If you care about anyone in your life, you will do one thing today – GET ORGANIZED. I do not mean you need to color code your filing system or incorporate the Dewey Decimal System. I don’t care if you have your red sweaters, next to your orange, which is next to the yellow sweaters…
What I mean is that you need to go through all of your financial records and legal documents – your bank statements, your insurance policies, your tax returns, deeds… and shred what is no longer relevant or in force.
The more unnecessary and irrelevant paperwork you keep, the more difficult it will be for your loved ones to go through and have your estate administered either at your incapacity or your death. If they don’t know what you have, they will not be able to figure out what needs to be done!
We had a daughter of a client come in to our offices after her mom passed away. She was trying to move forward and get the estate administered. Unfortunately, she did not know where to begin! When she came into our offices, she came with 10 milk crates filled with papers – stacked and stuffed and crinkled and in a state of disarray! She wanted us to help figure out what mom’s estate held.
Having an attorney organize the estate after you cannot is not a cheap matter. And even if the daughter did it herself, it is not a good use of her time either. No one knows which of your documents are still relevant better than you do!
So start today! Get a shredder. Get into those old piles of papers. If you have money in the account, keep the current statement. If the account is closed, or the policy is not in force, then shred it! Get organized because it is one-thousand times easier for you to know what you have, than it is for your loved ones. And it is a whole lot cheaper than having an attorney rummage through your piles of papers too!
Contributed by MH Estate Planning Attorney James P. Plitz
What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down. The attorneys also help those in Arizona to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.