Estate Planning

Establishing and maintaining a systematic plan for keeping track of important papers allows our loved ones to easily access them in the event of an emergency or death. I recommend creating a list by taking an inventory of all of your important papers and note their locations on your list. If the papers are scattered in various places, try to consolidate them to a central location.

These papers should include family, property, financial, and legal papers that legitimize and protect you, your family, and your estate. They document identification, ownership, legal and financial status, employment, education, and family history and may include:

  • Birth Certificates
  • Credit Card Information (including auto charge information)
  • Debts Owed and those to be collected
  • Financial Accounts
  • Funeral and Burial Plans and Records
  • Household Property Inventory
  • Income and Expense Records
  • Insurance Policies
  • Investment Records
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Medical Records
  • Membership and Subscription Details
  • Passports
  • Passwords
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Professional Advisers
  • Property Appraisals, Deeds and Titles
  • Safe Deposit Box Inventory
  • Social Security Cards
  • Tax Records
  • Vehicle Information
  • Wills and Trusts 

When you are finished, give this document to one or more trusted persons (such as your attorney, friend, or family member). I would also place a copy in your safety deposit box and in a safe place in your home that is easily found by the appropriate person.