Estate Planning: Helping Loved Ones Navigate Your Assets
Previous

Estate planning may not be on your list of favorite hobbies, but it's an important part of life and preparing for the future.

Your first step should be to ensure you have a will or trust, and to make certain you have designated beneficiaries for assets like insurance policies and 401(k)s, says John Rivera, Vice President and Financial Advisor at Regions Investment Solutions. But your estate planning shouldn't stop there.

Make preparations to help your loved ones navigate your assets after your passing. "If you communicate to your beneficiaries and heirs what your assets are, along with important information about each one, such as where an account is located, it will make life a whole lot easier for them," Rivera says. Here are three tips to help.

1. Make a List, and Check It Twice

This stage of estate planning doesn't have to be elaborate or official. An informal, handwritten list of assets and accounts will do.

"It doesn't need to be notarized or anything like that," Rivera says. "It just needs to be a simple list of what types of assets you have — like bank accounts, investment accounts, and insurance policies — plus where they're located, and the names and phone numbers of who should be contacted at those institutions."

You might also include account numbers and approximate account balances, butyou should probably keep online logins and passwords in a separate document that's stored in a secure place.

2. Store the List in a Safe Place

Having a list of your accounts is only helpful if the appropriate beneficiaries and heirs can find it when they need it. Store it somewhere secure, and share its location with whoever will need access.

"A fireproof safe is probably one of the best places to store that kind of information for your heirs to locate later," Rivera says. "Just be sure to provide your heirs with the key or combination."

3. Share Information from the List and Update It As Needed

Along with a master copy stored in a safe, you might share a copy of your list with your attorney to help him or her advise you regarding your overall estate plan. That is, your attorney may recommend that revisions be made to your will or other steps be taken as additional assets are acquired in order to accomplish your estate objectives. 

You might also share the location of the list with the person who is named in your will as the executor of your estate. This should help him or her in the event that it needs to be accessed in order to ensure the proper administration of your estate.

By taking the steps to create and share an inventory of your assets and accounts today, you'll help your loved ones better navigate an emotionally trying time later. Learn more about estate planning.

Next

On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being 'Not Good' and 5 being 'Excellent', how would you rate this article?

Press enter to submit your rating

Rate this Article

Use this form to provide additional feedback based on the rating you provided.

Thanks for Rating

Would you like to provide feedback?

Thanks for your feedback!

This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation. Information provided and statements made by individuals who are not employees of Regions are the views, opinions, or positions of the individual who made the statement and do not necessarily reflect the policies, views, opinions, and positions of Regions. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented.

Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGIS Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither firm is affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Investments are: *Not FDIC/NCUSIF insured *May lose value *Not financial institution guaranteed *Not a deposit *Not insured by any federal government agency.

Click here to view Cetera Investment Services Privacy Policy and other Important Information.

This site is published for residents of the United States only. Registered Representatives of Cetera Investment Services LLC may only conduct business with residents of the states and/or jurisdictions in which they are properly registered. Not all of the products and services referenced on this site may be available in every state and through every advisor listed. For additional information please contact the advisor(s) listed on the site, visit the Cetera Investment Services LLC site at www.ceterainvestmentservices.com.

*Investment, Annuities and Insurance Products

  • Are Not FDIC Insured
  • Are Not Bank Guaranteed
  • May Lose Value
  • Are Not Deposits
  • Are Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency
  • Are Not a Condition of Any Banking Activity