Do you know who you named as your successor trustee or executor? Do you know the total value of your estate? Do you know who your beneficiaries are and exactly what they will receive? Do you even know where your original documents are located?
You might be surprised but most individuals cannot answer all these questions. This can be for a variety of reasons—marriage or divorces, company mergers, death or just the passage of time. Whatever the reason, it is important as stewards to keep a current “inventory” of what you own and update that inventory at least every five (5) years. Just remember that if you, as the owner of the asset, do not know where it is located, your beneficiaries will undoubtedly not know where to begin.
Here are some things for you to do to help you and your loved ones find these answers:
Create an Inventory
Make a list or spreadsheet of the assets you own and reconcile that list with the statements you receive from those institutions. This list should be provided to your fiduciaries on an annual basis.
Verify How Assets are Titled
The way your financial accounts and real estate are titled can have huge ramifications on how that particular asset is distributed. Accordingly, you should make sure each asset is aligned with your estate plan and/or estate planning goals.
Locate Your Original Documents
Unfortunately, many individuals do not know where they have stored their original documents. This may negatively impact your estate planning intent if your loved ones and successor fiduciaries cannot find your documents. For that reason, it is essential you communicate to your successors where you store all your important information and documentation.
At the very least, your loved ones and beneficiaries will appreciate the amount of time and effort you saved them by completing the tasks above. Of course, this article assumes that you have an estate plan in place. When we remember that estate planning is not just for us, but for the ones we love, it becomes easier to take the necessary steps to efficiently steward your estate.
If you would like help in creating an asset inventory or getting started on organizing your estate plan, contact the Arkansas Baptist Foundation at 501-376-4791 or firstname.lastname@example.org