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    DO YOU KNOW WHERE VITAL PIECES OF YOUR ESTATE PLAN ARE LOCATED?
     
    Location, location, location! You often hear this phrase in real estate, but the same principle applies to vital pieces of your estate plan. If you are like most women, estate planning is not something that crosses your mind often in the midst of our busy lives of family, work and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if something happened to you or your spouse, would either of you know where to find the necessary information to handle legal affairs or continue running your household? Or, if you are a single woman, do you have a person, or entity, designated to handle your affairs?

    COMMUNICATION IS KEY:
    After organizing your important information, ask your significant other for information they control and help your designated person or entity by communicating where to find the following estate planning pieces.

    1. WHERE  IS  YOUR  MONEY? Keep a current list of bank and investment accounts. It’s common to hold accounts at different financial institutions for a variety of reasons, so be sure to keep a current master list of accounts and passwords for each institution so you can accurately account for these dollars in your estate planning, and so your designated person can access these accounts if you are otherwise unable. The same principle applies to any monthly bills or automatic payments. Know how to access these accounts. Additionally, be mindful of your retirement accounts so that you can make beneficiary updates as necessary and assess where those assets remain housed.

    2. WHERE IS YOUR LIFE INSURANCE? It’s important to not only know where your life insurance policy is located but also to know the policy value and whether you have any loans against it. Also, keep a copy of the original documents, and keep track of your representative and the effective date of your policy. Since companies may be bought and sold over the years, keeping a record of the original company who issued your policy is helpful for beneficiaries down the road.

    3. WHERE ARE YOUR ESTATE DOCUMENTS? Know where original copies of your Will, Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive are kept, and share copies of these documents with your designated person or entity. Communicating the location of these important documents will help give you peace of mind, help make an emergency situation less chaotic and can help prevent delays in legal processes.

    MEET THE EXPERT
    Elizabeth Brasher, JD, CWS serves as a Client Consultant with Warren Averett Asset Management. She works with individuals, families and the firm’s Women’s Wealth Connection to implement financial planning, estate planning and investment planning strategies. Contact her at 205.747.3945 or Elizabeth.Brasher@waasset.com
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