When a loved one is lost, the surviving family members are often thrown into a very difficult and tumultuous time. Having to handle the final arrangements for a deceased relative is difficult enough, but doing so as one is also entering the grieving process makes the task even harder. Once a measure of time has passed, it is necessary to begin addressing the estate planning aspects of the loss of a Pennsylvania family member.
Many individuals have completed the task of creating an estate plan and have taken the time to ensure that their will, trust and other paperwork is all in place. However, there is a simple estate planning task that most people overlook. This is the creation of a comprehensive list of all assets, as well as how and where to locate those items of value.
Consider a family who has lost a beloved father and husband. Without having an asset list in hand, the surviving family members will have no idea if they have addressed the full range of wealth that the individual was able to accumulate. This can lead to a high level of stress, as no one wants to lose assets of which they were unaware. In many cases, family members will spend a great deal of time and effort trying to determine if the assets covered in the will and/or trust represent the total of the deceased person's wealth.
By making a list of assets, Pennsylvania residents can make it far easier for loved ones to move through the weeks and months following a loss. It takes a relatively short amount of time to complete this task, and once the list is in place it takes even less time to make periodic reviews. Discussing this estate planning matter with loved ones is also a good idea, as this gives them the peace of mind of knowing that when the time comes, none of the family's hard-earned assets will be lost.
Source: marketwatch.com, "Review your estate plan against this 14-point checklist", Art Koff, July 20, 2015