Sunday, November 13, 2011

The documents you need at the end of life

By:  Carole L. Chiamp

You should not be satisfied that you’ve completed an estate plan.  The only way it will get used is if your heirs can find the document.

Most experts recommend creating a comprehensive folder of documents that family members can access in case of emergency.  You can store those documents with an attorney, lock them away in a safe deposit box or keep them in a safe at home.

The Basics

    ●    Original will or trust.

    ●    Proof of ownership of housing, cemetery plots, vehicles, stocks and bonds, brokerage statements, partnership agreements, life insurance policies, loan documents, bank accounts, retirement documents.

    ●    Power of attorney.

    ●    Durable health-care form.

    ●    Birth certificate, marriage license, divorce judgment.

Many millions of dollars are unclaimed year after year in life insurance, retirement accounts and bank accounts because heirs cannot find them or do not know of their existence.

Procrastination is not an option. 

For an excellent article on this subject, see The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die by Saabira Chaudhuri, The Wall Street Journal Weekend Investor.

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