The Go-Book: Estate Planning

The Go-Book: Estate Planning

RIPThis section could be titled your “I’m not old enough for this info” page. I know for my self, I don’t feel old enough to worry about half of this stuff, if not all of it. However, this does need to get done because we really never know when our time will come. Also, if you are at the age that I am, and are starting your young family, then these things should be important to you. This may be a bit dry and boring, but we are adults now and these things should get done.

Here’s what to include:

Wills. This is an important one, especially if you now have kids. You want to make sure you get this done because if you do, you can decide where your kids go in the case that you and your spouse die, or become a vegetable. If you don’t write up a will, your family will have to fight over who gets custody of the kids. You will want to include the name of executor in this section as well, so those you leave behind will know who is in charge of your will.

The nice thing about wills is you can write what is called a “ghost will”. This is basically a will written on a napkin. As long as you write it in your pen and sign it, it stands in court.

Power of Attorney. If you become a vegetable, you will want to have someone you trust make the decisions for your finances and other important details. As far as I know, as long as you’re married your spouse will be your power of attorney. Although I think that is only if his/her name is also on the account. I personally feel that it is important to have both names on every account you have. It will make these things so much easier for the spouse that survives. Nothing could be more frustrating then having your spouse die AND not be able to access any of ‘your’ finances simply because your name wasn’t on the accounts.

Personal Directives. According to Alberta human services, “Personal directives are legal documents which allow you to name a decision maker and/or provide written instructions to be followed when, due to illness or injury, you no longer have the capacity to make decisions such as where you will live or the medical treatment you will receive.” This goes along with wills and power of attorneys. This is instructions on where you want your finances spent, who is in charge of what, and when things are to be done.

Cemetery Lot. This is a weird one to think about even at my ripe old age of 30. However, if I was killed in a car accident tomorrow, does my wife know where I want to be buried and how? Does she know if I want to be cremated or not? These are all things we need to discuss now that we have families. Again, still weird to think about at this young age.

Funeral Instructions. Who gives your eulogy? I told my wife I want bag pipes played at mine because I think they sound amazing. Who are the pallbearers?

This will be the one section you just want to get out of the way. It is important to get these details right, and then you should never have to worry about them again.

The Go-Book: Financial Information

The Go-Book: Financial Information

FinancialInformationThis section is an important one. This doesn’t just include how much you have in your savings account but everything pertaining to your finances. Again, having all this information written down will save your life. If we can’t get on a computer, or phone lines are down, it will be very convenient to have all this info written in one place.

I don’t think I can hammer this point enough. This is not only your Go-Book, but your Go-To-Book. Having all the information in one place will be very helpful when dealing with your finances.

One point I do want to make as well is since this book has all your information in it, some of which is very private, you will want to hide this book somewhere or camouflage. Especially when you are done with this section.

Here’s what to include in your financial information section:

Bank Accounts

Include Financial institution and type of account. Is it a savings our chequing account? How to contact the financial institution and any log-ins for online banking. Yes, write down both username and password, or at least a clue to the password.

Credit Cards. Include Financial institution, their contact info, type of credit card , name on the card and the card number. You may also want to write down the expiry and the security code. I have three ideas for keeping that secure. One is make your Go-Book a ‘grey book’. That means it is blended in with the rest of your books. Don’t title it “This is all my important information book”. Maybe title it something like “Computer Programing for beginners”, or ” Financial Know-How.” That way when someone comes into your home, they wont see your “emergency book” and take it so they can take your identity.

The second idea is to write down your credit card info in a way that only you know how to read it. Put the expiry and the security code in the middle of another made up number. You could pretend you have two of what ever cards you have. So if you have one visa pretend you have two. One visa number is the regular number and the second one is your  secret expiry / security code number. eg. regular visa: 4520 0879 9890 9989. Secret number 4520 0216 4346 7876. All visas start with 4520, so it would be good to start your secret one the same. Then just remember that the next 7 numbers are your secret numbers. 0216 is the expiry, and 434 is the security code. Just an idea.

