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Wise Estate Planning Checklist

Wise Estate Planning Checklist

A Record of Essential Information

As the years go by, we often lose track of what we accumulate along the way. In some families it's a cradle or christening gown that's been handed down for generations, or an autographed baseball signed by a forgotten hero, or a faded program from the grammar school play our son or daughter performed in, or even a key to our first home.

These are but a few of the things we tuck away in a closet, but they often shape our lives and remain in our hearts. From an estate planning perspective, there are several other bits and pieces we frequently accumulate and often forget we have. Items such as savings accounts, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, mortgages or leases, partnerships, antiques and other works of art, furniture, and paid-up life insurance policies are examples. We often forget about these items tucked away in a bank safe deposit box or in the back of the filing cabinet in the basement, but they too can be gifts from the heart and make a big difference in the lives of our loved ones.

We also often forget how our lives have changed along the way. Events such as marriages and remarriages; children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren; births and deaths of friends and loved ones; and ever-changing interests, desires and priorities. Because of this, it is beneficial to do a thorough review and accounting of one's assets and priorities to determine what needs to happen to certain treasures -- and even routine items -- when we are no longer able to make such decisions. Often, individuals neglect to write a will, or even a plan, for how their assets will be disposed of after they are gone. It is truly sad to witness cherished possessions indiscriminately disposed of when one fails to provide instructions for their heirs and loved ones.

The Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) has a questionnaire that will assist you in creating a mechanism for tracking all your assets and priorities. There is no obligation in requesting this personal resource that will help you document the legacy you wish to leave. This questionnaire will be helpful even if you are simply wishing to see what you have accumulated over the past few years. The information you gather stays in your possession and remains confidential, and need not be shared with anyone without your express permission.

For a free copy of the "Record of Essential Information", simply send a note or email (rick@cota.org) to the Children's Organ Transplant Association. Or, call Rick Lofgren at 800-366-2682 for immediate assistance. The questionnaire will be mailed to you immediately, and our staff will be happy to work with you should you have questions.


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