Thursday, February 09, 2006

Looking for the Perfect Valentine's Day Gift - Create A Love Drawer

Category: Estate Planning, Probate and Estate Administration

Now, before you get thinking "those" thoughts, a "love drawer" here is not what you might think. It is a catchy term for giving your family the gift of having all your financial records in one place, and letting them know where that place is.

From CBS News Setting Up A Love Drawer February 7, 2006�13:34:28: "Still looking for that perfect Valentine's Day gift? Presents like candy, flowers or jewelry are always nice - but financial author and radio host Dave Ramsey tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler that a real gift of love can be giving your family peace of mind in case something happens to you.

Ramsey has come up with a concept he calls the 'love drawer.' It's a place where you keep together important documents, such as wills, insurance and financial information.

'It's an ideal Valentine's Day gift if you're smart enough to put chocolates and roses with it,' Ramsey jokes. 'It's an ideal gift. When you're a real man, a real woman, the way you say 'I love you' to your family is you're prepared. You've got your act together if something happens to you. "

The need for a "love drawer" is very real. In assisting a family with administering the estate, sometime the most difficult part of the process is finding out what the deceased person had. Not to be facetious - but given the nature of an estate administration, you can't exactly ask the person "where is your original will??". Not only is this frustrating, but can be very costly in terms of increased legal fees (if a copy of a will needs to probated for example, or the time spent tracking down whether or not an asset even exists before a date of death value can be obtained) as well as increased expenses (banks and brokerage houses charge for having to go back through their records when you don't have them).

So consider setting up a "love drawer". In there should be copies of:
Living Will.
  • General Durable Power of Attorney.
  • Last Will and Testament.
  • And all Trusts created by you, where you are a Trustee, or where you are a beneficiary
  • Last years statement for all bank accounts, investment accounts, annuities, IRA's, 401(k), life insurance (basically, anywhere you have assets).
  • Any stocks or bonds you hold in certificate form. To do your family a real favor, transfer those stock certificates to a brokerage account.
  • A list of your advisors and their contact information, including your attorney, accountant, financial planner, investment advisor, insurance agent.
  • Your burial wishes.
  • A list of who should get what personal property.

So give a little love this Valentine's Day season.

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