Thursday, July 09, 2009
People should leave clear instructions of their wishes; it's more than just a will
Michelle Singletary has a running column “The Color of Money” in The Washington Post, and today, July 9, on p A15, she has a very practical column, “Don’t Add Confusion to Your Survivors’ Grief”, link here (may require free registration to view content). Here she is talking about a centralized repository of one’s wishes: location of will, life insurance policy (hopefully to help pay for funeral), asses, debts, and the like. She suggests putting the list on on a CD Rom or Flash Drive. Presumably it should be stored in a safe deposit box, with maybe a master copy at home next to the keys for the box. She notes that Michael Jackson's passing in California is causing people to pay attention to their own estate planning.
Earlier on this blog I had talked about trusts and given some links to basic information about their benefits. If you place all your assets in a living trust, don’t forget you will need to notify your auto and property insurance companies to add the trust as the name of the “insured” (they will probably ask for a fax of the deed recording document); in a few states, there have actually occurred some legal battles over the liability of an insurance company when the insured failed to do so, and it could be an issue when the house has a mortgage requiring active insurance.