Suppose, during the middle of the workday, you receive an urgent phone call. It is the local hospital informing you that your elderly, widowed father has been the victim of a serious car accident and lies unconscious in the emergency room. When you arrive at the hospital, you are asked, among other information, for the name of your father’s health insurer and his policy identification number. Not only are you unsure of this information, but from there the situation only gets worse.
Unfortunately, your father dies as a result of the accident. After the initial shock, your mind starts racing through all the details you’ll need to take care of. At this time, you realize you don’t know any of your father’s financial particulars, including the numbers of his bank accounts and insurance policies, whether or not he has left a will, and the location of key documents.
What will you do? Where will you begin? The loss of a loved one can make it difficult to cope with even normal, everyday matters. Now, while you are grieving, it will be even harder to tackle the difficult job of identifying and gathering important financial records and documents.
Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon. To avoid leaving your loved ones in this difficult situation, consider taking the time to prepare an inventory of your pertinent financial information. Update it regularly as changes occur and let your family members or other trusted associates know where this list can be found. This record will help those who must manage your financial affairs after your death carry on smoothly and without undue delay.
What Should You Include?
The following information will give you a good start on what to record:
- Basic Data. This should include your full name, maiden name, date of birth, and Social Security number.
- Financial Contacts. List the names of your lawyer, accountant, insurance agent, and other financial representatives, along with their contact information.
- Financial Assets, Liabilities, and Account Numbers. Identify all financial assets, including bank accounts, insurance policies, investments, and company benefits, along with relevant identifying numbers. Also, note any outstanding liabilities, such as mortgages, loans, and credit card debt.
- Location of Key Documents. Finally, identify the location of your will, any trust documents, tax returns, and insurance policies.
Handling the death of a loved one is never easy. However, an updated inventory of vital financial information can help you make this process easier for those you leave behind.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This material contains only general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial or tax advice. For information about specific insurance needs or situations, contact your insurance agent. This article is intended to assist in educating you about insurance generally and not to provide personal service. They may not take into account your personal characteristics such as budget, assets, risk tolerance, family situation or activities which may affect the type of insurance that would be right for you. In addition, state insurance laws and insurance underwriting rules may affect available coverage and its costs. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. If you need more information or would like personal advice you should consult an insurance professional. You may also visit your state’s insurance department for more information.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.
LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.
This article was prepared by Liberty Publishing, Inc.
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