MoneyDo: Organize Your Estate & Financial Details
During this time of year spring cleaning is a chance to re-fresh, re-organize and declutter. Whether it’s your closet, garage or that back flower bed there’s always something to do. This week’s MoneyDo is to do a spring cleaning of your estate plan and finances. Not only is it a great opportunity to use the shredder for those bank statements from 10 years ago, but it’s critical to ensure organization and ease of access in the event family members need to step in to help in the future.
1) Locate all your estate planning documents. You should have all the originals of your documents kept in a secure, but accessible location. You will also want to make sure you’ve gotten rid of older versions and only keep the current documents on hand. Be sure to provide copies to key family members that have been named in the documents and that they know where the originals are located.
2) Inventory ALL your assets and debts. The written inventory should include:
- Type and titling on the account
- Full account number
- Any beneficiaries listed on the account
- Where the account is located and the contact information of the company or person
- If you log in to the account electronically, provide website, username and password
3) Inventory employer benefits, insurance information (health, home owner’s, etc…), governmental benefits, or veterans’ benefits.
4) List your bills and financial obligations, such as monthly or annual bills, subscriptions or memberships.
5) List other important individuals, such as attorney, accountant, insurance rep, and advisors.
6) List usernames and passwords for social media, e-mail or other online services.
The format is up to you. Some people do it by hand; others use a spreadsheet or electronic document. Annex has a Financial Organizer that our clients find useful to help with the organization.
Once you’ve done this, be sure to share it! If one spouse has been the primary person to organize and track finances, please share this information with the other. It’s important to provide this information to others so if something happens to you it is easy for things to carry on. As with all things your organizer must be kept up to date if things change.
You may have noticed that we didn’t include listing account values or balances. Include that information only if you’re ready to share that with your trusted family members.
We often find that this process makes people realize they have accounts in numerous places. Consolidating assets and accounts may be an important next step to streamline and simplify your finances.