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If you die tomorrow, what does your family need to know today? (Lawyer Needs Freeper Help)
JD86 | 12/06/01 | JD86

Posted on 12/06/2001 5:57:08 PM PST by JD86

If you die tomorrow, what does your family need to know today? (Lawyer Needs Freeper Help)

I'm an attorney who helps clients with estate planning and other money matters, but I won't claim that I "know it all". I need Freeper advice.

I once had an elderly client who always told his family "When I die, everything you need is in the manila folder". When he died, we searched high and low but we never did find that folder. As a result, it took years to settle his estate.

That shouldn't happen. I am putting together a booklet for my clients - a checklist of sorts - to help them keep track of important family information.

I'm asking for your suggestions. What would you include in such a checklist?

First - the practical. Doctor's name, where's the will, your desires regarding any minor children ... what else?

Second - the emotional. Would you tell your children you are proud of them? To stop smoking? Dump their lousy mate? What else?

Is there anything you would change about what your parents did? Have you made a checklist yet? If so, what's on it?

Also, if you are incapacitated but don't die, what then?

I have a client who has all her medications listed and taped to the inside of her kitchen cabinet and all her family knows where to find it. Do you have any other ideas like that?

Thanks to all in advance for your suggestions. Please post or send me FreeperMail.


TOPICS: Editorial; Front Page News; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: planahead
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1 posted on 12/06/2001 5:57:08 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
Tell them to forward their assets to me via FReepMail.

I'll take care of everything...

2 posted on 12/06/2001 6:18:55 PM PST by IncPen
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To: zip; VA Advogado; nopardons; LarryLied; summer; Gracey; GussiedUp; Twins613; ChaseR
Suggestions? What if you had been in the WTC on 9/11? Does your family know what they need to?
3 posted on 12/06/2001 6:19:06 PM PST by JD86
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To: IncPen
Any serious suggestions?
4 posted on 12/06/2001 6:20:26 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
Don't forget the kids. They're a vital part of any plan you do.

A bump for an important thread.

5 posted on 12/06/2001 6:20:29 PM PST by Twins613
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To: JD86
I'm a single parent with two grown sons. I was advised to put the name of one of my children on the account. He wouldn't be listed on the account itself and his name wouldn't appear on the checks, but in case anything happens to me, he would have access to the funds and would be able to withdraw any monies in it.
6 posted on 12/06/2001 6:21:27 PM PST by mass55th
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To: mass55th; JD86
I think access to your address/phone number book is important. Friends that your children may not be aware of, but would need to be contacted.
7 posted on 12/06/2001 6:23:09 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: Congressman Billybob; dansangel; 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub; Howlin; CheneyChick; FReethesheeples...
Suggestions? What if you had been in the WTC on 9/11? Does your family know what they need to?
8 posted on 12/06/2001 6:23:09 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
How about phone numbers or addresses of people you would like contacted. When my mother-in-law passed we knew she had a logtime friend somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico but did not know enough information to contact her. Eventually we did but it took some searching.
9 posted on 12/06/2001 6:23:22 PM PST by snippy_about_it
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To: JD86
Insurance policies (or where they can be located), details on any employment benefits that may inure to your survivors, bank and brokerage account details.

Lots of money goes unclaimed by beneficiaries who are unaware of its existence.

10 posted on 12/06/2001 6:23:42 PM PST by Roy Tucker
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To: Twins613
Thanks, that would mean guardians? trusts?
11 posted on 12/06/2001 6:24:16 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
if you are incapacitated but don't die, what then?

The law firm where I work routinely has an area about pulling the plug, or not (vs. artificial life support forever). It's in their wills. But if they want organs donated, that should be told to the children, too. I have a will, but it's routine--just sell the assets and divide the proceeds in half, unless there's something the children feel is important to them to keep. Otherwise, I haven't specified anything in particular (I probably should do that, like the Hummels or Lladro or jewelry, etc.)

