Estate planning record keeping?

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Estate planning record keeping?

Postby texasdiver » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:23 pm

I'm curious what kind of practices some of the rest of you do in terms of recordkeeping in the even that someone else has to disentangle your finances.

Every year around this time I put together a document that lists all of the following:

Every bank account number, approximate balance, and purpose of the account.
Every credit card
Mortgage information
Every investment account and approximate balances (IRAs, 403(b)s, TSP, HSA, taxable accounts etc.)
Every life insurance policy with the company name, account number, 800 number, etc.
Health insurance information
Car and homeowners insurance information (and annual renewal dates)
Locations of all of our important documents (will, passports, insurance policies, deeds, car titles, paper financial records, etc.)
Name and number of the attorney who prepared our will
Calendar of important dates (when important insurance policies etc. need to be renewed and paid)

I give a copy to my wife and print paper copies and mail them to my father and brother in law who would be handling our affairs in the even that both my wife and I die, or would be helping my wife sort things out it it was just me. I also give my wife an updated list of all the online log-in and passwords for all our accounts but don't send that information to anyone else.

Just wondering if what I'm doing is smart, stupid, incomplete, or what. And I'm curious what the rest of you do along these lines.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby runner9 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:45 pm

I'd be worried about mailing information like that.

My parents have info hidden a certain place in the house. I've never seen it, but I know where it is if needed.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby pjstack » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:46 pm

Yes, that's a good idea, and I do the same in the form of a loose leaf notebook that I update periodically.

Be sure you at least have a will.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby sscritic » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:56 pm

I don't see that you listed beneficiaries for anything. I would think that would be relevant if you both were to die, and even if only one of you were to die. Not every person leaves everything to a surviving spouse. I am guessing you have no children as they were not mentioned; someone who had children would leave some information about them I would expect.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby tadamsmar » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:29 pm

My personal approach is keep a list of information in my lockbox for my wife and I. Primary and contingent POAs and executors can access the lockbox.

I typically only list our SSNs and the names of the firms holding the accounts and insurance. POAs and executors have the power to get all the other information.

Also I have some brief instructions to the executors asking them to provide information to the beneficiaries as required.

I only update the list when it needs updating.
Last edited by tadamsmar on Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby Jay69 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:31 pm

Don't forget to list any charities you would like to give to while you are still here if you do (think stoke). We were not sure what my MIL wishes were in this regard so after a year of digging thru everything (they did not have location of accounts, bills, insurance that we found,). We did the best we could to find the charites and past amounts and just carried on giving the same $, we feel thats what she would want, its our best guess anyway.

btw it should be a short list. Get the credit cards to less than 3, max 2 banks. one bank would b e better, combine your (6) $2500 IRA into one etc. After 50 years I was a litte supprised at how many accounts one can create and not keep up wtih. End rant :wink:
"Out of clutter, find simplicity” Albert Einstein
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby ddunca1944 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:21 pm

I have a similar document. In addition it has contact names and telephone numbers (closest relatives and friends)
A copy of our wills, PoA's and Health Care poa's
Location and number of our safe deposit box (also location of keys)
List of safe deposit box contents
Location of other important documents
Names of executors and beneficaries (with contact info)

The document is in the front of a binder labeled "Will Book". My husband and son know where it is.
Also in the book is a list of every regular financial transaction (income and outgo), how the bills are paid (check or auto or cc), dates and amounts
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby Gnirk » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:36 pm

I maintain a spreadsheet detailing:
The name of the institution (Bank, Investment firm, credit union etc)
The type of account(s), checking, savings, cd, taxable investment, or IRA, utility and property tax info, and safe deposit box info.
Credit cards
The name on the account, and how it is held: whether or not it is a joint, TOD, or other
The account number
The beneficiaries on the account
The name and phone number of the institution, and contact person, if any.

I update it when there are changes.
I do not include the value of the accounts, or on-line passwords, etc.

