We first shared this blog in July of 2011. I hope you find it as useful today as it was then.
Thefinancial consequences of failing to keep your legal and financial documents inorder can be significant. As pointed out in a recent Wall StreetJournalarticle, state treasurers currently hold $32.9 billion in unclaimed bankaccounts and other assets. Additionally, some of the countryâ€™s largest lifeinsurers are under investigation for failing to pay out unclaimed life policiesto beneficiaries. Insurers say they are behaving lawfully and under theirpolicy contracts are required to pay a claim only when beneficiaries comeforward.
Willyour family members reap the full benefit of your estate planning efforts, orwill they miss out simply because they cannot locate all of your importantlegal and financial documents in a timely manner? Of course, you donâ€™t have tokeep every single scrap of paper, but the WSJ offers a pretty comprehensivelist of the 25 most important legal and financial documents you should compile,and make sure your heirs can quickly access, to include:
- Letter of instruction
- Trust documents
- Housing, land, and cemetery deeds
- Escrow mortgage accounts
- Proof of loans made and debts owed
- Vehicle titles
- Stock certificates, savings bonds, and brokerage accounts
- Partnership and corporate operating agreements
- Tax returns
- List of bank accounts
- List of all user names and passwords
- List of safe-deposit boxes
- Durable health-care power of attorney
- Authorization to release health care information
- Living will
- Do-not-resuscitate order
- Personal and family medical history
- Life insurance policies
- Individual retirement accounts
- 401(k) accounts
- Pension documents
- Annuity contracts
- Marriage license
- Divorce papers
Theoriginal article goes into much more detail with each, and whether you have orneed each of these documents will depend on your individual situation and thevarious legal facets of your life, but it is a list that commands a certainattention. By putting this all together you help your loved ones to morequickly and easily pick up the pieces and put your plan into operation.
Fewthings in life could be more frustrating than putting a great plan togetheronly to have it fail for lack of implementation. At IdahoEstate Planning we have the expertise and resources to make sure your plan is carriedout according to your wishes. Remember, goodplanning is no accident!