By Gloria Johnson, Trust Administrator
In a desire to eliminate paper clutter, do you have bills and statements come to you online? It is wonderful when you have less paperwork to sort through, file, or dispose of, but what if something happens to you? What if you have an unexpected, extended trip to the hospital, rehab or worse? Will your family members or trustee be able to keep your home running smoothly and your bills paid? Although, it is important to have passwords secure, it is also important to have a backup plan if some unexpected bump in the road causes you to be unable to maintain your daily routine.
Do you know where your will, trust documents, power of attorney documents, life insurance policies, titles to the vehicles, boat, RV, or any other personal property are located? If they are securely kept in a safe, who else would have access to them? Who else has access to your safety deposit box? You may not want your family members knowing your financial matters, but it is important for someone to have access if necessary. Let’s say you happen to have an investment in a DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Plan). If all correspondence from this plan goes to your e-mail, would a family member be able to access your e-mail to even know the plan exists? What about that little credit union account you inherited from your parent and left as a rainy day fund? Now that you have eliminated the extra paperwork, it’s important to have a list of assets.
I think most of us have a little stash of cash in the house in case a neighbor kid comes selling cookies or some other item for a fundraiser. Is that cash tucked away securely in your sock drawer inside the brown argyle socks that you never wear anyway? That’s great, but if someone cleans out your sock drawer, will they know not to toss that pair or donate it to the local clothing drive? Maybe that cash is inside your copy of Gone With the Wind? My mother kept cash in the freezer. My siblings and I knew to look for cash in the freezer, but if your freezer goes out and everything spoils and must be tossed do you think someone else going through the freezer will watch for the non-smelly container of cash?
While we are thinking along those lines, have you checked your beneficiary information on your IRAs, retirement plans, or life insurance lately? You may have thought it was a great idea to have your grandchild as the beneficiary, but now that you have additional grandchildren, have you kept that information up o date?
Central Trust Company has a wonderful tool called a “Personal Family Letter” that helps keep track of items such as these. Your Relationship Manager also has a file for each of our clients that we keep securely locked with important information like those addressed here. Do yourself and your family a favor by taking a few minutes to make sure you have documented passwords and investment information. What you will be able to document in a few hours will ensure nothing is overlooked down the road.