Elder Law - Len and Rosie


The eleven-plus-one list of vital records

Dear Readers,

We would like to share with you something that we share with each of our trust clients. It’s really important, our clients like it, and we think that your family can benefit from it as well. You may have seen this in the column before. We print it year after year. Consider it as a gentle reminder to get yourself organized.

One of the most tedious tasks in administering a trust or an estate is finding the decedent’s estate planning documents and asset information. Frequently, children or even spouses have no idea where their parents or spouse kept these important documents.

The last thing you should want is for your loved ones, after you die, to have to search through your belongings in a morbid scavenger hunt to find your will, stock certificates, or other important papers. They shouldn’t have to lift up your mattress to look for your safe deposit box key. They shouldn’t have to waste a month waiting for new account statements to come in the mail so they can figure out where you invested your savings.

To avoid these difficulties, you should organize your personal and financial data. This is where the list comes in. Collect the information described in this list and give a copy to your children or close relatives, or keep it somewhere safe and let your family know where to find it. In case something happens to you, the List of Eleven is one of the best ways to ensure that your relatives can find all your vital records.

The List of Eleven Plus One

1. The name of the bank where you have your safe deposit box, its number, and the location of your key.

2. The numbers for all of your insurance policies, health, life, auto, home, burial, etc., and the names and addresses of the agents for each policy.

3. A list of your stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and the name and address of your broker.

4. The names of the banks or savings and loans for each of your accounts, and the account numbers, or even copies of account statements.

5. The location of your cemetery plot or mausoleum niche.

6. The location of your will or trust and the name of your attorney.

7. Your credit card numbers.

8. Your Social Security Number.

9. The name and address of your mortgage holder, the account number, and the amount of the outstanding debt.

10. The name and address of your accountant, and where your past income tax returns are located.

11. The type of memorial or funeral service you want.

11 Plus One.  These days, many people receive account statements and pay their bills online, leaving no paper trail at home. It’s important for your loved ones to be able to access your email and online accounts so they can wrap things up when you are gone.

If you think this is too hard to do yourself, consider how hard it will be for your children to deal with after you pass away. Take a few minutes to get organized.

Len & Rosie

P.S. If you miss my radio program and would like for me to return to broadcast radio, contact KSRO in Santa Rosa at www.ksro.com/ContactUs.aspx and tell them you want me on the air.

Len Tillem and Rosie McNichol are elder law attorneys. Contact them at 846 Broadway, Sonoma, by phone at 707.996.4505 or lentillem.com.

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