From Your Basement To Your Desk

From Your Basement To Your Desk

If you are like me you’ve made many trips to your basement to see if there is anything else you can throw out, give away, or rearrange. So, face the facts. There is no more reason to spend time usefully down there. But there is a real serious reason to spend time at your desk where you keep your important papers and financial records.

That reason is to review your financial assets and your estate planning documents. Make a list that shows all your financial accounts, and how they are owned. If married, are they joint with your spouse. If IRA’s or 401k’s or other tax qualified accounts, do they have beneficiaries named? And have circumstances changed, such as a relative dying or going into a nursing home?

If so, maybe beneficiaries should be changed. Were your Power of Attorneys done before October 1, 2016? They are still valid, but the Connecticut legislature made significant changes to the power of attorney law at that time, and powers were expanded and updated. Everyone would be wise to update their power of attorneys.
Also, is the person you named to act for you still capable of doing that job?
The same goes for a review of your will or trusts. Is the person you named as executor or trustee still capable of doing the job? Have they moved away or had a change of circumstances in their lives, either financially or healthwise? If so, should you consider a change?

One item that often gets overlooked is life insurance. People often forget about old
policies if they are small and paid up. Make sure those go on your list. When the list is done, you may be surprised at how many different accounts you have. The list is not just for you. It is very helpful to your family if you should become incapacitated or die.

That brings up a really important list for you to make. It is an emergency information
card or sheet that has critical information on it. Your name and Medicare card number. Your medical insurance company and policy number, and the phone number to call. Then list your medical doctors with the names and phone numbers. Add to that a list of any serious medical conditions you have, and the medications you take and the dosage. Your trusted family members should all have a copy of this, so if you suddenly pass out or are in a car accident, all of the important medication information can be given to the EMT’s or emergency room doctors, without your family frantically searching. 

Getting all this information organized will use up a good deal of that time on your hands, will keep you out of your spouses’ hair, and will give you much satisfaction and peace of mind. At least it did for me after I finished with the upstairs and downstairs closets and figured out there was nothing more to do with the stuff in the basement.
Attorneys Stephen O. and Halley C. Allaire are partners in the law firm of Allaire Elder Law.
Attorneys Stephen O. and Halley C. Allaire are members of the National Academy of Elder Law. Attorneys, Inc.
Allaire Elder Law is a highly respected, and highly rated law firm with offices in Bristol, CT.
We can be contacted by phone at (860) 259-1500 or by email.

If you have a question, send a written note to us and we may use your question in a future column.

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