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The death of a family member is always difficult to process. Not only is your loved one gone but you now have to prepare to settle their estate and fulfill their last wishes. Immediately you will start to think of everything that needs to get done. When is the house payment due? Did they have life insurance? In order to keep confusion and distress to a minimum, we recommend that everyone work on organizing all their financial documents into one place.
Having an inventory of everything that someone would need to know about your financial assets is very important. With everything in one place and organized this can help to eases the sorrow and stress of your family.
We recommend that your files be organized into the following sections:
- Personal Papers
- To include social security cards, copy of birth certificate, driver license, passports, and any other identifying documents.
- Estate Planning Documents to include wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.
- Deeds and titles for land and property.
- Tax Returns
- Copy of tax returns for at least the last 7 years.
- Household Inventory
- To include items of value in your home.
- Auto information (make, model, VIN, etc.).
- Advisor and Financial Information
- To include contact information for all the advisors that you work with; financial, accountants, attorneys, brokers, insurance agents, etc. These are the people that most likely you will contact first as they can help you through the estate/claim process.
- Investment and Retirement account information to include Company name, account numbers, log in/passwords, copies of statements.
- Any Liabilities (Mortgage, bank or personal loans, leases, care loans, etc.).
- Credit Card Information.
- Insurance and Benefit Plans
- All Insurance plans (Health, Disability, Long-term Care, Life, Property, Auto, etc.). Make sure to include all details of the policy (policy numbers, owner, premium amounts, due dates).
- Business Documents
- To include tax returns, business ownership documents, buy-sell agreements, etc.
- Family History and Final Wishes
This task can be daunting and time consuming, however, going through this process is very important. First compiling all information can help you discover any missing documentation you need to find or realizing current coverage gaps you need to address. Discussion on these topics can help your family prepare for future plans and set goals.
We encourage you to make this one of your goals! Please let us know how we can help.