Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Planning Ahead for an Unexpected Event

     A short time ago a client of mine passed away unexpectedly. A few days after the memorial service I got a panicked call from his widow who said, "I am sitting in the middle of a circle of papers and documents, I have no idea what to do, or how I am supposed to pay the bills!" 
     While this couple saved, invested well, and kept their estate planning documents up to date, he handled the financial issues and never communicated to his wife where anything was or how to handle the day-to-day financial obligations. I calmed her, assured her that because of their good savings and spending habits she would have no financial issues, and then set an appointment to meet with her and her financial planner to explain to her the extent of her assets and her ability to access them.
     This got me to thinking about preparing for the unexpected and how some clients do a good job of this and some do not. A little preparation can save family members much time and stress at a time when they are already grieving. It is a good idea for both spouses to be familiar with monthly bills and how they handled, and where investment accounts are and how they can be accessed.
     Over the years, to help our clients with this preparation, we have built a list of information we have found useful or important to know when a loved one passes away. This list, or at least its location, should be shared with spouses and children, and updated regularly. 
     We included our list at the end of this post, please feel free to use it and add to it were necessary. Also, feel free to let us know if there is other important information that you feel we should include on the list.   
     It is also a perfect opportunity to remind everybody to "live life to its fullest, but plan for the unexpected.” The planning is obviously more important for those left behind.


Inventory and Location of Legal Documents:
Will:______________________________________________________________
Trust:_____________________________________________________________
Power of Attorney:__________________________________________________
Living Will:_________________________________________________________
Patient Advocate Designation:_________________________________________
Important Contact Numbers:
Attorney:__________________________________________________________
Accountant:________________________________________________________
Broker:____________________________________________________________
Financial Planner:___________________________________________________
Life Insurance Agent:________________________________________________
Property Insurance Agent:____________________________________________
Doctors:___________________________________________________________
Spiritual Leader:____________________________________________________
Funeral/Burial Arrangements Desired
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Close Family and Friends to Notify
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Location of Assets
Deeds to property:___________________________________________________
Bank Accounts and PIN #s:___________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Brokerage Accounts #s and Passwords or PINs:___________________________
Certificates of Deposit:_______________________________________________
Mortgages:________________________________________________________
Safety Deposit Box Location:__________________________________________
Retirement Plans and IRAS:___________________________________________
Annuities:__________________________________________________________
Life Insurance Policies and Beneficiary Designations:
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
Vehicle Titles:______________________________________________________
Collectibles:________________________________________________________
Stock Certificates:___________________________________________________
Service Providers
Gas:______________________________________________________________
Electric:___________________________________________________________
Cable:____________________________________________________________
Internet:___________________________________________________________
Landscaping:_______________________________________________________
Telephone:_________________________________________________________
Newspapers/Magazines:______________________________________________
Plumber:__________________________________________________________
Heating and Cooling:_________________________________________________
Electrician:_________________________________________________________
Handyman:________________________________________________________
Important Passwords
Computer:_________________________________________________________
Email:____________________________________________________________
Router:____________________________________________________________
Creditors
Mortgages on Real Estate:____________________________________________
Other Borrowing:____________________________________________________
Credit Cards to Pay and Cancel:_______________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________ 

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