, and invest in it. The cost of divorce can be crippling, but the effects are not really felt till afterwards when it is too late.
If it does come to divorce, it is the quickest way to lose 50% of your money. Maybe even more if your ex is more knowledgeable about money than you, or has a better lawyer than you have, or can afford.
It is impossible to do a “money knowledge catch up” in the middle of a stressful and emotional marriage breakup. It is far better to get clued up about money early on.
Checklist for women
Get to know all your family’s finances, inside out
Put all legal such as wills in place
Make sure you have appropriate life and other insurances
Manage risk & debt
Be careful about loans to children that might not get repaid
Don’t get burn out, take regular breaks and sabbaticals
Make all the others who live with you pull their weight.
If you are widow, or live alone
Don’t get scammed
Don’t get cleaned out by a predatory new boyfriend
Get a mentor to help you with big decisions, and don’t be hasty
Find a guide to advise you on car and household appliance repairs if you are not that way inclined
Supplied by Alan Clarke, financial & retirement adviser, & author. His second book is virtually complete, & he also writes regular articles for the media & on line – see www.acfs.co.nz
Alan is an independent authorised financial adviser (AFA) FSP26532 & his disclosure statement is available on request and free of charge.