Save your family a few dozen hours of Google time (not to mention customer service calls) by getting all your property information tidied up. Let's go.
Who else knows what you know about your “stuff”? Take a moment and really think about that. Is there a household account or a service or a whole piece of land that only you “manage” or own?
If you’re like many of us, the answer is yes.
Knowing that there are important details about how to keep your life in motion that are not documented in any obvious place, can you now imagine being in the shoes of your financial decision maker?
This week, we’re going to demonstrate some empathy for that person and make it easy for them to find the details when they need them.
No Financial Decision Maker?
If you haven't formally asked and assigned someone to help you manage your property, legal, and financial issues in a pinch, go back and map out a plan to delegate a financial decision maker.
If you own, manage, or control an asset, this is the week you'll gather up the details as an act of love and consideration for the people who will help you when you need it. Collect the following:
Household and Property Inventory
Download this checklist of common household / property information to pull together.
Once you have the supporting documents in one place, you’ll want to review how the property is titled. The way a property is titled determines more than your rights while you own the asset. Property titles also dictate how property can be transferred after you die.
For great descriptions of the various ways that property can be titled, and what each ownership type says about a property’s transfer after death, read Understanding Ownership of Property. As it says in the article, “Even the most sophisticated and well-thought-out plan will fail miserably if you don't understand how your property is titled.”
NOTE: Property law varies by state, and of course your circumstances are unique… so consult an estate planning attorney if you have questions about what your next steps should be.
Whether you rent or own your home, whether you own a lot of stuff or just a little, it will still take someone else time and effort to navigate your world if you need help. In my case, in addition to tracking down a timeshare in Austria, I also had to sell my parents' cars and their house for them when their health changed suddenly.
It would all have been much easier if I had power of attorney and easy access to the titles at the outset.
That’s why this week's next task is to share and discuss with your financial decision maker. While they don’t necessarily need copies of all these documents, they do need to know how to get access in case of an emergency.
If the documents and information are in your home, where in your home? If the information is with an attorney, which one? If the documents are in a home safe, how do they open it? You get the idea.
Finally, don’t leave this week's tasks to chance.
Block some time and make a commitment to yourself (and the person who may eventually need to help you if your life changes) that you will get it done.
You can do this!