Do Not assume Heir Atlas is only useful once you’ve passed on! Things happen…life is full of unforeseen “events” and we might be in need at any time.
Start a list of “assets”. Assets are any physical item, account, policy, etc. that has value to either you and/or outsiders. If an asset has “beneficiaries”, ensure that the beneficiary(s) listed is up to date.
Ensure that any list is known to others. A list is useless if something happens to you, and no one knows how to help or where to look.
Ensure that, even if known, a list is accessible. A password-protected list, without a password, is not helpful.
Think about this: in the past, we had (paper) statements sent through the (snail) mail, and we could file these things. Even if we disposed of these, we would receive more periodically. If something happened to us, these mailings could be viewed as evidence of asset existence (e.g. bank accounts, investments, etc.).
Now, are we paperless? Perhaps we receive email notifications of some sort. If something happens to you, would an appropriate person have access to your emails or virtual accounts? Food for thought…
When an asset (e.g. a Long-Term Care policy) is added to the portfolio, ensure others are aware, and annually, refreshed with that knowledge. People forget, and those that were trusted with the information might no longer be willing or able. Always look for someone that you can depend on.
For any assets (notably Life Insurance and Long-Term Care policies) that require premium payments, ensure third-party notifications are set up with the insurance carrier for those policies. That is, if you forget to pay, there should be a knock on your door from those you trust to ensure your welfare. We don’t want to lose those policies, right?
Do Not list account numbers when placing your information in any location that might be accessed by ne’er-do-wells. The account numbers are not necessary, but a list of where to look, and for what, is essential.
If you believe that a more all-encompassing medium, including account numbers and values, is your preference, here is a list of sites you might consider:
We’ll add as we find them…