We work hard to achieve success. We open bank accounts, invest in the markets, buy life insurance, and set up retirement accounts. We put together a Will to share the fruit of our efforts with our loved ones. We open a safe-deposit box to secure our important papers and valuables. We feel confident we have done all we can to provide for our loved ones. And then we open the door to that one room whose door always remains shut. “How will anyone ever be able to decipher this mess”?
As you ponder this accumulation of not only financial records, but countless other papers, you begin to realize the difficult task your loved ones will face going through this collection of papers to determine not only what you own, but where accounts and other assets are located. Somewhere in this array of information you are certain there are records about your Will and life insurance policies, and where you placed the originals. One of these bags or boxes surely must contain records of your safe-deposit box and its contents. Sounds like the perfect time to conduct an estate plan review and prepare an estate plan inventory.
Developing an estate plan inventory involves not only reviewing your important documents to make sure they are current and still relevant, but also involves preparing a financial spreadsheet of your property. This inventory should provide detailed descriptions of the specific items of property and indicate where they are located or maintained. For instance, “checking account number maintained at XYZ Bank” or “brokerage account number maintained with ABC Investments”. Detailed information concerning life insurance policies and retirement accounts should be reflected, including policy/account numbers, companies issuing or maintaining the policies/accounts and names of beneficiaries. The inventory must reflect the exact location of original documents such as a Will, original stock certificates or life insurance policies. Information regarding location of any safe-deposit box and a detailed list of contents should be included, especially if it contains an original Will or life insurance policies, as those documents must be accessed quicky. If important account and other financial information is maintained on a computer, information regarding those records and how to access them must be included within this inventory, such as username and password information. The inventory should be reviewed annually to make sure it is accurate. Last, but not least, a copy of this inventory should be given to your spouse or other trusted individual who has been designated in your Will or Trust to oversee and handle your affairs.
If you need assistance with developing an estate plan inventory or with any of your other estate planning needs, at Bob Bible Law, we have the knowledge and over 30 years experience to help you navigate and structure a comprehensive estate plan.