Did you anytime realise what would happen if you don’t discuss the most important thing the FINANCIAL ISSUES WITH YOUR FAMILY? Yes, it may even throw your family into chaos if something untoward were to happen. SUHASINI REDDY helps you put together everything you need.
Hyderabad based entrepreneur smitha Reddy’s ( named changed) husband was 39 when he died of sudden cardiac arrest. She and younger son were devastated, and had to face the turmoil of uncertain financial issues. Reddy says, “ not only was I earning then, I was also clueless about where my husband had invested money; What my Legal status would be in the family since he had not left a will; where the lie insurance papers were... everything was in a mess.” Unfortunately, hers is not the only case. Often, women tend to leave all financial matters to the men of the house. But a sudden death or mishap could leave them floundering with no idea where to start looking for crucial information and documents. This is why it is important to create a black box a physical or digital repository- that has all the essential information and documents of each member of the family, as well as all the financial information, in one place. We help you get started.
What is the purpose of a black box? Why do need one ?
This is a single place where all important data and documents are kept when needed can come in handy for your family in the case of any eventuality. It helps ensure that your absence or inability does not come in the way of your family’s financially safety.
Always, remember to give your spouse and older children or trusted inner circle access to the black box via nominations or log in details.
It should be digital
Your black box should also contain copies of your and your families important documents like PAN card. Aadhar card, Passport and drivers licence. List these details in an offline spreadsheet and keep them in a digilocker. Alternatively, list these in paper and keep them in your bank locker and provide access to a trusted member of your circle. There are many digilockers available online. Even the government of India has one which can be accessed at digilocker.gov.in.
It provides you with cloud storage space linked to your Aadhar number. You can store e-signed legacy documents too. Ensure that you add contacts details wherever possible. A periodic update of balances in your list would also help. Sharing these details with a chartered accountant or lawyer is also a good idea.
Where do you maintain it?
You have two options: a cyber locker or a bank locker is a digital media service that stores your important documents ( scanned or in digital form). It is accessible as long as you have an internet connection. You could also share access with your family members by providing them the password. A bank locker is a safety box that you can take on rent from a bank to keep your valuables secure. Access to a bank locker is restricted and you have to physically go there with valid ID PROOF to access your things. You can nominate only one person to access your locker in the event of your death m. Lockers can also be operated jointly.
What should it contain?
Start with a master list of everything you’re putting in the locker. This acts as a checklist when you’re adding things and ensures that you’ve included everything important. Your black box must also contain the following items.
WILL: A will supersedes a nomination and ensures that the assets are bequeathed to the rightful heirs. All movable and immovable assets, including property, FD bonds, insurances and other assets are to be movable too.
Bank account details: keep updated passbooks, physical statements, and online access details to all your bank accounts. Add fixed or recurring deposits along with bank locker details. If utility payments it other outgoings are linked to a bank account, mention that as well. If you have accounts in foreign banks, include those details too.
Mutual funds: list folio numbers/ asset management company details with the login ID and password to your online accounts as well as the contact details of the company and your liaison. You can also include details of any portfolio management services here.
Direct equity investments:
If you have direct equity investments, you will have a demat account where you maintain them. List the investments you have made and share the details of your broker.
Maintain digital and physical copies of all insurance policies. Also list the policy numbers, amount, type of policy, beneficiary, nominee, riders, date of premium payment, date of maturity, online access details and contact details of your insurance agent.
Funds and bonds: if you’ve invested in a public provident fund, post office savings, government bonds, national pension scheme or any other bond, you need to include them in your black box. Most of these have documents or passbooks that should be scanned and uploaded to your digital digilocker. Keep the physical copy in the bank locker.
Every individual has a UAN ( unique account number) given by the employees provident fund organisation to its members. This number stays the same, even if you change jobs. Details of the same can also be kept.
Real estate/ other:
If you own a house, keep the legal documents here. Maintain a record of investments in gold and unregulated investments like chit funds/ kitty money etc, in paper or scanned. You could also make a list of all jewellery and items of value.
Home loan documents:
Store physical and digital copies of updated documents related to your home loan. Specifically insurance related to it, and related property documents.( like sale deed)
Loans and credit cards:
Maintain details of any loans, listing the amounts to be paid, time remaining to repay the loan etc. Make a list of all your credit card and debit cards, with their respective numbers and contact details of the card company.