It's hard for most people to plan for their death but one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones is to create an estate plan and with it a List of Guidelines for Location of Assets and Final Instructions.
In addition to your will and trust, you should prepare and keep current a list of your assets and a letter of instruction to provide the executor or trustee with important information to handle your estate and personal affairs in the most efficient manner. Copies should be distributed to your executor or trustee (if other than yourselves) and one copy should be in the binder that contains your will or trust.
The Location of Assets list should contain the following if applicable to you:
1. Bank Accounts: List all your bank accounts, with name and address of bank, account number, name on the account, and type of account. If any are online accounts, list Log In Name and password.
2. Stocks & Bonds: List all bonds with their serial number, denominations, and names in which they are registered. List all shares of stock, with name in which issued and name and phone number of brokers.
3. Pension or Profit Sharing Plans: List all plans and the location of any pertinent documents.
4. Mutual Funds: List all mutual funds and the location of any pertinent documents.
5. Real Estate: Location of deeds, names and phone numbers of any mortgage lenders involved.
6. Life and Other Insurance Policies: List all policies with name and address of company, policy number, amount of coverage, beneficiaries, and name, address and phone number of insurance agent. List of homeowner’s, fire, casualty, and other insurance policies, including name and address of company, policy number, amount of coverage, beneficiaries, and name, address and telephone number of insurance agent.
Instructions Upon Death should contain the following information, if applicable to you:
1. Persons to Notify: Persons to be notified upon death, with their addresses and phone numbers. This may include such people as relatives, employer, lawyer, partners or business associates, accountant, stockbroker, clergyman, or rabbi, etc.
2. Burial and Funeral Instructions: List the location of any cemetery plot, deed number,and location of deed. Lists facts needed by the funeral director such as decedent’s full name, residence, marital status, name of spouse, date of birth, place of birth, father’s name and birthplace, mother’s maiden name, military service, length of residence in state, Social Security number, and special wishes and desires (such as words to be inscribed on gravestone, cremation desires with specification as to disposition of ashes.)
3. Location of Important Papers: Location of all important legal and personal papers such as your trust, will, insurance policies, bank books, checkbooks, and certificates of deposits,
bonds and stock certificates,social security and Medicare cards and papers, title and registration documents of automobiles, titles, deeds, and other relevant papers relating to real property, birth, marriage, and divorce certificates,military records, income tax returns, mortgage or other documents relating to outstanding loans.
4. Location of Safe-Deposit Box: Location of safe-deposit box, number, in whose name it is registered, location of key, and list of contents.
5. Memberships: Membership in any fraternal or mutual aid association which has a part of its membership death benefits or insurance coverage, address and telephone number of association, person to contact as to procedure for collecting benefit, and location of certificate of membership or certificate of insurance.
6. Credit Cards: List of all credit cards, with the name and address of the issuer and card number.
7. Automobile Models: List of all automobiles, with year, make, model, body type, number of cylinders, color, and identification number.
8. Location of Personal Effects: List and location of personal effects and other personal property with sentimental value, and names and addresses of persons to whom such property should be given. If you have a letter for disposition of personal property, be sure to update it periodically.
9. Veteran Instructions: If veteran, instructions to notify nearest Veterans Administration of death and ask what benefits are available.
10. Pin numbers and Passwords: If any of your financial matters are handled on line, list log in names and passwords. If accounts need pin numbers, list those.
11. Other Instructions: Any other instructions you would like to have followed in the administration of your affairs.
No one can prepare these guideline and instructions for you. It's something you have to do for yourself and your loved ones. We can however help you create an estate plan that is right for you. Contact us for a free consultation.