One of the final pieces of advice I offer my estate planning clients after their documents have been signed and finalized is for them to create a list of all of their bank account, securities account, retirement account and insurance policy information and to include that in their estate planning binder. I also advise them to update the information as needed to keep it current.
Why do I do this?
For a couple of reasons. First, most couples know where they bank and who handles their finances. But their family most likely does not. When you pass away, the list can be a huge timesaver for your family to administer your estate. Second, if assets are unknown by your family, they may be missed and never distributed as part of your estate. For example, if you have a term life insurance policy, your beneficiaries may never collect on the proceeds because they are unaware of the policy to begin with. This happens more often than people realize. Tuck the information in your estate planning documents and make a note of the policy on the list.
As an added bonus, past clients have told me that creating the list was helpful to them as well…they suddenly remembered that online stock trading account and remembered to close it or just that it was there in the first place.