June 15, 2012

Pass on to Clients – Letter from a Widow who is a Chartered Accountant

Sadique Neelgund

This a must read letter for you and your clients. I have not seen a better way to explain need for inculcating financial discipline and having an estate plan in place. Do read… see where you stand yourself as a financial advisor and then pass it on to your clients and prospects… Here goes the letter forwarded to me by Rima Parikh, a CFP Practitioner in Mumbai. Thank you Rima for sharing, it’s appreciated… Sadique Neelgund

Hello Friends,

Few things I learnt after Mithun’s death-

We always believe we will live forever. Bad things always happen to others.

Only when things hit us bang on our head do we realise… Life is so unpredictable….

My husband was an IT guy. All techie. And I am a chartered accountant. Awesome combination you may think.

Techie guy so everything is on his laptop.his to do list. his e-bill and his bank statements in his email. . He even maintained a folder which said IMPWDS. wherein he stored all login id and passwords for all his online accounts. And even his laptop had a password. Techie guy so all the passwords were alpha-numeric with a special character not an easy one to crack. Office policy said passwords needed to be changed every 30 days.So every time I accessed his laptop I would realise it’s a new password again. I would simply opt for asking him ‘What’s the latest password’ instead of taking the strain to memorise it.

You may think me being a Chartered Accountant would means everything is documented and filed properly. Alas many of my chartered accountant friends would agree that the precision we follow with our office documents and papers do not flow in to day to day home life. At office you have be epitome of Reliability / Competent / Diligent etc but. at home front there is always a tomorrow.

One fine morning my hubby expired in a bike accident on his way home from office.. He was just 33.His laptop with all his data crashed.everything on his hard disk wiped off.No folder of IMPWDS to refer back to.His mobile with all the numbers on it was smashed.But that was just the beginning. I realised I had lot to learn.

9 years married to one of the best human beings.with no kids.just the two of us to fall back on..but now I stood all alone and lost.

Being chartered accountant helped in more ways than one but it was not enough. I needed help.His saving bank accounts, his salary bank accounts had no nominee.On his insurance his mom was the nominee and it was almost 2 years back she had expired. but this was just a start.. I didn’t know the password to his email account where all his e-bill came.I didn’t know which expenses he paid by standing instructions.

His office front too was not easy. His department had changed recently.I didn’t know his reporting boss name to start with.when had he last claimed his shift allowance.his mobile reimbursement.

The house we bought with all the excitement.on a loan.thought with our joint salary we could afford the EMI.when the home loans guys suggested insurance on the loan.we decided the instead of paying the premium the difference in the EMI on account of the insurance could be used pay towards prepayment of the loan and get the tenure down.We never thought what we would do if we have to live on a single salary.So now there was huge EMI to look into .

I realised I was in for a long haul.

Road accident case. so everywhere I needed a Death certificate, FIR report, Post Mortem report. For everything there were forms running into pages.indemnity bonds.notary.surety to stand up for you.No objections certificates from your co-heirs..

I learnt other than your house, your land . your car, your bike are also your property… So what if you are the joint owner of the flat.you don’t become the owner just because your hubby is no more. So what if your hubby expired in the bike accident.and you are the nominee but if the bike is in a repairable condition .you have to get the bike transferred in your name to claim the insurance.And that was again not easy. the bike or car cannot be transferred in your name without going through a set of legal documents. Getting a Succession Certificate is another battle all together.

Then came the time you realise now you have to start changing all the bills, assets in your name.Your gas connection, electricity meter, your own house, your car, your investments and all sundries. And then change all the nominations where your own investments are concerned.And again a start of a new set of paperwork.

To say I was shaken.my whole life had just turned upside down was an understatement.You realise you don’t have time to morn and grieve for the person with whom you spend the best years of your life. because you are busy sorting all the paper work.

I realised then how much I took life for granted.I thought being a chartered accountant I am undergoing so many difficulties.what would have happened to someone who was house maker who wouldn’t understand this legal hotchpotch.

A sweet friend then told me dear this was not an end.you have no kids.your assets will be for all who stand to claim.after my hubby’s sudden death.I realised it was time I took life more seriously. I now needed to make a Will. I would have laughed if a few months back if he had asked me to make one.But now life had taken a twist.

Lessons learnt this hard way were meant to be shared.After all why should the people whom we love the most suffer after we are no more.Sorting some paperwork before we go will at least ease some of their grief.

