A last will and testament is an essential part of any estate plan. It tells your heirs how your assets should be distributed after you die.

The problem is, it doesn’t necessarily tell your loved ones where to find or how to access your assets.

[ad#Google Adsense 336×280-IA]What’s the point of leaving your wealth to anyone if they can’t find it?

It happens more often than you’d think and puts a great deal of stress on mourning family members.

But there’s a simple document you can put together (often without the help of an attorney or accountant) to eradicate the confusion and make things much easier for your heirs.

It’s something I wish my grandfather had done before he passed away. I suspect his story will ring true for a lot of readers…

An Overlooked Necessity

My grandfather closely guarded his assets. Our family didn’t know what or how much he had until after his death… way after.

Growing up during the Great Depression made him private about his wealth. To him, how much money he had accumulated over the years was his business and nobody else’s.

His estate plan included a will and trusts detailing how he wanted his assets split up. But he never told anyone where to find them.

For months after his death, my family watched his mailbox. And every few weeks, a bank statement or insurance policy would arrive for accounts we didn’t know about.

Each time, we would have to start the process over again. We’d send in his death certificate to claim benefits or retitle accounts.

To this day, we don’t know for sure if we claimed everything my grandfather worked so hard for.

Even with all of his careful planning, my grandfather’s estate plan was incomplete.

It was missing an asset inventory.

Your Personal Financial Blueprint

This critical document lists all of your bank, brokerage and retirement accounts, plus any property and insurance policies that may or may not be included in your will or trust.

It tells your descendants where your accounts are held and lists contact information for each one. It may also list your debts or debts owed to you.

An asset inventory makes wealth transfer easier on your beneficiaries. And it ensures that none of your assets get lost.

The document isn’t difficult to complete. It just takes a little time. And you can do it yourself without professional help.

Just grab a piece of paper and list all of your assets and their locations – the names of the banks, brokerage houses and policy providers that hold your accounts. You’ll also want to include the physical locations of any properties, collectibles, and hard or precious assets.

A sample asset inventory checklist might include…

  • Bank and investment accounts
  • Insurance and annuity policies
  • Stock or bond certificates kept outside of a brokerage account
  • Real estate documents such as deeds
  • Retirement accounts
  • Any post-death benefits due from employers, Social Security, Veterans Affairs, etc.
  • Hidden cash or jewelry
  • Rare coins, collectibles, valuable art and precious metals
  • Safes and safe deposit boxes.

Once you’ve finished, store your asset inventory in a safe, accessible place. And make sure you tell a trusted heir where to find it.

If you don’t have this key component of your will mapped out, it’s time to get organized. You’ll be doing your executor and your heirs a big favor.

More importantly, it’ll help ensure that your final wishes are carried out as you see fit. Draw up your asset inventory today to make sure your hard-earned wealth ends up in the right place.

Good investing,



Source: Wealthy Retirement