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Avoid Keeping Your Estate Plan Hidden

Published July 24, 2009

Estate planning is about more than just drafting documents; there are practical issues involved, as well. If your affairs are disorganized, your executor may have to spend time and energy researching information that you could have easily provided. Some of these include:

• Who should be notified of your death?
• Did you prepare a Will? If so, where do you keep it?
• If you own a life insurance policy, pension, annuity, or retirement account, where are the applicable documents stored?
• Where are the records for your bank accounts, stocks, bonds, or safety deposit box(es)?
• If you own real estate, where are the deeds?
• If you own a business, where are your critical documents stored?

Failure to organize this information and leave accurate instructions about how to retrieve it can be costly. If you own assets such as  stocks, bonds, real estate, insurance policies, and even bank accounts, these assets, if unknown to your family, may be turned over to the state government. This happens more than people may think, with millions of dollars going into state treasuries each year.

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