I do the same for my husband's accounts.

I give a copy of my husband's to his son, who is the alternate executor of his estate, and mine to my oldest daughter, who is the alternate executor on my estate.
i hope this helps.
Last edited by Gnirk on Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby NAVigator » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:39 pm

I have a document that I keep updated. Every account I have is listed and how it is handled (online, automatic draft, mail, etc). I have my will, living will, POA, etc in a binder. The passwords are all kept separately and are encrypted on my computer. The instructions on how to eventually get to this information is with the executor. So, if the whole world doesn't end today due to the Mayan calendar, I'll be ready on an individual basis.

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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby texasdiver » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:07 pm

sscritic wrote:I don't see that you listed beneficiaries for anything. I would think that would be relevant if you both were to die, and even if only one of you were to die. Not every person leaves everything to a surviving spouse. I am guessing you have no children as they were not mentioned; someone who had children would leave some information about them I would expect.


3 minor children all dealt with in detail in the will along with the instructions for the trust and so on. We have a professionally prepared will done by a local attorney who specializes in estate planning. So that is taken care of. This question is more along the lines of what else does one do to keep records and make them intelligible to someone else in the event that it becomes necessary.

I like the idea of a will book with tabs and so forth with everything organized. That will probably be my project this holiday. Frankly I'm more concerned about having everything in order for my wife in the event that I die unexpectedly as that is much more likely than the both of us at once. I handle everything financial because she just has no interest in it. So this is all just on top of what we have already done with respect to wills, POAs, and the whole package of stuff the attorney did for us.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby tadamsmar » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:26 am

NAVigator wrote:I have a document that I keep updated. Every account I have is listed and how it is handled (online, automatic draft, mail, etc). I have my will, living will, POA, etc in a binder. The passwords are all kept separately and are encrypted on my computer. The instructions on how to eventually get to this information is with the executor. So, if the whole world doesn't end today due to the Mayan calendar, I'll be ready on an individual basis.

Jerry


Sharing passwords with non-account-holders violates your responsibilities:

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/help/S ... ontent.jsp

See here for information on what is actually needed:

https://personal.vanguard.com/pdf/s109.pdf?2210064134
https://retirementplans.vanguard.com/VG ... +loved+one

Your executor and POA can get proper access to the proper accounts when they need it.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby NAVigator » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:02 am

tadamsmar wrote:Your executor and POA can get proper access to the proper accounts when they need it.

I know that. That is why I have NOT provided passwords to anyone. I did not say WHICH passwords are in the encrypted passwords database I will provide to the executor, did I? I know the procedure for having Vanguard accounts inherited and it is NOT by having someone withdraw funds after I am dead.

It is easy to have two or more password databases, separately encrypted with different master passwords, to contain different groups of passwords.

However, the executor has the responsibility to pay the ISP, power bill, trash service, or check for overdue books at the public library, etc. It is inconvenient for the executor to make a bunch of phone calls to get account access to handle such accounts.

Thanks for your concern.

Jerry
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby jmg229 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:30 pm

runner9 wrote:I'd be worried about mailing information like that.

My parents have info hidden a certain place in the house. I've never seen it, but I know where it is if needed.


Just as a quick word from experience: If you rely on this method, make sure you check in about its location regularly and know the alternative hiding places. My mother died in a car crash a year and a half ago and we still haven't found the treasure trove of documents that would've been very helpful in resolving her estate. We knew the hiding spot, but apparently she picked a new one (we have a voice recording making reference to the new spot) and have still not located the objects. Sometimes people get bored of old hiding spots.
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Re: Estate planning record keeping?

Postby Fclevz » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:02 pm

texasdiver wrote:And I'm curious what the rest of you do along these lines.

Similar to you, except that since I'm paperless all of the information is in neatly labeled folders on my computer. Any relative would know to simply turn on my computer after I'm dead and everything they may need would be right there in front of them.

Cheers,
Fred
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