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Old 02-11-2012, 08:45 AM   #21
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Instead of keeping everything on a hard drive, I put it all on a flash drive. The flash drive contains all account information as well as a detailed "what to do" with a suggested time line. The flash drive is password protected (she picked the password) and is locked in our fire proof safe.

I do have a printout in our safety deposit box (box is free), but she knows to compare the two even though I keep them updated regularly. The beauty of the electronic file is there are links to the various accounts.
re: fireproof safe. A friend of mine was on vacation in Croatia last fall and got a call that his house had burned down. When he returned, the fireproof safe had not melted (all the other metal in the house had burned or melted). The contents of the safe (mostly wife's jewelry) consisted of a mixed metal disk with some gemstones embedded on the bottom of the safe along with some evidence of other material that had turned to a white powder. He said the disk looked kind of cool and he plans to mount it on the wall in his new house. His wife isn't as amused as he is.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:06 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Easypick View Post
Instead of keeping everything on a hard drive, I put it all on a flash drive. The flash drive contains all account information as well as a detailed "what to do" with a suggested time line. The flash drive is password protected (she picked the password) and is locked in our fire proof safe.

I do have a printout in our safety deposit box (box is free), but she knows to compare the two even though I keep them updated regularly. The beauty of the electronic file is there are links to the various accounts.
Remember to get that flash drive out once or twice a year both for updates and to make sure it is still working with all of the data there. Although flash memory is very reliable, it can and does fail on occasion.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:44 AM   #23
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In addition to a will and whatnot (which I am in the process of updating), I have a two or three page letter that tells DW where the accounts are, about how much is in each one, and the order in which she should proceed to tap things for cash. I have given suggested investment instructions and explained how to hire an advisor if necessary. Importantly, I have gone over all of this with DW to make sure she understands it and can do it.
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Living Trust
Old 02-11-2012, 03:21 PM   #24
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Living Trust

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...setting up the family trust. It also includes the other end of life papers like living wills and durable powers of attorney. T
+1
we have the trust, wills and Advance Healthcare Directives. To help our successor trustee, we include the list of all bank accounts, life insurance, etc. with the trust instructions.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:37 PM   #25
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Does anyone have suggestions for an online template for a letter of instruction?
Beyond that, who do I set as executor or durable POA?
This 'not being a family' stuff is getting annoying.
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Old 02-11-2012, 04:51 PM   #26
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Does anyone have suggestions for an online template for a letter of instruction?
Here's a blast from the past: Aging parents - What to do?
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:11 PM   #27
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re: fireproof safe. A friend of mine was on vacation in Croatia last fall and got a call that his house had burned down. When he returned, the fireproof safe had not melted (all the other metal in the house had burned or melted). The contents of the safe (mostly wife's jewelry) consisted of a mixed metal disk with some gemstones embedded on the bottom of the safe along with some evidence of other material that had turned to a white powder. He said the disk looked kind of cool and he plans to mount it on the wall in his new house. His wife isn't as amused as he is.
This is a very valid point.
Safes are rated for burglary or fire protection or both. The ratings are fairly standard.
For example, UL ratings tell you how long and at what temperature a rated safe can protect its contents. Here is a good description of how those ratings are determined:

UL Fire Safe Rating Guide

In other words, an offsite copy of the instructions is not a bad idea.
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Old 02-11-2012, 05:25 PM   #28
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Does anyone have suggestions for an online template for a letter of instruction?

Mine is very simple. The investments are here and here, the CDs are here, the savings account is here, the insurance policies are here. Put money in this fund, tap this account if you need cash immediately, etc.
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Old 02-11-2012, 06:17 PM   #29
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Does anyone have suggestions for an online template for a letter of instruction?
Beyond that, who do I set as executor or durable POA?
This 'not being a family' stuff is getting annoying.
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:04 PM   #30
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... in our fire proof safe.
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Originally Posted by jebmke View Post
re: fireproof safe. A friend of mine was on vacation in Croatia last fall and got a call that his house had burned down. When he returned, the fireproof safe had not melted (all the other metal in the house had burned or melted). The contents of the safe (mostly wife's jewelry) consisted of a mixed metal disk with some gemstones embedded on the bottom of the safe along with some evidence of other material that had turned to a white powder. He said the disk looked kind of cool and he plans to mount it on the wall in his new house. His wife isn't as amused as he is.
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This is a very valid point.
Safes are rated for burglary or fire protection or both. The ratings are fairly standard.
For example, UL ratings tell you how long and at what temperature a rated safe can protect its contents. Here is a good description of how those ratings are determined:
UL Fire Safe Rating Guide
In other words, an offsite copy of the instructions is not a bad idea.
Yeah, I think the appropriate phrase is "fire resistant".

