Proactive, Not Reactive

By on January 19, 2012

Are you a member of The School of Hard Knocks? Yeah, me too. This blog will be updated on an as I can basis. Grief is funny business; at least it is for me. For every few good hours or even a good day, the grief crashes down and covers me…sleepless nights, lack of appetite, lethargy. I tell you this not for sympathy but to explain why the posts aren’t more regular. IOW, most days, I’m doing the best I can. Also, these are my suggestions based upon what has happened to me where I live. For professional advice, consult a professional in the area of need or where you live. Each state differs so check with professionals in your state.

I’m working on putting this information in a more coherent order but for now, it’s going to be rather hodge podge. Still good information though, don’t despair.

The purpose of this blog is to be proactive, not reactive; to give information, based upon my experience, on how to prepare for being the spouse left behind. If you’re single, you still need to know this information; knowing what I’ve experienced will save your heirs a boatload of money, emotional energy and their life’s quota of bad words -smile-.


Please go to your library and check out some books on finances such as Paul A. Tucci’s new book, The Handy Personal Finance Answer Book – Your Smart Reference. It’s a good book but not infallible; his section on vehicles isn’t correct; at least, it’s not correct for where I live. So, read, research and check the facts for your state. Yes, it’s a lot of work but trust me, no one cares for you and your family like you care. Financial advisors, bank employees, lawyers…in so many cases, their care is in direct proportion to how much they get paid…if you’re lucky.

Also, based upon private e-mails sent to me, some of my information will be basic but needed. For example; you need to establish credit in your name, separate from your spouse. I cannot stress this enough…you have to have credit in your name! More later.

You and your spouse need a will, both of you…especially if you have children. A holographic will is acceptable in Virginia; check if it’s acceptable in your state.

Remember the three-ring notebook? That’s where you’re going to put important papers…

  • life insurance
  • health insurance
  • mortgage/deed papers
  • birth certificates
  • marriage license
  • any divorce papers from a previous marriage
  • passports
  • vehicle titles
  • social security cards
  • medical directives
  • power of attorney, if applicable

This isn’t an inclusive list; what else do you suggest?

Also, on a separate piece of paper, write down

*all bank account information – bank names, checking account numbers, savings account numbers, certificate of deposit numbers

I’m a big fan of the public library so take all the cards in your wallet, photo-copy them and put them in the notebook…credit cards, driver’s license, etc.

Are you or your spouse organ donors? You should each know this about the other. If you’re single, make sure your Executor or Executrix knows. BTW, an Executor is the name for the male whom you’ve named to handle your affairs after you’re deceased and an Executrix is the name for the female.

Okay, that’s enough for now, certainly enough to get you started. Besides, I’m wiped out and it’s time to shut down for the day.


Originally posted on

About Thistle Cove Farm

After more than four decades, Sandra Bennett's dream of living on a farm came true, and now lives her dream at Thistle Cove Farm. She writes, photographs, and plans her next travel adventure while teaching workshops in Increasing Small Business and Farm Income; Networking and Partnering and Fleece Management. She's taught at University and in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and at different fiber festivals in the eastern USA. Dave, her beloved husband, passed away in 2011 so now Sandra is learning financial management. Please visit Thistle Cove Farm , her lifestyle blog:, and Wife to Widow blog: where she helps you be “proactive, not reactive."

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Proactive, Not Reactive