Heirs, wills and trusts seemed like the furthest thing from most peoples’ minds until recently. When death statistics from Covid-19 started scrolling down TV screens, though, a lot of adults over 55 realized their risks. The terrifying worldwide pandemic turned many days of carefree retirement into fear of a new, deadly disease that could affect grandparents, maybe even kill them. The first question many of them asked: “Are my finances in order?”
How will your family know where to find what you leave behind?
While some grandparents have done their estate planning and left items like, wills, trusts, probate details and patient advocate designations safely in the hands of their attorney, most have not.
Are your finances in order?
Many older adults would be hard-pressed to locate the deeds to their homes, or titles for their cars, yet alone a list of all their assets, outlining where valuables should go after their days on earth are done. Whether – or not – aging parents have written a will or provided a trust, there’s one thing everyone can do to make things easier for their heirs.
Buy a big, three-ring binder
The next time you shop for office supplies, bring home the biggest three-ring notebook you can find, along with a package of sheet protectors. Set aside a day or two to round up all of your important papers, putting them into plastic sleeves. Make a list of your online accounts with passwords. Then, file everything in your binder, including:
- Family records, such as birth certificates, licenses, leases, liens or contracts.
- Names and numbers of all relevant contacts, including attorneys, doctors, debt-holders, etc.
- Bank account information, such as savings, checking, CDs, money market accounts, loans.
- Contact info and access numbers for all creditors, including credit card companies.
- IRA retirement account details, as well as proof of non-IRA investments.
- Titles for vehicles in your garage (or loan details if unpaid).
- Deeds to all properties (or mortgage paperwork if unpaid).
Store your binder in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box at your bank. Then, let loved ones know where to find it when they need it. You’ll rest a lot easier when all your finances are in order.
Manage Your Money . . . financial facts for a brighter future provided by Advancd Asset Management LLC
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Ronald Van Surksum, CFP
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