A complete list of your assets is an essential starting point in making any decisions about those assets, whether financial portfolio decisions, or estate planning decisions.
Without a complete list of your financial assets, a financial planner cannot know how to change your assets to achieve the proper asset allocation to meet your risk, return, and diversification objectives.
Without a complete list of all of your assets, your estate planning attorney cannot advise you with regard to taxation issues. Further, without beneficiary designation and titling information, the estate planning attorney cannot be sure your wishes will be carried out.
Even valuable personal property, such as jewelry, rare coins, etc., should be itemized by you. Ideally, such items should be photographed as well. This list can serve many purposes. If you have a fire, burglary, or other issue arise, this list and the accompanying photographs can help you file a claim with the insurance company.
Do not forget items in safe deposit boxes or other little-accessed areas. First, having a list of such assets will be helpful in the event that there is delay in finding a key. At least your family will know the contents and the urgency, if any, of gaining entry to the box.
Of course, when choosing items to place in the safe deposit box, leave out items you may need in an emergency, such as originals of your property power of attorney, health care power of attorney, living Will, and your Will.
Any financial or estate plan is like a map that takes you from point A to point B. Unfortunately, if you don’t know where point A is, it’s impossible to give directions from there to point B. The more thorough your list of assets, the better advice professionals can give you.
Compliments of the McGee Law Firm, Attorney Brandon McGee
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys