Have You Completed Your “What If” List?May 7, 2015 12:00 am
Now that tax season is finally behind us, time has freed up to focus on other financial matters that may have been neglected over the past few months. For me, it has been to make a list of all of my financial and estate planning items in the case of an emergency. I’ve been putting it off for months but finally sat down over the weekend to get things in order.
Whether this list is given to your spouse, parents, children or another close family member or friend, it not only makes things easier for them if something were to happen to you, but it also provides an opportunity to ensure that the financial part of your life is in order.
Here’s an example list of things to consider, including but not limited to:
• Emergency contact (if different from spouse) or person trusted with the list
• Primary care physician
• Manager, HR department or work colleague name and number
• Financial professionals, such as your accountant and financial advisor
• Estate planning attorney
• Mortgage company or landlord (if renting)
Bank Accounts, Credit Card and Other Debt Information
• Names of all bank accounts with account numbers
• List of open credit cards, the holding company and account numbers
• Any outstanding student loans, detailing who carries the loan and their contact information
• Mortgage company and account number
• Car loans
Here you should either include copies of the documents, detail the financial institution’s contact details and account/policy numbers or indicate where these can be found.
• Life insurance or disability insurance policies
• Long-term care policies
• Retirement accounts including IRAs, ROTHs and 401(k)s
• CDs or old bond and stock certificates
• Annuity contracts
• 529 or other college savings accounts
Estate Planning Documents
• Details of your Durable Power of Attorney (POA) including the legal document
• Wills and established trust documents
• Health Care Proxies
Whether you keep electronic copies of all documents, put them in a safe, or even under your mattress, the important thing is that someone knows how to locate and open them if needed.
Like most financial tasks, this one can be daunting to start at first. However, once it’s completed you’re left with a list that might only need minor amendments over time so for me, spending a Sunday afternoon getting all my ducks in a row was well worth it. Revisiting the list can also remind you to review the beneficiaries on your current policies and retirement accounts, close or rollover any old accounts and even update any estate planning documents if needed.
My next spring task? Help my parents get their ‘what if’ lists completed as well.
The information contained in this post is not intended as investment, tax or legal advice. StrategicPoint Investment Advisors assumes no responsibility for any action or inaction resulting from the contents herein. Megan’s opinions and comments expressed on this site are her own and may not accurately reflect those of the firm. Third party content does not reflect the view of the firm and is not reviewed for completeness or accuracy. It is provided for ease of reference.