7 On Your Side's checklist to stay prepared in case of loved one's death

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Nearly seven out of 10 Americans don't have a will. That means most of us aren't ready if the worst happens.

It's not something we like to think or even talk about, are we ready if something happens to a loved one?

7 On Your Side has a quick checklist that could cushion the financial blow before a devastating tragedy.

Ask yourself this, do you know your partner's PIN numbers, passwords, or even how to get into their phone?

If the answer to any of these is no, that could be a major roadblock.

Just in case something life-changing happens access to accounts is everything.

Your partner may not want you snooping around on his or her phone, but being able to access account number is really important is something should happen to one of you.



Leslie Tayne, a debt relief attorney says clients have come to her after unexpectedly losing a spouse, with no clue on the family budget or access to any funds.

She recommends creating a "just in case" file. With important documents like deeds, life insurance, home and auto policies, and mortgage papers.

But also, a keep a log of everything from PIN numbers to credit cards and bank accounts, along with passwords to access online accounts.

If your partner is resistant to sharing, protect yourself by paying attention to mail, making copies of bills. And try to monitor emails from financial institutions and take note of any text reminders.

It's important to establish a relationship with creditors now because you may not have access to accounts once your partner is gone.

The big takeaway is to take some steps now to avoid problems later, add your name authorizing you to speak on the accounts.

Establish a living will, which is critical for making end-of-life choices.

Also is having power of attorney, very important for anyone dealing with an aging parent too. You won't be on the hook financially with POA, but you will be able to get access accounts and make decisions.

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