Morbid Thoughts For a Friday

IMG_3983Karen hates the fact I won't tell her the password to my computer. There's no reason why I shouldn't really, as I have nothing to hide. Although, that said, this picture of the kitty for the toddler's playgroup Karen is in charge of might give you an idea why I won't.

The main reason I don't tell her is that it stops her being able to unlock my PC while I'm not there and use my Windows account for her own (doing untold damage in the process). She has her own /ROCKALL account and can switch user to use that instead.

But, on a serious note, there is a good argument for her knowing the password; what if I died!?

In our house it's me that "controls" all the finances and pays all the bills etc. Karen doesn't even know the login for our joint bank account.

What worries Karen (and me too since she brought it up) is not knowing what she'd do in the event of my demise. Where are the savings? Who's my pension with? Where are my ISAs? What about the childrens' CTFs? Etc. What I've been planning on doing is putting together some kind of "In the Event of Emergency" envelope that contains everything she needs to know. Maybe I/we should write a will too?

On a less serious note, what about this site? Wonder what would happen if I died. Who would let you know so you could start mourning the loss. Back to a more serious note, who would let me customers know? Karen would need access to my email account so she could let them know. Maybe she could post an obituary here too. Although that really would be pushing it.

Is this something any of you have given any thought to and/or have an action plan for in your household?


  1. Hi Jake,

    Sealed envelope to parents in case of...

    Share everything with the missus.

    Otherwise what's the point of being in a relationship?



    1. Some folks call it a Legacy Drawer:

      "A Legacy Drawer is a drawer in your house with all the important papers that your family needs if something happens to you. It contains everything: your last will and testament, insurance policies, funeral instructions, mutual fund statements, passports, budgets—everything that your spouse and family would need to know if you weren't around. It is also organized in such a way that a nine-year-old could open it up and find any given document in 30 seconds."


      Show the rest of this thread

    • avatar
    • Jono
    • Fri 13 Nov 2009 07:12 AM

    We don't currently have an action plan if you ever snuff it Jake, but I think we should. :)

  2. A couple of years ago a colleague was dying of cancer. He fought it bravely and with very good humour. One of his last e-mails to the group that were keeping in touch with him (the Subsea Industry is a far flung group) talked about keeping well but definitely being "in the Departure Lounge".

    He capped that by preparing his farewell e-mail and getting his son to send it when he passed away. It is one of the more bizarre experiences I have had receiving an e-mail from him when he had just passed away (and I mean within the hour - he had left a space for his son to fill in the time!). At the same time though it was very funny and quite uplifting.

    I'm not suggesting you do the same by the way - just sharing. :-)

    • avatar
    • Ferdy
    • Fri 13 Nov 2009 08:44 AM


    These things are of course personal, but here's my opinion:

    - I think you should start sharing the whole financial thing with Karen. You can still be "in charge" of administration, but at the very least she should have access to it all and understand it. You both carry responsibility and it is essential to know about the financial situation of the family, for both.

    - I would also share your list of customer details with her, so that indeed she can contact them in case of an emergency.

    - I have chosen to explicity write a will. The reason is that in the Netherlands, by default, all my belongings would go to my parents. However, I feel that it is more important that they go to my g/f, because she would in that case face the cost of living alone, whilst my parents are well off already.

    - Concerning personal blogs and sites, I have no plan. Not sure how to deal with that, and how important it is.

    - Concerning my computer password and PIN code of my personal bank account, I will never share it with anyone. Not because I have something to hide, it's because it is of nobody's business and there is no reason for somebody else to know it, not even the love of your life.

    • avatar
    • Phil Petts
    • Fri 13 Nov 2009 08:59 AM

    R.I.P Jake (just in case when the big day does come, the Mrs doesn't update the site!).

    • avatar
    • Keith
    • Fri 13 Nov 2009 10:15 AM

    Jake, this has been a concern in my home for some time. My wife is computer-phobic, so I've had to make allowances for the fact that she refuses to log on to a banking web site.

    The first thing I have done is revert to a paper-and-pencil system for finances. It works well, it's just not as convenient for me. But Pam can go to the binder and see whatever she wants.

    As for the electronic stuff, in my Notes journal, I keep a document that has all the relevant information - passwords, web sites, user ID's etc. I update this whenever I need to, and then print a copy. The printed copy stays in our locked stong box at home. Pam knows where this is, of course, and where the key is. So in case of my demise the family's business life will not be hamstrung.

    Whatever you choose as far as your tactics, I'd recommend you get Karen involved in the finances equally. Why? Well, one, it gets rid of temptation to play with the money, should the temptation ever come. Second, in tight times, it eliminates the possibility of you being the "bad guy" because you are the one who has to say no. If it's a joint effort, then you are really being a team and share the responsibility.

