A significant part of your estate planning is to make sure that your family, in particular those that you identify as your fiduciaries whether executors under your Will or trustees under your Trust, know the extent of your assets as well as where they are located, in what institution they are held, and how to access them electronically. Without this type of instruction, this process for your loved one can be quite cumbersome and lead to unnecessary delays in distributing your property.
For example, if you are no longer receiving paper statements on your accounts, being able to retrieve that information online will be critical. Often times those left to inventory your assets after your death are not aware of your passwords/passcodes and then may not be able to access some or many of your assets. Social Media accounts in particular can be very challenging to obtain access to if you are not an authorized user on the account, and some assets may be lost as a result. Consider inventorying your own assets and identifying where they are located, including any codes or passwords that will be necessary. Store these lists in a secure place (and not in proximity to your computer), but let your named fiduciaries know where they can find them when needed. And make sure to keep them updated regularly!
Completing a thorough inventory of a client’s assets is a significant part of our estate planning process for several reasons: 1) reviewing the type of assets owned impacts the tax planning and the selection of documents to incorporate into the plan; 2) reallocation of the ownership of assets between spouses may provide more flexibility in planning and better satisfy certain client objectives; and 3) it allows for the confirmation that contractual beneficiaries have been identified for probate avoidance planning.
Contact the attorneys at Thomas Law Group to discuss your estate planning and any questions that you may have in organizing your estate.