I need to Find What?! Why You Need a Life and Estate Organizer

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I need to Find What?! Why You Need a Life and Estate Organizer

Nicole Fasano, J.D., CTFA, Vice President, Wealth Advisor & Trust Officer

“I need to find what?!” is a question often asked after a loved one’s death. From the typical documents, such as life insurance policies, to the less obvious, such as stopping automatic payments from online banking, there are a lot of papers that must be identified after a death in order to administer an estate. How will your executor or successor trustee know what insurance company or bank you used or who you used as your attorney or accountant? This can become a tangled web of information for your loved ones. You can make this process easier by creating a Life and Estate Organizer.  A Life and Estate Organizer sets forth all the information your loved ones may need upon your incapacity or death.  Below are a few examples of the information generally put in a Life and Estate Organizer.

Contact Information
There are many people who need to be contacted upon death. Family needs to be contacted to make funeral plans. Your attorney and accountant should know of your death. Your executor or successor trustee will likely need to work with your attorney to administer your estate and your accountant to prepare your final tax returns.  Putting this information in your Life and Estate Organizer lets your executor or successor trustee know who they need to contact for funeral arrangements and further administration.  Make sure you include phone numbers and addresses.
Estate Planning
Do you have a Will?  Do you have a Living Trust?  Who is your attorney?  Where are the original documents? Your executor needs to know that they are the named executor and have a document to prove it. Make sure you have a document stating what estate planning you have, what attorney you used, and where you keep the original documents.
Personal Finance and Assets
It’s also important to document where you bank.  What bank do you have checking and savings accounts with?  What bank holds mortgages, auto or personal loans?  The banks will need to be alerted when there’s a death to stop any potential fraud and receive all of the correct information for your estate. Also, your executor/successor trustee should know where you keep your insurance policies, for your life, home and auto. Original life insurance policies generally have to be turned in to the company upon death so it’s important that your trustee knows where you keep the originals.
Digital Assets
A consideration that is fairly new, and therefore often forgotten, is your digital property. You want to make sure your executor/successor trustee has the websites and your usernames and passwords. You would need this for any sort of digital property, such as, social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), Photos (Instagram, Flikr), Online Business (Ebay, Etsy), Book, Music and Movies (iTunes, Amazon) or any other digital assets you may have. We often forget how much information we have stored mentally. That all goes with us at incapacity and death. At Alpine Trust & Investment Group we provide the necessary resources to create your Life and Estate Organizer, helping you to plan for the future. Although it can be a tough subject to broach, it’s important to understand how important this will be for your loved ones, providing them a little peace of mind and clarity in an otherwise difficult time.

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