How to create a financial survival plan

Protect your spouse in case you die

If you suddenly passed away, would your partner know how to pay your household's bills? Does he or she know how to collect on your life insurance policy? Does your spouse know where you keep your will?

Having a plan in place that enables your partner to manage household finances and account for your assets will alleviate stress at a time when your partner is already miserable with grief. But it also will prevent your spouse from making emotional or uninformed decisions he or she might come to regret.

"The best way to help a partner handle the finances after you're gone is to make them a part of managing the finances while you're still here," says Ann Arceo, a financial planner and founder of Savvy Duo Financial Planning in Los Angeles.

Our 9 smart moves will show you how to create a plan so your partner can step in and confidently manage the household finances without your help.

By Amy Fontinelle Contributing Editor