Getting your financial affairs in order doesn’t need to be complicated. This is one of the biggest steps of creating your estate plan and we are here to help you. It can be scary to sit down and really take a look at everything, but once you do, you can rest assured that your loved ones will be taken care of. Organizing your finances as a part of your estate plan ensures a smooth transition for your family if something were to happen to you. Creating a wealth inventory is the best way to organize your finances for your loved ones.
Creating a Wealth Inventory
A wealth inventory will list all your accounts, login information, and estimated balances. This can be a huge list so here are some categories to start in and others not to forget.
- Income: List your sources of income you receive. Include any relevant employment information and contact information. This will help your trustee or executor to be able to notify anyone necessary of your death or incapacity and also determine if you or your estate are entitled to additional payments or benefits. Include any pensions you are entitled to and any government benefits you are receiving.
- Properties: This information will enable your agent or representative to locate and protect the value of your assets. Include the addresses of any properties you own and where the deeds and mortgage information can be found. Provide account numbers for mortgages and where the mortgages are held. Also include any leased or rented property, contact information, amount of rent, terms of lease, etc.
- Vehicles: For each vehicle you own, list the type of vehicle, make, model, and year, VIN number, license plate number, location of title and registration, who the vehicle is registered to, and where the vehicles are located. If you have loans on any vehicles, list the contact information and account numbers for how to access the loan information.
- Bank, Brokerage, and Retirement Accounts: Provide the type of account, the account number, contact information for where the account is held, names on the account, beneficiaries of the account, and login information.
- Business Interests: If you are a business owner, provide names and addresses of businesses, names of owners and their ownership percentages, principal assets and liabilities, key employees, and your succession plan.
- Personal Items: For any significant items you own that don’t fall under these other categories, list estimated values and where the items are located. Include cash, jewelry, art, collections, antiques, etc. Don’t forget any items you may have in storage, and where the storage is located.
- Insurance: For all insurance policies, list type of insurance, policy number, contact information for insurer. Include life insurance (and beneficiaries), long term care insurance, medical and dental insurance, homeowners and any property insurance, vehicle insurance, any business insurance.
- Debts: It may seem counterintuitive to include debts on a “wealth inventory” but these are important to your overall financial life and will be paid from the estate before it can be distributed. Don’t forget any debts that are owed to you. For debts you owe, list credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, student loans, and include login information, account numbers, contact information, and location of any relevant paperwork.
- Locked Places: Here you should provide access instructions for all your locked places. This should include both physical and digital places. This can include: storage units, safe deposit boxes, computers, cell phones, cloud storage, WiFi, email, etc. For physical places include locations, access codes, location of keys, etc. For digital places include all login information, access codes, emails associated with accounts, etc.
- Service Providers: Provide contact information for your regular service providers like health care practitioners, lawyers, accountant, home maintenance providers, personal care providers, vehicle maintenance providers, internet, cable, and any home services you’re subscribed to.
- Memberships: List memberships and organizations that will need to be notified of your death. This list could include everything from professional and civic organizations, to volunteer groups, your church, or retail buyers’ clubs like Costco.
Organizing your finances can be tedious. But once it’s done, you can make updates as needed and know that your loved ones will be able to take care of things if you aren’t able to. We can help you through the process and have resources to help with your wealth inventory. We offer a free consultation so we can learn about you and your family’s goals. Contact us with any questions and to set up your consultation.
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.