    I think the necessesity for that depends on the personalities involved. But if one partner is the "money master" and the other is not involved, there is always the opportunity for resentment.

  3. Jake,

    Its really important you complete a Will. If you don't and depending on how much your estate is worth (life insurance, house etc) your parents might automatically inherit some of your estate and not Karen & the kids according to some Government formula.

    You also have to consider if you both died - who looks after the kids etc. If you think your will is going to be straightforward - i.e. Karen and then the kids will inherit then go for a Will pack, it will give you pointers about how to word the Will - you have to consider what happens in a serious accident where you might not both die straight away and how the inheritance would work in this case.

    The Will pack is cheap and cheerful and you can consider it a stop gap solution until you get professional advice around tax planning etc.

    Once you have written the Will you need to store it in a safe place and tell people where it is - else whats the point.

    It is morbid but we all go at some point and you do feel better after sorting things out and without a will it can be a nightmare for the people who are left behind to deal with.

    • avatar
    • Rob
    • Fri 13 Nov 2009 11:49 AM

    Here's an example of just such a site. The author of "Save the Cat", Blake Snyder, died suddenly August 4, 2009 at the age of 57. I met him once when I bought the book at the SxSW film festival.



    Beyond writing books about screenwriting, he gave seminars. I think his business partners are continuing this as well as promoting his books. In that way it's a bit different from your situation.



    • avatar
    • kravos
    • Fri 13 Nov 2009 12:45 PM

    Thought I'd share this link with you in case you hadn't come across it yet.


  4. I almost died suddenly last year..I think you know that.

    Concentrates the mind.

    I have a couple of folders with instructions and documents in them + my will. For goodness sake if you haven't got a will, make one. Probate is a nightmare without a will - bad enough with one.

    My other half knows exactly what to do and where to look if I have the big one.

    She also knows who to contact to look after my customers future needs.

  5. Just a quick note on wills. You may or may not need a will; it depends on your financial situation and the laws where you live. I'm in NH and co-own all the major stuff (house, cars, bank accounts) with my wife. My net worth is low enough that I can die without a will and my wife just keeps going. She'd loose title to my Ninja, but I don't think that's much of a loss for her ;-)

    The important bit is to check the laws where you live.

    Re all the secret stuff; either share or put the details in escrow somewhere with instructions for what to do in the event of your demise.

  6. I don't share my passwords either with my wife. For me, it is not a secrecy thing but because even the smallest modification of my environment annoys me. It just takes a long time for the computer to be just like I want it. She just does not understand that at all.

    For the death thing, I second the others with making your will and also a folder for "instructions after death".

    • avatar
    • Caroline
    • Sun 15 Nov 2009 04:03 PM

    I've wondered about this lots, too. Or what if I'm not dead but someone else has to use my details on my behalf; perhaps I'm very ill suddenly or something. Not everything's done through the post. I get tons of bills online (as opposed to paper via postman). They'd go unpaid and then there's the trauma of dealing with them to sort it all out when I'm better.

    Not sure of the definitive answer, mind. All I can think of is being organised and putting stuff in a central place and telling that key someone how to unlock the safe, whether that safe is manual or electronic. I wouldn't want it to be something a burglar could run off with though.

    And no, I'm not organised.

    • avatar
    • Giulio
    • Sun 15 Nov 2009 04:51 PM


    Ok, time for an intervention.

    Stop being a paranoid schizo, you've had children with this woman let her log into the banking and your pc.. She owns half of it now any way, Paul McCartney got "rogered royally" and he is worth millions. So unless you have something comparable, what are you really worried about.

    If you really need to satisfy your OSD (Obsessive Security Disorder), set her up with her own account, and disable access to apps, also run some more backups and be done with it...

    At the end of the day what's more important, your wife, or the pretty plastic and glass stuff sitting on your desk ?

    I know that was rough, but sometimes the direct approach helps you work out what you think needs to be prioritised.

    • avatar
    • Frank
    • Mon 16 Nov 2009 01:45 PM

    I personally have a special DVD which contains all the crucial information, files, passwords, and instructions should I kick the bucket!

    • avatar
    • Erik
    • Thu 19 Nov 2009 09:42 AM

    Ah, don't worry about the site. Just send me all your passwords, they'll be safe with me.

    • avatar
    • Ken
    • Fri 20 Nov 2009 09:00 AM

    I use: http://keepass.info/

    We my wife and I keep all our important sensitive info there and use a

    master password both of us know.

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