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Friday, January 23, 2015

Two Steps Everyone Should Take

With $41 Billion of unclaimed assets currently in the United States,  and that number growing each year, it's obvious that many Americans are either dying without plans in place for their assets or their plans cannot be found by those left behind.


We know that thinking of death, much less planning for it, is not pleasant.  That is why it's estimated that more than 51% of Americans don't have wills or estate plans. But let's face it, we're all going to die.  And while your problems may end there, your loved ones will have some cleaning up to do after you're gone.  If you've ever had to close out the estate of a loved one, you know first-hand how painful it can be.  And if there was no documentation or plan for you to execute, then you know the feeling of, "Why couldn't he (or she) have taken a few minutes to give me some direction?"  But if you take two simple steps now, you can make this whole subject much easier for your loved ones.

Step one -  Documents You Need To Have

One of our legal connections, Carr Law Utah has a page on their website that lists 9 documents that everyone should consider having.  Their list is very good and goes into describing what each document's purpose is in clear and simple language.  We highly recommend you go to that article and read it for a full description of what these documents are for.  Check this list and see which ones apply to you.  Some you can do yourself and for others you will need to seek legal advice.

  1. Last Will
  2. Trusts
  3. Power of Attorney
  4. Advanced Health Care Directive
  5. HIPAA Release
  6. Guardianship and Conservatorship
  7. Children Protection Plan
  8. Additional Recommend Documents (Like an instruction document for executors)
  9. Asset Summary Document
The asset summary document and instructions document for loved ones are a couple of documents that many people don't think about doing, and these two in particular don't require legal counsel.  So think about doing these yourself.  They don't have to be perfect and you can change them when you want, but even if they aren't 100% right, they can go a very long way in helping your loved ones take care of important things after you're gone.

The instructions document that CarrLawUtah site suggests can be used to document your specific wishes in regards to funeral planning and special family memorabilia and who in the family should be responsible for doing what.  It's ironic how, in a time of great emotion,  these seemingly trivial matters often become important issues and not having these details clearly addressed can cause a painful family dispute.

The asset summary document is extremely important today because so many of us do business and have personal accounts online.  Many of our assets are digital.  Refer to a blog we wrote about digital legacy for more insight.  Think about it.  Do you remember all of the online and digital accounts you have and the different login and passwords for each?  How in the world can you expect your loved ones to know to close those down or notify those account holders of your death?  To help you, we've created a digital assets tracking checklist and provide it at no charge.  You can find that one and others on our website here:  Checklists

Step Two - Make Sure Your Plans/Wishes Can be Found!  

Tweet: If you don't do step 2 you may as well not do step 1! http://ctt.ec/5q7r5+Having the necessary documents for your plan is very important.  But if you or your loved ones don't keep them current or can't find them when they're needed, you might as well not have them.   With SafelyFiled Family, you can store digital copies of all of those
documents then invite your loved ones to have access to them.

You can set periodic reminders on uploaded documents to remind yourself to review them to ensure they're kept up-to-date.  In addition, you can set reminders to be sent to anyone to whom you've granted shared access to remind them that you have those documents and plans in place.

With our patent-pending organizational system, SafelyFiled provides a location field where you can record the location of paper originals and physical assets.  In that way, when you need to find these important items that aren't used often,  you and your loved ones will be able locate them in "that safe place".

Already have your important documents and plans?  Then take the second all important step and get them uploaded and shared in SafelyFiled today!

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