What would your family do if you were suddenly out of the picture? Would anyone know what you owned, and where it was located? Would they be able to pay the bills you owe and collect the money due to you? What about important papers—like your will? Is there a record of where you keep it? Do they know the names of your attorney and financial advisor?
Even if you’ve drawn up the necessary papers to ensure your family’s well-being, it is essential to keep records accessible so that whoever is responsible can figure out what to do next. Your executor, attorney, spouse, adult child or other reliable party should know where to find your records.
At the time of a sudden incapacity or death of a loved one, I have often seen clients overwhelmed by the situation and all the decisions that need to be made, especially in cases where the wishes of the deceased were unknown. Many people have unfortunately experienced such stressful times and witnessed how the strongest of family relationships can be tested and sometimes permanently impaired. Knowing where vital documents are can be necessary to make important decisions – the will, power of attorney, living will, etc.
Recognizing this, Rosell Wealth Management has adopted a program called the Family Love Letter (FLL). Originally written by John Scroggin, The Family Love Letter was designed to provide information in a time of grief, stress and confusion. It is not a financial or legal document, but a system to help clients organize their finances, thoughts, wishes and assets.
Using simple steps like making sure all important financial information and other important documents are organized and stored in a fireproof box, the FLL helps to bring individuals the peace of mind they want and need to help their families have the most information available. The FLL is not intended to replace or supersede other legal documents such as wills or trusts, but it is intended to supplement these documents with potentially helpful information at a difficult time.
Clients should consult their attorneys regarding the validity and enforceability of their estate planning documents. We work with individuals to help them complete the FLL and help gather information.
Typical information found in a completed FLL includes:
• Where wills and other important papers are kept (do not put in a safe deposit box as your family may need a court order to open it)
• bank accounts (checking, savings, CDs)
• investments (stocks, bonds, ETF’s, mutual funds, annuities)
• retirement assets (401K’s, IRAs,annuities)
• insurance policies (personal, property)
• business interests
• real estate
• assets held in trust
• personal property (jewelry, art, collectibles
• debts you owe
• money due to you
No one likes to think about these matters, but by pulling these important documents together and leaving important details in one place – email passwords, codes to the safe, etc. – people are getting their proverbial house in order for the good of those they care about most. I recommend doing this for the love of your family.
David Rosell is President of the Rosell Wealth Management in Bend. He is the President of the City Club of Central Oregon and the Past Chairman of the Bend Chamber of Commerce. David can be reached at 541-385-8831 or www.RosellWealthManagement.com.
Investment advisory services offered through Rosell Wealth Management, a State Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through ValMark Securities, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC 130 Springside Drive, Ste 300 Akron, Ohio 44333-2431. 800 765-5201. Rosell Wealth Management is a separate entity from ValMark Securities, Inc.