Thrive When I Die - The Couples Expert

The more we advance in years, the more we have to face the facts that we’re on heading towards the end of life. We don’t want to be morbid, or dwell on our mortality, but we do think you need a “When I Die” file. This file, more than a will or living trust, will be a great help to your partner and your family after you’re gone. Your when I die file will be unique to you and give your family and spouse a great deal of comfort and will make dealing with the business of tying up all your loose ends , business transactions and obligations much easier.

It’s important that you talk with your partner about your when I die file. Make sure they know where it’s located and what it contains. You need to be diligent about keeping it up to date with current information and to remove anything that no longer pertains. Both of you need to have a standing appointment about twice a year to get together and update your when I die file.  Remember, it’s not helpful unless it’s kept current. 

What should be contained in your file? Everything from a list of online passwords, to bank statements to end of life wishes, funeral plans, real estate investments, any stocks or bonds you own and how to access the information. A copy of your will or living trust should also be included. What you want to do is make it easy for your partner to settle your affairs, and to be fully informed on what your assets are at the time of your demise. Having all of this in one location, organized and containing instructions from you will make these tasks so much easier for your grieving partner. Things are going to be tough enough when you die, that you don’t want to make it any harder on the family or your partner than it needs to be.  The when I die file is truly a godsend for grieving families. I also hope that the contents of this is also included in your will so that when your family is grieving they only need to go to one place to get what they need. Things are going to be hard enough for them

Both you and your partner need to have one of these files and to keep it up to date. Don’t wait until you’re old or ill. We don’t know when our time will come. Create your file now. Make it a couple’s project.  Spend the time now to sleuth out all the little details about your life and business dealings so your partner won’t have to do it alone later on. With this information in hand, your partner will know exactly how to proceed with your wishes and feel confident that they are carrying out your wishes, effectively easing stress and grief in the process. 

It can be difficult to broach a subject like a when I die file with your partner when you’re both hale and hearty, but it’s imperative that you do this as soon as possible. Creating this project together will only bring you closer together and give you an opening to have some of these difficult conversations surrounding end of life for you both. 


  • Stuart Fensterheim

    Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW

    The Couples Expert

    Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. His weekend workshop, Two Days: Seven Conversations has become a popular venue for many to set off on their journey of connectedness. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.