In order to prepare the best estate plan, you need to know what you own. That means all the real estate as well as bank accounts, retirement plans, brokerage accounts, mutual funds, furniture, cars, jewelry, etc.
But surprisingly, many of these possessions are often forgotten and never make it into the estate plan. This can result in lengthy and sometimes costly delays as the court tries to compile a complete picture of your estate. It also makes challenging your Will or Trust that much easier.
But by taking inventory of your assets, you can ensure that your estate plan is both comprehensive and complete.
Your family inventory should serve as a snapshot of all the assets you have to bequeath to your heirs. If you start the inventoryof tangible personal property room by room, drawer by drawer and closet by closet, it will be easier to complete over time. The task may seem much less daunting if you don’t try to do it all at once.
Remember to be as complete as possible with all that you own, where it’s located, how much it’s worth (approximately) , the location of the key or the password needed to access the asset.
When you turn your attention to your financial matters, be sure to record the name and address of the bank or financial institution holding the assets, the account number, the approximately worth and any passwords or keys used to access the account.
After completing this task, you will probably find you have a lot more to bequeath than you thought. Sometimes we grow accustomed to seeing something so much that we no longer realize that it’s there, and that is where the family inventory can offer the most help.