What Do You Have, and Where Do You Have It?

Hi, my name is Stacy Schwartz and I’m an attorney with the Flammia Elder Law Firm, and today we’re going to talk about what do you have and where do you have it. But before we go into that, let’s talk about a story of my family. So when my grandmother, many, many years ago was going into assisted living, she was moving from a condo, two bedroom, beautiful condo, into a studio apartment in assisted living, which was also beautiful. It was downsizing. It was stressful to downsize everything, and one of the most stressful parts for her was organizing and going through all of her paperwork. And over and over again, she said, “My papers, my papers.” So now my mom and I, we both have this joke that whenever there’s too much paperwork, we just say “My papers, my papers,” and we both know what each other are talking about.

So “My papers, my papers,” what do you have, and where do you have it?

The goal of today is to empower you and encourage you to put together a list of everything you have. If something happened to you, no matter how old you are, does someone know what you have, how to access your accounts, what banks to call, anything like that, does someone have a list?

So what should your list say? Well, do you have bank accounts, checking savings, money markets, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts? Any type of asset you have. Do you have real estate with a mortgage on it, renter’s insurance, property insurance? So there’s a lot that could go onto this list. When you log in online, what accounts do you have? What are your usernames? What are your passwords? This is what I’m talking about. All of it is in our heads, but if something happens, can someone else access that?

So the goal is to put together a list, an all encompassing list, and it could be in whatever form you’re comfortable with. If you prefer pen and paper, put it on pen and paper. If you like Excel and you’re a computer person put together, an Excel spreadsheet. Definitely have it somewhere safe where a hacker, couldn’t get into your list with all of your important accounts. If you have a paper list, make sure it’s somewhere safe, where your family members know. But the goal is to have an all encompassing list.

So let’s say for example, a husband and wife who own a house and husband’s in charge of all the bills. He pays the mortgage; he pays the insurance; he pays the credit card bills; he pays the car insurance; he pays for the car payments. Well, if something happened to him, does his wife know how to pay everything? And this is what I’m talking about because if something happens to husband, wife is going to be scrambling to figure out where everything goes. So we don’t want that to happen.

If you came to our office, let’s say for an estate planning, consultation, or Medicaid, or a VA consultation, for all of those, we have a list of documents we ask for, or list of assets, because to do the right type of planning, we need all the information. So if you’re worried or you just don’t even know where to start, go to our website and download one of our estate planning, worksheet forms. You don’t have to send it to us, but just fill it out because it’s a good starting point to think about what you have and where you have it, and you can start prompting yourself to put together that list.

And Mom and Dad, I know you’re watching this, and this video is just for you because I want you to put together your list and I’ve asked a few times. So for everyone watching, pretend, I’m your child asking you to put together your list or whoever you think will need your documents if ever something happens to you. So make sure you have everything updated, make sure everyone knows how to take care of things if God forbid something happens to you.


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