12 posted on 12/06/2001 6:24:22 PM PST by nicmarlo
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To: IncPen
i wrote about this at some length in "sylvia porter's your finances in the 1990s," which you might want to take a look at, if one of the seven copies that sold happens to be in your local library. rule number one: put nothing crucial in a safe-deposit box, because it will take a court order to get that box opened, which will take a longer time than the bereaved would want, particularly if it's the will and, say, life insurance policies.

dep

13 posted on 12/06/2001 6:24:31 PM PST by dep
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To: JD86
I will be happy to send you a complete checklist. Please send me a FReepmail. There are, of course, peculiarities state by state, but I think this will be useful as a checklist.
14 posted on 12/06/2001 6:24:33 PM PST by Bahbah
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To: JD86
Ask them if they have any safety deposit boxes in any banks..........ask them if any of their freinds are holding any of their valuables........if they own any stocks or bonds.......any secret hidden places that should be known in case of death......
15 posted on 12/06/2001 6:25:37 PM PST by classygreeneyedblonde
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To: RightOnline; TheOtherOne; Rowdee; mystomachisturning; Billie; mykids'mom
Suggestions? What if you had been in the WTC on 9/11? Does your family know what they need to?
16 posted on 12/06/2001 6:26:00 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
Could mean either, depending on the ages of the kids. That's why we need folks like you, JD :)
17 posted on 12/06/2001 6:27:07 PM PST by Twins613
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To: JD86
You have reminded me that my husband doen't really have a clue about my accounting system for my very small antique business. I am going to write out an explanation so that he doesn't have to mess with it if something should happen.

There should be a list (not included in the will, but binding to all through family agreement) of which heirlooms go to which heirs. In my state, if said heirlooms wind up in the estate you have to buy them at auction. This happened with my grandfather's things, and I am taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen to my things.

18 posted on 12/06/2001 6:27:51 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: JD86
If you die tomorrow, what does your family need to know today?

Where is the key to the safe deposit box at the bank?

19 posted on 12/06/2001 6:28:26 PM PST by deadhead
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To: mass55th
I'm a single parent with two grown sons. I was advised to put the name of one of my children on the account. He wouldn't be listed on the account itself and his name wouldn't appear on the checks, but in case anything happens to me, he would have access to the funds and would be able to withdraw any monies in it.

Good advice. This is what my Mom did for me, I am on all of her accounts, and my name isn't listed on the checks. I did the same for her (put her on my account), and also listed my sister as a trustee of my accounts. That way, we have all bases covered in that avenue.

20 posted on 12/06/2001 6:28:48 PM PST by kstewskis
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To: dep
I've never understood the safe deposit box thing. For what you would pay over the life of the time you rent one, you could get a nice fire proof safe and install it in your house.
21 posted on 12/06/2001 6:28:53 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: JD86
What would you include in such a checklist? Assets change as do life insurance policies...I don't run out and change the will.....How about where the life insurance policies are.
22 posted on 12/06/2001 6:29:38 PM PST by The Raven
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To: mass55th
I would suggest a power of Attorney in the event you are incapicated . Give him power to buy and sell stocks and even your home if money is needed for medical or otherwise. I fear incapacitation more than death. Be sure to consider a living will to tell them when to turn off the machines, I have seen older people and also young people who would not exist but or the man made machines, Doctors can't make decisions like that and there is greed that may influence keeping the machines on. Make sure all children are accounted for in the will. Don't let anyone be bitter when you are gone and can not do anything about it.
23 posted on 12/06/2001 6:29:41 PM PST by southland
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To: JD86
Desires regarding burial
24 posted on 12/06/2001 6:30:50 PM PST by The Raven
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To: Miss Marple
Thanks, Miss Marple. My post has two intentions. To get Freepers to think about the issue for themselves as you are doing...and for suggestions for me. Lots of great ideas so far.
25 posted on 12/06/2001 6:30:59 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
combo for the safe.
26 posted on 12/06/2001 6:31:52 PM PST by The Raven
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To: JD86
bttt. Great post, JD86! :)
27 posted on 12/06/2001 6:32:35 PM PST by summer
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To: JD86
I am single,and care for an elderly parent.I have all of his medications inside the kitchen cabinet,as well as what to do in case of accidental overdose.If I am not at home, and he should become stricken,there is a walk around phone in every room,and all he need do is punch #4.I have a copy of his will in my safe deposit box,and he has the original in his.
28 posted on 12/06/2001 6:32:37 PM PST by 1 FELLOW FREEPER
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To: Miss Marple
You have reminded me that my husband doen't really have a clue about my accounting system for my very small antique business. I am going to write out an explanation so that he doesn't have to mess with it if something should happen.

