Certified financial planner Sean Fletcher of San Francisco knew his dad had an estate plan, complete with a health care directive detailing what medical treatment should be given in an emergency. When the father had a massive heart attack, though, no one knew where he kept those documents.
Fletcher’s family was lucky: An aunt found the paperwork in a closet. It’s not enough to be organized and responsible. We need to think about who will be responsible next. Fortunately, there are several sites that can facilitate that transition for our aging parents — and also for ourselves:
Whealthcare. Users answer questions on the Whealthcare site, and these assessments are used to create a “financial caretaking plan” that identifies the issues they are likely to face as they age. The service also provides a transition plan that allows trusted people to take over and a customized to-do list to make sure critical documents are in place. Another assessment gauges a person’s risk for fraud, exploitation and bad financial decisionmaking, and offers recommendations for protecting against those threats. The annual cost is $39 for one individual plan, $69 for a couple and $149 for a family plan that includes up to five people.
Everplans. This is an online vault where you can store important documents, contacts, login credentials, instructions on what to do with your social media sites and anything else your family might need to know to handle your affairs. The site offers step-by-step guidance to identify and organize your important information, from insurance policies to pet care plans. The service costs $75 per year.
EverSafe. This site monitors financial accounts for unusual activity, large transactions and other potential problems. The site alerts you via e-mail, text or automated phone call and can be set up to signal trusted others, as well. The basic service, which costs $7.49 per month after a 30-day free trial, monitors bank and credit card accounts and the dark web, where your personal information may be for sale. For $14.99 per month, you can add credit monitoring. For $24.99, the site will monitor investment accounts as well.
I found the dark web monitoring particularly interesting and was surprised at how many of my passwords had been exposed in various breaches. It was good motivation to change my passwords — and to make sure my trusted deputies could access the new ones. Because protecting all my information and accounts won’t do much good if my family can’t find what they need when I’m gone.
Liz Weston is a writer at NerdWallet. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lizweston.