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Creating an organized estate planning system

The primary motivation behind creating a comprehensive estate plan is to leave loved ones in New Jersey with a solid level of financial stability. This is accomplished through careful estate planning methods such as the use of trusts and life insurance. However, it is important to note that even the most well-constructed estate plan can leave loved ones in the lurch if the proper level of organization is not achieved.  

Consider the stress and chaos that comes in the aftermath of an unexpected loss. If the surviving spouse was not the person in charge of handling family finances, he or she can be at a loss when trying to determine what to do next. Even worse, if estate planning documents are not stored in one central location that is known to both spouses, assets can be forgotten about or simply overlooked.

The best way to protect loved ones from such an outcome is to improve the organization of these important documents, and to augment as needed. Each family should have an up-to-date list of all assets, along with information on where those assets are held, account numbers, user names and passwords and so on. The same is true for debts and other liabilities.

It is also helpful to create a list of all income. This includes income from employment, investments, loans made to friends and family and other sources of incoming money. A surviving spouse needs to have a clear understanding of all money that is flowing into and out of the household, in order to make the best possible decisions in the weeks and months following a loss.

Handling the basics of estate planning is a great way to provide financial security for loved ones. However, New Jersey residents should also consider adding another layer of protection in the way of organization. By providing loved ones with an organized overview of the full range of assets and liabilities, the timeframe after a loss can be far easier and less stressful to navigate.

Source: valdostatoday.com, "Will You Leave Your Spouse or Kids a Mess or a Method?", Bob Lambert, Sept. 28, 2015

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