Grieving the passing of a loved one is no time to be sorting through important paperwork. The best case scenario, would be for you to have an inventory of final papers and last wishes prepared for your loved ones.
McGill’s Legal Aspects of Life Insurance offers ideas on how to build an inventory list for surviving family members to handle the estate appropriately. An important tip is that there should be multiple copies in separate locations for safekeeping. And to have an inventory of final papers and last wishes prepared is key.
The inventory list should include the following:
- Location of safe deposit boxes and keys to those box
- List real and personal property
- Include birth, marriage divorce, annulment, death, military discharge and passport documents
- Identify all trust documents and locations
- Include all insurance policies and their locations
- List all liabilities
- List pension or retirement account
A section should be created concerning debt and credit cards. Listing information that includes name, address, phone and creditor as well as amount. If you have an agreement, again on your inventory list you do not have to attach but indicate where the documents can be located. Major items of personal property should be listed such as books, paintings, jewelry, boats, planes, mortgage numbers and the location of the deed.
Finally, a listing of all sources of nongovernmental retirement and death benefits should be added. Pension plans, annuities, IRA’s, 401ks and Keogh plans. Check with your life insurance company if they have an inventory checklist that you can use to build your list. Insurance companies that sell homeowners insurance may also offer an inventory. Make sure that you keep the inventory accurate, changing anything that needs to be updated.
If ownership interest is involved in a partnership then a business agreement should be established with the aid of legal counsel. As McGill stresses, it is essential that you share plans with intended beneficiaries as well as make your plans and list.
Multiple copies of an inventory of final papers and last wishes should be in the hands of the intended involved.
Want to learn more about life insurance? Read our article The Most Frequently Asked Life Insurance Questions.