Don’t Keep Secrets and Don’t Be Left in the Dark

DON’T KEEP SECRETS AND DON’T BE LEFT IN THE DARK

Do you know where your assets are?  Many people don’t.  So long as there
is regular income and some money in the bank, we do not bother to take a
complete  inventory  very  often.    There  are  some  people  who  remain
completely  unaware  of  their  situation,  depending  on  someone  else  to
manage  things  for  them.    One-half  of  a  married  couple  often  winds  up
making the majority of financial decisions – handling investments, taxes and
legal  matters.    If  he  or  she  leaves,  dies  or  becomes  incapacitated,  the
partner may be ill-prepared to carry on.

The blow of losing a spouse to divorce, death or incapacity is even more
devastating when a person is suddenly faced with a multitude of financial
responsibilities and no background or knowledge to handle them.  Protect
yourself!    Find  out  now  about  your  financial  situation.    If  you  are  your
family’s financial manager, be sure your spouse knows too.

WHAT TO KNOW 

Your home or investment real estate – Where is the deed?  How is the property titled? What is the value of your home?  Who holds the mortgage?    Are  there  liens  on  your  home?    How  much  are  your monthly payments?  How much are your real estate taxes?

Your  vehicles  –  Where  are  the  titles?    In  whose  name  is  the  car registered?  Is there a lien?  How much are your monthly payments?

Bank  accounts  –  In  which  banks  are  there  accounts?    In  whose names?  What are the interest rates on the accounts?  When do CDs come due? Are they held jointly?  Payable on death?

Stocks and bonds – What type of investments do you own?  Where are  the certificates?   Who  is  the  broker?   In  whose  name  are  they held?  Have your savings bonds matured?

Pension  &  retirement  plans  –  What  benefits  are  available?    What money is set aside?  What are the present and the future values of these  accounts?    Will  the spouse  continue to  receive  pension  after the  pensioner’s  death?  Who  are  the  beneficiaries  of  your  IRAs, 401Ks, etc? Are you taking required minimum distributions?

Safe deposit box – Do you have one?  Where is it?  Where is the key?  What’s inside?

Insurance  policies  –  Who  insures  your  home?  Your  cars?  Your health?   Your  life?   What  type  of  coverage  do  you  have?    In  what amount?  How do you go about filing claims?

Income  tax  records  –  Know  where  they  are?   Who  prepares  them?  Read them before you sign them!

Legal  documents  –  Have  you  signed  an  Antenuptial  Agreement? Have you written a Will or Trust Agreement?  Do you have a durable power of attorney for health care or financial purposes?  Do you have a Living Will?

Credit – What do you owe? To whom? What are the interest rates? What monthly payments are to be made?

WHO TO KNOW

Help is often a phone call away.  Know the name and phone number of the following:

  -Your attorney
  -Your accountant
  -Your stock broker
  -Your insurance agent
  -Your banker
  -Your medical claims processor
  -Your employer’s personnel administrator

A  list  of  your  assets,  location  of  important  documents  and professional  advisors  can  also  be  invaluable  to  your  family  should  you become ill or die.

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