Offsite is certainly easier to recover from.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:40 AM   #31
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I have an excel file that list our accounts and the passwords. I put in on the jumpdrive, personally handed it to my DS and asked him to save it to his PC and encrypt it using a key that we both know.
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:47 PM   #32
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I happened across a personal inventory form today when I was doing some research for my church

https://www.tpf.org/resources/resource-library/
About halfway down the page is Important Information at my Death

or link directly to the file at
https://www.tpf.org/files/documents/...my_death_3.xls

I might have chosen some different Excel formatting, but the list looks extremely comprehensive.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:05 PM   #33
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Joining the chorus for getting your will, durable health care power of attorney (don't forget an alternate) and letters of instruction done ASAP. We did all of this back in the fall, in preparation for a lengthy trip out of the country.
Our executor is my brother in law (who lives out of state), so I left our instructions and our copies of the wills and so forth with my boss, who I knew would assist my BIL if needed, in finding and taking care of the accounts. If I died and my DH was left, he'd pretty much go straight to my boss for help. Our stuff isn't so complicated, though, and I'm sure he'd be able to handle the finances. The big problem would be him having no one to run his life, so I feel like I need to add a codicil to my letter of instruction that names a stand-in nagger, who can direct him and keep him out of trouble should I pass before him.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:00 PM   #34
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Get to an estate planning attorney like YESTERDAY!
You need;
Family Trust or your estate will go through probate and cost your heirs many thousands of dollars
Living will to declare how you want your life to continue or end if you can't speak up. Doctors will spend every last dime you have, leaving nothing for heirs if you don't have a directive for life support.
Power of Attorney for medical decisions. Someone you trust to follow though with your wishes and sign for you until you are able to again.
Power of Attorney for financial decisions. Same as medical but usually a different person. No need to tempt anyone with an inheritance AND your end of life decisions....
Last Will and Testament. From the music to the flower choices. Veteran death and funeral benefits. Progeny; know what that is? Defined as a child born of legal wedlock. If your will lists an heir as your progeny, then some gal can't claim your 'love child' as an heir to your estate. You have that right and power, so exercise it.
Executor of your will and estate.

An estate planning attorney will take care of all these things during a couple interviews with you and some documents he or she will ask you to produce. All of these will cost around $1500 and include usual and customary updating without additional costs. It all comes in a nice binder with the instructions to call the attorney upon your death. This guy will have the fiduciary responsibility to you and you alone.
I set this up for my parents and let me tell you it was great. When Mom passed, Dad couldn't even answer whether or not Mom wanted to be an organ donor. Not to worry; it was in this binder. Prepaid funeral expenses? Only if someone knows it's there and knows immediately. Dad is a vet and so Mom's ashes were placed in the Veteran's Cemetery with no charge as the spouse of a vet.

don't leave this to chance. If you love your family, plan for the eventuality of your death.
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Old 02-15-2012, 12:09 AM   #35
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The big problem would be him having no one to run his life, so I feel like I need to add a codicil to my letter of instruction that names a stand-in nagger, who can direct him and keep him out of trouble should I pass before him.
Damn, you've been chatting with my spouse, haven't you?

Apparently we guys aren't allowed to nominate nagger candidates, either...
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:43 AM   #36
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another question:

-would it be better to go with a firm or one man shop?

I tend to lean towards the latter, but not being quite at the big three O, the guy I am looking at is well into his 50's. If everything goes as plans, his one man shop will be long gone before I take my dirt nap. I assume this is just how it works, and we'll take our will and plan to the next guy/gal? Or is there a benefit to using a firm? Or is it "sixes"?
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:46 AM   #37
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Damn, you've been chatting with my spouse, haven't you?

Apparently we guys aren't allowed to nominate nagger candidates, either...
Well, duh, because you'd pick that Hooters waitress, in a second!
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:25 AM   #38
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another question:

-would it be better to go with a firm or one man shop?

I tend to lean towards the latter, but not being quite at the big three O, the guy I am looking at is well into his 50's. If everything goes as plans, his one man shop will be long gone before I take my dirt nap. I assume this is just how it works, and we'll take our will and plan to the next guy/gal? Or is there a benefit to using a firm? Or is it "sixes"?
I don't know why it would matter for a will. They don't have to be complicated, mine is 3 pages, double spaced with huge margins and lots of flowery legal (19th century) language, that would easily fit on 1 page normally formatted. Just pick someone who does it routinely at a good price. If you pick someone who does wills on an exception basis, it's likely to be more expensive and possibly less effective. Again, where I am a simple will and advanced directive with medical power of attorney ranges from $150 (may be out of date) to $600 (the most prestigious firm in our little burg).
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:29 PM   #39
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Estate Planning: Trusts
There is a Testamentary Trust which can offer tax advantages over a Family Trust. One of them is a separate taxation as an individual, with lower rates than if the entire inheritance were taxed in the spouse's hands. It would require an accountant and a lawyer to determine which combination is best. Only for estates of a certain size.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:13 PM   #40
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Well, duh, because you'd pick that Hooters waitress, in a second!
Maybe my spouse is just trying to avoid putting me through a very lengthy & exhausting interview process. Yeah, that's it.

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... and lots of flowery legal (19th century) language,
I read once that those Dickensian triple-verb sentences ("bequeath, devise, and bestow") actually have specific detailed definitions that would otherwise allow loopholes confusion to creep through as to the dearly departed's true intent.
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