Getting Organized

AS YOU LOOK TO GET your financial affairs organized, start with your letter of last instruction. Do you find yourself writing a lengthy description of where all key papers are located and how you want matters handled after your death? That’s probably a sign that you need to organize and simplify.

While folks are often advised to keep key documents in a safe-deposit box, this has a downside. After your death, the box may be sealed, and your family may not have access until they get a court order. A representative of the local tax authority may need to be present when the box is unsealed.

At a minimum, don’t keep your will and burial instructions in the safe-deposit box. Your family will want immediate access to those—but it could take weeks to view these documents if they’re in a safe-deposit box. Instead, keep them at home in a fireproof filing cabinet or metal box.

Next: Having the Talk

Previous: Last Instructions

Articles: Look All Ways, The Mary Jean List, Answers to Everything, When I Get Stupid, Other People’s Stuff and Paper Chase

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