Dear Miss Mostly
I’ve been married to my lovely husband for 32 years. He has always held an executive position in a large company and has taken care of all of our finances since the day we married. My husband has recently become gravely ill and I realize I don’t know what our financial situation is. I have never paid a bill and I don’t even know where our bank accounts are. I’m at a loss. Please help, I’m lost in financial chaos.
Don’t worry I can help.
First, you will need to find all of your financial papers. Here is what you’re going to do. You are going to go through your husband’s desk at home, his computer, his briefcase, his car and if possible his desk at work. By doing this you should be able to find bank statements, car & house insurance invoices, car loans, mortgage papers, land tax invoices, personal taxes returns, utility bills, and credit card statements.
Then once you have gathered all that together, make an appointment with your bank’s Financial Advisor. Talk to them about your situation and ask for their help. They will be able to identify any other bank accounts, investments, credit cards and other financial matters that you are responsible for. Where possible transfer everything into your name. If possible pay off all outstanding credit cards and bills. If you don’t have a credit card in your name, apply for one while you’re at the bank.
Once you have received and activated your own credit card, call each of your husband’s credit cards and cancel them. Follow that up with a handwritten letter directing the banking institution to immediately cancel the credit card.
Complicated financial situations may require you to reach out to a lawyer and/or accountant. They can help you put things in order. Let us know how you do.
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