You make a great point about antiques. My friend's dad was a collector and literally had a million dollar estate. To most people, the stuff just looked like old things scattered throughout the house. It took my friend 2 years to inventory and photograph everything that was in the house. The biggest problem he said was he didn't know whether that wooden dish was dimestore junk or a $500 collectors item, so he had to catalog EVERYTHING.

29 posted on 12/06/2001 6:32:47 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: JD86
computer passwords
30 posted on 12/06/2001 6:33:12 PM PST by The Raven
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To: JD86
Insurance policies,401K information, savings/investment statements,papers about death benefits or survivor benefits from work (including the contact people,)adoption papers ,will, deed to property,proof of ownership for boats,autos etc, attorneys name and #,burial plans request..If there is no close family..names and addresses of next of kin..
31 posted on 12/06/2001 6:34:02 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: JD86
I think you should mention that in some(all?) states, even a joint account can be frozen, denying access to funds by the survivor, unless it is joint with right of survivorship. Also, a power of attourney for BOTH financial and health care are good to have in case a family member becomes mentally disabled. That way you can avoid a guardianship hearing.
32 posted on 12/06/2001 6:34:17 PM PST by Helix
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To: JD86
1)List of advisors and contact information. (atty, cpa, etc)
2)Personal documents (marriage license, military discharge, etc)
3)Financial documents (deeds, investment accounts, debts)
4)Estate documents (will, durable power of atty, living will)
5)Final Arrangements (funeral, special donations, people to notify)

I know there are many FReepers that have more detailed suggestions but these may help get them started.
33 posted on 12/06/2001 6:35:07 PM PST by zip
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To: RnMomof7
If there is no close family..names and addresses of next of kin..

And if you're Bill Clinton . . . names of all children, claimed and unclaimed. :)

34 posted on 12/06/2001 6:35:23 PM PST by VA Advogado
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To: JD86
FreepMail w/my reply. Good Luck to you.
35 posted on 12/06/2001 6:35:45 PM PST by bluesagewoman
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To: deadhead
If you die tomorrow, what does your family need to know today?

Where is the key to the safe deposit box at the bank?

Most importantly, empty out the safety deposit out immediately before they find out the box owner/renter is deceased. The bank can put a hold on the box immediately if they find out the box renter is dead. (this happened when my dad passed away, and really gave my mom grief, even though her name was on the account). It was a real pain to get things sorted out. This should be one of the very first things you should do, once you find that key.

36 posted on 12/06/2001 6:37:02 PM PST by kstewskis
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To: JD86
I would also suggest that funeral plans be discussed in advance with family members and that those plans be clearly documented. This really saves time and makes things easier for the family in those few days immediately following the loss of a loved one.
37 posted on 12/06/2001 6:37:45 PM PST by slouch-no-more
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To: JD86
This is an excellent service you are providing your clients.

