How to create a financial survival plan

Don't forget about your debts

Your partner needs to know what debts you have (both joint and separate), their amounts and how the law treats them after death or disability. You don't want your partner's credit to take a hit over a debt that gets sent to collections, nor do you want debt collectors suckering her into paying a debt she isn't liable for.

If your partner is a joint account holder, she is responsible for any credit card debt. If she is only an authorized user or not on the account at all, she isn't responsible for the debt; the deceased's estate is. But in community property states, your spouse may still have to pay off your credit card bills.

Federal student loans will be discharged if you die or become totally and permanently disabled.

Joint debts, such as student loans that a parent or partner cosigned for, become taxable to the surviving cosigner as canceled debt. Make sure your will leaves money for that person to pay the tax bill.