If something happened to you today, are your important documents organized so they can be located in the event of an emergency? Consider collecting the following information and telling your family where it is, so they can help you in a time of need:
Wills and Trusts– Nearly everyone needs a will, and a trust can be beneficial for some. Have you provided your attorney’s contact information? Have you reviewed your documents since they were prepared? Marriage, children, grandchildren, divorce, retirement, disability, and real estate purchases may be cause for updating.
Living Will, Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions– Have you prepared them and told your family where they are? If not, your family could suffer inconvenience and needless stress. They are inexpensive and easily prepared, but provide significant peace of mind.
Deeds to Real Estate- Are there provisions for survivorship rights or transfer on death, so that property transfers as you intend?
Mortgages, Promissory Notes, and Loan Agreements - Have you listed account information and payment due dates?
Registrations and Titles- Is ownership current for cars, boats, trailers, and vehicles, and if old loans have been paid off, have their liens been removed from the titles?
Financial Accounts- Are account statements organized for checking, savings, money market, mutual fund, and brokerage accounts, and for certificate of deposits? Do they include current interest rates and maturity dates, and banker or broker contact information?
Retirement Accounts- Have you listed account information for IRA, 401-k, employer pension plan, or other retirement accounts? Are the beneficiaries current?
Credit Cards- Have you a list of current cards, with addresses and account numbers?
Insurance Policies- Have you listed policy numbers and agent contacts for home, life, annuity, health, disability, long term care, and automobile policies?
Safety Deposit Box- Have you inventoried the contents and provided location, box number, and key? Have you granted access rights to any family members?
Combinations and Passwords- Have you provided safe and lock combinations, and passwords to computers and on-line accounts?
Tax Records- Are your federal and state income tax returns organized, with amounts and due dates for any estimated tax payments, and contact information for your accountant?
Business Records- If you own a business, are any partnership, operating, or buy-sell agreements accessible and up to date?
Take a few moments to review this list with those you love and who depend on you. The help of an estate planning attorney on any necessary organization and revision will do much to assure your piece of mind.
If you have any questions about any of the information contained in this blog, see my estate planning website or contact Cincinnati attorney David H. Lefton at 513-399-PLAN (7526) or by email at email@example.com.