We regularly assist our clients with many aspects of their financial lives. Our assistance does not end when a client passes away. Rather, after a client passes away we often work closely with their next of kin to assist with the numerous financial details that need to be addressed following their death. These details can include date of death account valuation, bill-paying, and reregistering and transitioning assets. Also, over the years, we have worked with countless widow(er)s and with the children of our deceased clients as they attempt to identify and track down their loved one’s assets and liabilities. Often times, even if the deceased client left his/her papers in good order, difficulties arise as the remaining family members try to figure out where all the client’s assets are located and how they are titled. This arduous task is further complicated if a client dies and his/her financial papers are not in order.
One way to help your family members after your death is to leave them a current and comprehensive financial check list that clearly specifies what all your assets are and where they are located. This check list will also come in handy if you become temporarily incapacitated due to an accident or illness. In particular, you should consider including the following items in your financial checklist:
- The names and contact information for your attorney, accountant, financial advisor, insurance agent and any other professionals who assist you
- A list of all your estate planning documents(e.g. will, power of attorney, health care directive, trusts, living will, etc.) and where they are located
- The location and contents of any safe deposit boxes as well as the location of any important papers such as real estate deeds
- The names of all your banking relationships including the account name and number for each account
- Information pertaining to any trust account you may have such as the location of and tax ID number for the trust and the trustee’s name
- Information pertaining to all of your investment,retirement,529 plan, custodial, and brokerage accounts including account numbers and the title, type and location of each account
- The names of your beneficiaries for each account you have that passes according to your beneficiary designations (e.g., insurance policies, IRA’s, employer-sponsored retirement plans)
- Information pertaining to all your life insurance policies (e.g., type of policy, issuer, beneficiary, amount of the death benefit, and location of policy)
- Information pertaining to any annuities you own (e.g. type of annuity contract, issuer, beneficiaries, death value, etc.)
- The location of any real estate you own along with other important details such as your mortgage information
- Information pertaining to any investments you may own outside of your investment accounts like book entry stock shares or shares in a direct reinvestment plan (DRIP)
- Location of your list of online passwords and usernames for your financial accounts
Please note that this is just a sample of the kind of information you may want to include in your financial checklist. For example, you may have other assets (art work, stamps, coins, etc.) the details of which should be included in your checklist.
If you would like more information about creating your financial checklist, please do not hesitate to contact your financial advisor at BLBB. We have a sample questionnaire you can use. Also, you may want to consider providing a copy of your checklist to a trusted family member or advisor or telling your trusted family member or friend where they can find your checklist in case of your death or incapacity. (Please note that much of this information is also helpful for us to have as we assist you in managing and investing your assets.)