Another idea is to hide your book. Just don’t forget where you hid it.

investments/RRSP etc

Include type of investment, where the investment is held, the account number, and the approximate value. Often these are questions your bank or financial institution will ask you to verify it is really you they are talking to. You will also want to write whose names are on the investment.

Credit Reports

Include the paper copy of your credit reports.

Loans/Debts

Include Institution from which you received the loan, their contact info, Loan number, who holds the loan, and the approximate balance. The balance would best be written in pencil so it can be updated. This section is where you would write your mortgage information.

Tax Returns

Include a copy of your current tax return

Key to safety deposit box

Include the key, or a description of where the key is. Again, try to protect it as well. If it is at your moms house, then try to say that with out saying “at moms house”. Maybe say “Shes a first class lady.”

Next week we will be going over the estate planning that should be included. This is the section of important things that no one really wants to do. The not exciting stuff.

The Go-Book: Insurance Information

The Go-Book: Insurance Information

home-insuranceThis weeks post could be one of the more important ones. Having all of your insurance information in one spot will save you immense pain and time trying to get that information. Insurance info is one of those things I do not have memorized. Half the time I don’t even know what insurance we have or what it covers. It would be great to have all that info in one spot.

So, here is what should be included in this spot. And yes, it is more than just insurance policies.

Copies of your life insurance. Having proof of it is always good. Also, with this information written down you will have access to your policy numbers as well as who to contact and how and when to best contact them.

Copies of home, auto, etc insurance. This would include renters insurance, boat insurance, any policies you might have for quads or dirt bikes, motorbikes, and the like. If you get into and accident, or if your boat sinks, you will definitely want to have that information readily available. If you rent instead of own, you should definitely have contents insurance. If your residence burns down, you don’t want to lose everything you have. Not owning the home would mean your landlord gets to cash in on his policy and you get nothing. With contents insurance, you can at least get money to replace your stuff which just happens to be everything you own.

Jewelry appraisals. If you have a lot of jewelry in the home, you will want to get them appraised so you have an idea of how much they are worth. If you get broken into and they get stolen, depending on what insurance you have, they will cover the cost of the jewelry. I know that wont replace any that had sentimental value but at least you get something for it. Better to replace it with the insurers money than your own.

Another good idea is to take an inventory list of items in your home. This would include televisions, computers, art, books, beds, things with sentimental value, anything of high value, and anything you would want replaced if destroyed or stolen.

You will want to write down:

Description of item. Describe what it looks like as best you can. If there are any scratches or dents that will help make it easier to identify, include them.

Make/model and version of products

Serial number. This is specifically in case items get stolen. This is why you will want to list those two 75″ TVs separately. Having the serial number written down can prove that that specific TV is yours.

Purchase date. You will want to keep receipts and attach them to this sheet. Having proof of purchase will save you time and the headache of trying to prove you had that 75″ TV.

Price you paid. Again, keeping the receipts handy will help. Often the receipts will have the price as well as the serial numbers for your items. Depending on your policy, your insurance may cover 100% of purchased price. This will be good when the value of the TV goes down, but your policy pays your out at your purchase price.

One last thing I think deserves a mention in this area is receipts for any major repairs. This includes repairs to the home, car, or items in the house like computers and laundry machines etc.

The idea behind this Go-Book isn’t only for the zombie apocalypse, but also for small things like making a claim about your missing computer, or adding your new born to your life insurance policy.

In your Go-Book, it is a good idea to staple a copy of each of your policies on the back of the page that has the details written down. This is the book you want to put everything into. It will not only be the Go-Book, but the Go-To-Book. The book you go to for all your important information.

Next week we will be going over your finances and what should be included. I keep saying on each topic that it is the most important one. I have to laugh because I’m basically saying the whole book is the most important thing. We love our money, and when we’ve worked as hard as we have to get it we don’t want to let it get away because we simply didn’t write its information down.