This article from the Wall Street Journal, Paperless World Can Leave Heirs in the Dark, outlines the dangers of keeping all your records on your computer. With online bank accounts becoming more common, there might not be paper statements of your accounts, and if you don't leave a record of them, your heirs might never know you had them. And it's not just your death that would require them to know what you have, if you become incapacitated and funds are necessary to pay for your care - you'll want your loved ones to know where to find those funds.
The article outlines the information you should have in case of an emergency. It doesn't need to be posted on your refrigerator, but it should be kept in a safe place in your house, and you should let someone you trust know where to find it. The information includes:
- details about your assets, what they are, how they are held, where to find the account information. If you have out-of-state real estate or other assets, be sure to include these.
- the names of your advisers - your financial planner, your accountant, your attorney, the guardian you've chosen for your minor children.
- information about any safe deposit boxes you might have.
- where your estate planning documents are located: your Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, Will, Trust and deeds.
- insurance policies: long term care, life and health.
- financial information
- personal contacts
- location of important documents
- whether you want burial vs. cremation
- how to care for pets
- family medical history
- special gifts you'd like to leave for loved ones
- and even space for you to start documenting the type of legacy (other than financial) that you would like to leave behind for your loved ones.
To help you get started, and to provide the often necessary accountability to complete the workbook, Gwen holds small group sessions or individual meetings.
Click here to receive the Workbook at a special rate, just for readers of this website. You could get them for you and your family members for the holidays, as a good way to start the discussion about planning and your wishes for the future.