Over the course of a lifetime, it's possible to gather quite a muddle of financial and insurance assets. The larger or more active of those investments are probably front and center in our minds. There's probably enough paperwork on them to ...
But wait a minute, is there? Investments might be mentioned in your will, but it would not be unusual to leave out their location. And it would be rare for the investments to be spelled out by name. After all, what's owned today can be swapped for something else tomorrow, advisors change and accounts can be moved. So the first thing we need is a list: the what and the where. What is with your broker, what's with the mutual fund company, whats in the safety deposit box?
Do you have mortgage investments? With whom? When do they mature? Do you have investments with the bank, such as certificates of deposit?
Those are the obvious investments. Annuities, retirement and profit-sharing plans are liable to be discovered over time, even if you don't make a list. Less obvious, though, is that limited partnership you don't even want to think about because it has lost 90% of its value and you're disgusted with it. And how about that coin or stamp collection? Give your beneficiary an idea of its value to thwart potential purchasers who might try to take advantage of their ignorance.
Even if you don't make a list, someone may eventually uncover your life, car and property insurance policies, but a list does away with uncertainty. Some organizations provide members with small life or accident policies. If you don't list those, your family may never collect on them. The same is almost certainly true of those $1,000 accidental death policies banks sometimes hand out to promote their insurance business. Just because they're free is no reason for not considering them valuable.
The kindest parting gift you can give your family and executor? Lists, lists, lists.
This is just one of dozens of helpful ideas presented in The Estate Manual and its electronic counterpart, THEMES - estate planning's missing link. The manual organizes the human side of estate planning. This area is often overlooked, but it makes a huge (and obvious) difference to survivors. It is an easy-to-use system for making sure nothing is left out of your planning. Learn more at: Estate Manual. Com