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A financial inventory can be crucial for estate planning

No one wants to think of their inevitable death. But, estate planning can go a long way in making a family feel secure in their financial decisions. One important document that can be extremely beneficial to an estate plan is a financial inventory.

A financial inventory can help a person's heirs or their estate executor once the testator is gone. It includes all of a person's financial accounts and the contact people for these accounts. A thorough financial inventory will include the date it was completed. It will also contain three types of information including accounts, people and papers.

Accounts are all financial accounts including brokerage, checking, savings and retirement accounts. Also vehicle and boat information, house and other property payment information and student loans. Life insurance, health insurance and social security information is also important.

Papers include wills, legal documents, marriage documents, property titles, securities and birth certificates. The financial inventory should list exactly where these important documents can be found.

Finally, is the financial inventory should include a list of people who should be notified upon death. It includes family, friends, attorneys, clergy and anyone else that a person finds to be important.

This information can be invaluable for an estate's executor or if the person becomes incapacitated. A thorough list will greatly minimize the search for all important financial documents and minimize the risk of financial accounts being missed. An attorney with experience in estate planning can help a person add a financial inventory as part of their overall estate plan.

When a Washington resident spends the time to carefully craft an estate plan, it can be a gift to their heirs at a time that can be emotionally trying. A financial inventory can save time and headaches when an estate needs to be administered.

Source:, "Estate planning: Your financial inventory", Dr. James Philpot, March 28, 2015

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