Most everyone wants their loved ones or specific organizations to receive their assets after they die. However, most people assume this will happen automatically upon death. If your loved ones don’t know about the assets you have or don’t know how to get access to them; or if plans aren’t made to specify your wishes, chances are your assets will end up in Government hands.
Ensure Your Assets Don’t Go To The Government
According to the National Association of Unclaimed Personal Assets (NAUPA), there is over $41 BILLION in unclaimed assets sitting in State and Federal coffers awaiting the rightful owner to claim them. You may have heard the “unclaimed money” promotions on the radio or television. There is a push to get the assets into the rightful owners’ hands, but if no one claims it, the assets are eventually auctioned off or otherwise disposed of.
Not everyone can afford an Estate Planner or Attorney, but everyone needs to have a plan and ensure it’s communicated, documented and accessible when the time comes to execute it. Some people do this on their own and place documents in binders, boxes, safe deposit boxes, filing cabinets, etc. That’s a great start. However, unless your loved ones know how to find those things, it won’t do any good. And if you have those plans in a place where natural disaster can destroy them, or, as is the case for some, you outlive the person(s) you appoint as the executor of your estate and forget to make that change before you die, your plans may not go as you wish.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to ensure your assets go where you want them to when you die. But you do have to be proactive about it. None of us knows, with any certainty, when our time will come, so it behooves us to have a plan now. Here’s how to get started:
- Use our free checklists to help you gather important documents and record assets, whether digital or physical assets. Don’t forget online accounts and have a plan to have them closed out for you when you die. Gather together information regarding all assets, and then document what those assets are and where they are kept.
- Document what your want done with those assets. You can use a Will for this but you don’t necessarily have to have a will. But you do need to have a documented statement of your desires and have it notarized. Be sure to check with legal counsel or other professionals to ensure that what you documented is sufficient.
- Communicate the plan. It does no good to have a plan if no one knows about it. It may not be enough just to tell someone about it once. You need to ensure they know about it periodically and you may need to include more than one person in that communication.
- Keep your plan updated. Review it periodically to ensure what you planned in the past is still accurate.
SafelyFiled is designed to help you do all of this easily. Think of these four actions as you put your plan together.
Do it for those you love
“I can’t tell you how many safe deposit boxes I’ve had to drill into because they were either abandoned or the ones granted permission to access them weren’t given the keys or told where the safe deposit box was located.”
This is a direct quote from a banking executive I had lunch with recently. I told him about how SafelyFiled has a location field included in the service, so that if someone has physical assets, such as gold, they could upload a digital copy of the certificate of ownership of the gold into their account. Then, in the location field, they specify where the gold is physically being kept. That’s when he really understood the value of this service for his customers.