1. Check all your nominations

It’s a usual practice to put a name (i.e in the first place if you have mentioned it) and royally forget about it. Most of us have named our parent as a nominee for investments, bank accounts opened before marriage. We have not changed the same even years after they are no longer there with us. Even your salary account usually has no nomination.. Kindly check all your Nominations.
– Bank Accounts
– Fixed Deposits, NSC
– Bank Lockers
– Demat Accounts
– Insurance (Life, Bike or Car or Property)
– Investments
– PF & Pension Forms

2. Passwords..

We have passwords for practically everything. Email accounts, Bank accounts, even for the laptop you use. What happens when your next in kin cannot access any of these simply because they do not know your password… Put it down on a paper.

3. Investments.

Every year for tax purpose we do investments. Do we maintain a excel sheet about it. If so is it on the same laptop of which the password you had not shared. Where are those physical investments hard copy.

4. Will.

Make a Will. I know you will smile even I would.had I not gone through all what I did.It would have made my life lot easier.a lot less paperwork.I wouldn’t had to provide an indemnity bond, get it notarised, ask surety to stand up, no objections certificates from others…

5. Liabilities.

When you take a loan say for your house or car.Check out on all the what ifs.what if I am not there tomorrow.what if I loose my job.Will the EMI still be within my range.If not get an insurance on the loan.The people left behind will not have to worry on something as basic as their own house.

My battles have just begun…But let us at least try and make few changes so that our loved ones would not suffer after we go.We do not know what will happen in the future.But as the Scout motto goes: “Be prepared”


Original Blog where the letter was posted by Priya
Authored by,

Rima Parikh,


24 Thoughts to “Pass on to Clients – Letter from a Widow who is a Chartered Accountant”

  1. very well written – an eye opener!

  2. Soubhagya says:

    Really a nice & absolute thought provoking story.. Thanks Sadique for sharing this..

  3. Ghar Ghar Ki Kahaani hai yeh – but only when someone suffers he/she understands the pain. Thanks to Sadique and Rima for sharing

  4. Tejal says:

    A true and practical insight……we take things/people for granted. Thanks for sharing.

  5. sachivn says:

    shocking but so very true………………….lots of practical insight…..thanks for sharing Rima N Sadique

  6. touchraj16 says:

    Yes facing few of the problems right now. so nice work.


    Very practical & shocking also……………..this type of happening will continuing . Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thank you everybody. Do share things which you think can be beneficial to other financial planners. Thank you.

    • Priya2p says:

      Thank you Mr. Sadique for sharing my blog… I couldn’t have wished for a better forum where it would reach out to so many more people….and may be touch and change a few lives in its way… As they say…there are some things in life we better learn from others experience…And this jus seemed one of them…Even if 1% of the people who read the blog would follow even half of the suggestions…I would think it was worthwhile…
      Thank you once again for sharing…

      • Hello Priya… thanks for dropping by Network FP platform

        In the first place accept my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. And I must say you are a very strong woman who had the courage to teach the world the lessons you have learnt after your husbands sudden death.

        Your letter on the blog is truly an eye-opener for many of us and general public. And its beautifully authored with practical insights and real emotions. Hats off to you and thanks for sharing it with the world. You may not have realized… but you have done a great service to society by writing this piece.

        Just in case you need any advice/information on financial issues… I will be glad to help you by sharing my knowledge. And I would encourage you keep blogging… it’s an amazing way to connect with the world 🙂

        Take care and wish you all the best going ahead. Life has to be cherished in spite of all the difficulties/eventualities we face.

        Regards… Sadique Neelgund

  9. Thanks for sharing….this one hit real hard.

  10. Why bad things sometimes happen to good people? A lesson in financial planning…..

  11. Abhijeet Chatterjee says:

    Hats off to Priya for sharing her experiences with us in her moment of grief, we can’t thank you enough for this!

  12. Always hope for the best and prepare for the worst. May almighty give you the strength to fight all odds, Priya!

  13. Amarnath Lal says:

    Thanks for sharing,
    We as financial planners have a repsonsible role to play and prepare our clients for the uncertainties.

  14. This letter is access only to Network FP members, what about others (prospects). This letter should reach to every person via various media.

  15. DSVAS says:

    Thanks for sharing .
    My condolences to priya and her family. I pray the god to give her courage and strength in her life.

    I think we have to frequently remind the clients in updating their nominations in all financial accounts as per the list mentioned in check for nomination.

  16. When we try to tell our clients about eventualities they say why are you so cynical we will manage..but I guess reading this they may get a bit closer to reality.

    May God always be with you Priya and thanks, this effort may really save someone else from facing the same.

  17. A must read for all who care about their family. and beyond.

  18. very important…really its an eye opener!

  19. I simply want to tell you that I am newbie to weblog and absolutely savored you’re website. Very likely I’m want to bookmark your website . You definitely come with very good articles. Appreciate it for sharing your website page.

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