Evaluate Your Financial Status And Organize Related Paperwork:
Calculate your net worth
Figure out how much you are worth. Include any life insurance proceeds and retirement plan proceeds that will be payable upon your death. If you have considerable net worth, consider talking to a lawyer who specializes in estate planning to determine what can be done to minimize the impact of federal and state death taxes.
Currently, an individual with net worth of $675,000 or less can escape federal estate taxation. (This number will increase to $1M in the next few years.) For married couples with properly executed wills and trusts, the current limit is $2.M. (as of Aug 2008)
Organize your financial and personal records
If any of the following information is stored on your computer, make a hard copy list of all passwords and indicate where the information can be found on your computer. If the information is stored on a disk, indicate what the disk is labeled and where it can be found.
Accounts and debts
List the account numbers of all your investments, bank accounts, and insurance policies. List all of your debts, including mortgages, credit cards, and loans.
List the location of all important documents, including tax records, deeds, car titles, insurance policies, military records, birth and marriage certificates, divorce decrees, wills, and other estate planning documents.
List personal data, including your Social Security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, and the names, addresses and phone numbers of family members. If any organization to which you belong provides death benefits, list the organization and a contact person at the organization.