The main reason you establish a living trust is to make things easy for your loved ones. There is one thing you can do to make sure things go easy, and it’s free. What is it?
Make a list of your assets and place the list in your estate planning binder. This should only take about 30 minutes to prepare.
When we meet with a client to do the trust administration when a parent or spouse has died, in many cases, most of the work involves identifying the assets. What did the deceased person own? It can involve rummaging through desk drawers, computer files and safe deposit boxes – a real hassle.
Things go so much smoother if there is a simple spreadsheet listing each asset, financial institution or insurance company, account number and approximate value. You can update this list each year. And you can keep it private. You don’t have to reveal it to your beneficiaries if you don’t want to. But you do want whoever will be administering your estate (your successor trustee) to have access to it when you pass away.