Matt's Money; Just write it down

June 27, 2018

If you’ve read this column over the past couple of years, you know I’ve written a few times about something I call “The Fire Drill.” This is a document I created that organizes all your assets, your estate plan, all your documents, titles, deeds, how bills are paid, etc… into one document.

I have it in Excel or Word. It’s basically a “here’s all my stuff” document for your family. I tell people when I hand it to them, “You aren’t doing this for yourself, you’re doing it for your family.”

Truth? It takes some time to complete. I understand. I hate filling stuff out, too. So if you don’t want to spend the time doing something like “The Fire Drill”, would you at least consider this? Could you at least just write some of the things down for your family that I’m about to share with you? And, could you let someone know where this page(s) is? It isn’t a legal document, just a page where you have written down some things like . . .
• If you have a safe in your home or a safe deposit box at the bank, who has the combination or the key? If it’s at the bank, is their name on the account for them to be able to get into it?

• Where are your important legal documents located? Where is your will, powers of attorney, insurance policies, titles to automobiles, deeds to property, etc.? Do you have a list of them? Have you told someone where they are? Can they put their hands on them?

• Do you have a list of all your financial assets? You don’t have to list the balances -- just a list of the accounts, the account numbers, and who to call. Assets like your checking account, savings accounts, brokerage accounts, credit cards, and retirement accounts. List all these on this page.
• What if you couldn’t pay your bills because you were incapacitated? Who would be able to pay your bills for you if you couldn’t? Make a list of all your bills and how they are paid – monthly, quarterly, annually. Are they drafted, do you write a check, or are they on a credit card?
• Write down all your sources of income on this page. Do you have direct deposits coming in from Social Security, a pension, or a retirement account? What accounts are they going into? List all these sources so the person paying your bills will know where your income is coming from.
Please don’t leave your loved ones in a lurch. I’ve seen this too many times – and it’s painful.

An estate plan through an attorney is great, but it isn’t enough. Remember, you’re doing this for your family.

Securities offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Matt Montgomery, a Registered Investment Advisor not affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., 1504 East Rusk, Jacksonville, Texas, 903-586-3494. * An Index is a portfolio of specific securities (common examples are S&P, DJIA, NASDAQ), the performance of which is used as a benchmark in judging the relative performance of certain asset classes. Indexes are un-managed portfolios and investors cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not indicative of future results.