The financial aspects of your estate plays a significant role in getting your affairs in order.

Being prepared is not just a Scout motto or code. It can transcend to what you how you plan to maintain security within you household. Preparedness includes organizing your finances so that there is less panic by your family in the future. Preparing in such a way reminds me of Valentines Day, quite honestly. What better way to show your family you love them, by being prepared and organized for when that time comes. Here are my tips to get you started.

1. Income

Here list the sources of regular income you receive. This information will enable your representative to provide them with notice of your death or incapacity and determine if you, your estate, or family members are entitled to additional payments or whether any overpayments need to be returned. 

A. Employment

If you are employed, provide contact information for your employer.

B. Pensions

If you are receiving or are entitled to a pension, provide contact information for your pension plan administrator.

C. Government Benefits

List any government benefits you currently receive, and the program from which you receive them.


2. Property

This information will enable your agent or representative to locate and protect the value of your assets.

​​​A. Real Estate

List the address of any properties you own and the location of the deeds, mortgage documents, and leases, if any. If your property is mortgaged, provide the account number and contact information for the mortgage holder. If your property is leased, provide contact information for the lessees and amount of rent.

List the address of any properties you rent, contact information for the owner or manager, the amount of rent, the term of the lease, and where the lease is located.

​​​B. Vehicles

For each vehicle you own, list: the type of vehicle; make, model, and year; VIN number; plate number; location; location of title and registration; name(s) on title; and, if the vehicle is financed, contact information for the creditor.

C. ​​​​​Bank and Brokerage AccountsFor each account provide: the type of account, the account number, contact information for the institution, type of assets held in the account, name(s) on the account, pay on death beneficiary if any, location of statements, and user name and password for online access to the account. If you have an ATM card, provide the card number and PIN.

D. ​​​​​​Retirement Accounts

For each account, provide type of plan, account number, contact information for the plan administrator, identity of beneficiaries, location of statements, and user name and password for online access to the account.

E. BusinessInterests

Provide the name and address of the business, names of owners and their ownership percentages, principal assets and liabilities, key employees, and your succession plan. Also provide the location of business documents.

F. ​​​​​​Other Property You Own

Describe any other significant assets you own such as cash, jewelry, art, antiques, collections etc. and where they are kept. Don’t forget items in storage or on loan to others.

3. Insurance

List your insurance policies. For each policy provide the type of insurance, policy number, and contact information for the insurer.

Include:

  • Life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. For this type of insurance, also identify the beneficiaries.
  • Long term care insurance.
  • Medical and dental insurance.
  • Homeowner’s and other property insurance.
  • Motor vehicle insurance.
  • Other insurance, e.g., malpractice; errors and omissions; personal liability; and umbrella.

Your agent or representative will need this information to make claims, continue to pay premiums if necessary to keep the policy in force, and to cancel the policy when it is no longer needed.

4. Debts

Your agent or representative will need this information to pay your debts, which must be paid before your estate can be distributed, and to make sure all sums due to you or your estate are received.

A. ​​​​​​Debts That You Owe

List your debts, such as student loans, personal loans, and credit cards. Provide your account numbers, contact information for each creditor, and location of any other relevant paperwork.

B. Debts​​​​​​That Are Owed to You

List the type of debt, contact information for the debtor, and location of the note or any other relevant paperwork, such as a payment schedule and payment history.

5. Locked Places

Here you should provide access instructions for all your locked places, both digital and physical.

They could include:

A. Locked Storage

Provide information about storage units and safe deposit boxes. Include name of institution or business, location, box or unit number, names of people with access, location of keys, and combinations.

B. Electronic Equipment and Digital Spaces

List user ids and passwords for accessing: computers; tablets; cell phones; apps; cloud storage, Wi-Fi, email, etc.

C. Physical Places

Provide the location for keys and access codes for: homes, vehicles, garages and storage sheds, home security system, safes, mailbox, file cabinets, locked drawers, security gates, etc. for your regular service providers, e.g., health care practitioners, lawyer, accountant/tax preparer,home maintenance providers, personal care providers, and vehicle maintenance providers. If you are incapacitated, your agent may want to continue many of these services for your benefit. After your death, some may need to be continued to preserve your property and ultimately your representative will need to cancel them.


6. Service Providers 

Provide contact information for your regular service providers, e.g., health care practitioners, lawyer, accountant/tax preparer, home maintenance providers, personal care providers, and vehicle maintenance providers. If you are incapacitated, your agent may want to continue many of these services for your benefit. After your death, some may need to be continued to preserve your property and ultimately your representative will need to cancel them.

7. Memberships

List memberships in organizations that will need to be notified of your death. The list could include everything from professional and civic organizations, to volunteer groups, to your church, to retail buyers’ clubs (e.g., Costco or Amazon Prime).

If you would like to discuss and more with me, please reach out to us via this contact link.

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