1. If your clients are ill, elderly or travel a lot (upping the possibility of an accident), tell them to destroy any personal letters or photos they don't want strangers to see. For example, a client told me his mother died, then his father died a year later. When the client went to empty out the house, he found 'suggestive' (his word) photos of his Mom and Dad, and some 'steamy' love letters. He said: 'I am not a prude and I've written some of those myself - and there's probably a picture or two around - but I don't want to see my parents like this'.

2. Funeral arrangements. If they are not religious and have no 'home church', ask them to name a person to conduct the service. Do they want a burial or cremation?

3. Leave a note for the family describing unusual circumstances. A close friend's father (a well known physician) died. The two children were planning the funeral when the family lawyer came forward with the dad's will - he had left his body to his medical school for 'scientific study'. The two children were appalled. While the father, of course, had the right to his decision, it would have helped to leave a note explaining his decision.

4. If the client is divorced, should arrangements be made to notify the former spouse upon the client's death?

5. Are there large outstanding debts? A former client died, and THEN the family found out there was a big IOU to a former business partner - a 'demand note'. He had kept this IOU a secret from his family and advisors - and put the estate in turmoil for a long time.

38 posted on 12/06/2001 6:39:16 PM PST by SmartBlonde
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To: JD86
A very important thing to include: Names, addresses, and all vital info related to those you have loaned money to...and the terms of those loans.
39 posted on 12/06/2001 6:40:30 PM PST by Iowa Granny
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To: deadhead
Just having a key to the SDB won't get you in it. The holder of a key must also be listed on the card with signature.
40 posted on 12/06/2001 6:40:40 PM PST by fleebag
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To: The Raven
computer passwords

Wow. That's a good one.

Another bump for a thread that's making me rethink a few things :)

41 posted on 12/06/2001 6:41:10 PM PST by Twins613
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To: bluesagewoman
My fee is $250.00 hr. for advice.
42 posted on 12/06/2001 6:41:11 PM PST by philetus
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To: Miss Marple; JD86
My parents asked each of us children to make a list of what "things" we'd most like to inherit, so that they could make sure to leave each of us at least something we really wanted, and prevent fights between us after they are gone.

I think they were a little surprised at what had sentimental value for each of us.

43 posted on 12/06/2001 6:43:01 PM PST by Amelia
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To: JD86
Where I've taken the dry cleaning...

Where I've taken the latest 35mm film to be developed...

Where I keep the safe deposit box key...

44 posted on 12/06/2001 6:43:09 PM PST by vita_brevis
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To: 1 FELLOW FREEPER
Great suggestions. Lots of us are in the position of caring for our parents. That takes a lot of planning. The programmed phone is a great suggestion. Thanks.
45 posted on 12/06/2001 6:44:41 PM PST by JD86
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To: kstewskis
The reason that this came to my mind was because when my Mom passed away, my Step-Dad had no idea where the key was. We were all emotional wrecks from the loss of my Mom and now we had to find a key. My sister, who has always had the knack of finding things finally found the key. My Step-Dad was then able to open the box. You have given good advice, take heed all!!
46 posted on 12/06/2001 6:45:17 PM PST by deadhead
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To: The Raven
Great point. How about your Free Republic screen name and password, so they could tell your friends here?
47 posted on 12/06/2001 6:46:03 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
Regarding the post from Ms. Marple re: heirlooms. I am making sure that the heirlooms left to me by my mother go to my blood relatives and not inlaws. As a result, I am adding a codicil listing each item and who it goes to "as his/her sole and separate property" -- thus circumventing the community property pitfall. This will protect the property, should your heir predecease his or her mate, if you also state who should get the heirloom(s) if your heir is not living at the time of your death.
48 posted on 12/06/2001 6:46:29 PM PST by ZDaphne
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To: zip
Thanks, that's a great outline.
49 posted on 12/06/2001 6:47:07 PM PST by JD86
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To: JD86
The name of an experienced estate planner who knows what they are doing. Better yet, a competent insurance agent.
50 posted on 12/06/2001 6:47:28 PM PST by Elihu Burritt
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