How To Help Your Financial Executor

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If you love your family, give one last parting gift. Tell them where to find your Will and Trust documents. Better yet, organize your documents!

On several occasions, executors have walked into a decedent’s house with no idea of where to find bank statements, life insurance policies or settlement statements just to name a few. Instead, he/she has found a house packed with drawers and file cabinets full of papers.

That means countless hours have to be spent searching. The job of an executor is an exhausting one. Add to that the grief and stress loved ones are feeling.

Think to yourself: Does your executor know where to find your Will and Trust documents? Have you destroyed outdated Trusts so that only your most recent documents are in your files?

Far too often, the executor walks into the decedent’s house with no idea where to find the most important records.

Laurie Siegel, CPA, P.C. developed a personal information organizer designed to help her clients organize their financial records and estate planning documents. As a result, everything the client and executor need is in one location.

“On more than one occasion, the process of organizing financial records has helped save hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have been paid in estate taxes,” she said. “Clients have realized that they had trusts but the trusts were not funded properly.”

Using the organizer has given clients and heirs peace of mind while minimizing loss and delay in settling the estate by ensuring that all assets are properly accounted for.

According to Laurie, the organizer does the following:

-Leaves a way for your heirs to honor your wishes, providing a smoother transition during a time that is very stressful.

-Prevents misunderstanding and minimizes conflict among beneficiaries by documenting asset locations as well as client wishes that are to be carried out.

-Provides a complete overview of the client’s financial picture for the financial or legal adviser to review and evaluate.

Imagine it this way: When you die, someone else must immediately step in and take over every detail of your life from every magazine subscription, credit card payment and telephone bill. This is in addition to the very important role of carrying out your wishes.

The job is huge, more than anyone imagines, said Laurie. When estate matters finally wind down, the executor is worn down too.

“Just when we are about finished, another asset pops up, maybe a small one, such as a bank account no one knew about, or maybe a newly-discovered stock certificate hidden away in the bottom file cabinet drawer,” she said.

The executor feels that the job is never ending and the time required is immense.

Having an organizer or a specified location for your documents can not only benefit the executor, but can help your heirs in what is a saddening and stressful time.

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