Checking In On Your Resolutions – #2

Last week we started our check on our resolutions and we will wrap up our suggestions this week.

ARE YOUR HARD-EARNED ASSETS WORKING FOR YOU?  If you have a savings account or certificates of deposit, are you getting the best interest possible on these assets?  If you have a brokerage account, are your assets working to your best advantage?  When was the last time you spoke with your broker?  In today’s world, there are many discount brokerage firms, but if you have an account at one, you don’t receive the same advice as you would with a regular broker.  There isn’t anyone to guide you with where the best investments are, what investments will generate the most income, are less risky, etc.  If you have an IRA with a broker, it is a good idea to meet to discuss your goals to maximize the assets and meet the obligations of required minimum distributions.

ONLINE ASSETS – With each passing day, we rely more and more upon technology.  We shop, we do our banking, we perhaps do our taxes, socialize, follow favorite charities, sports teams, cultural postings, just to name a few – online.  We have computers, laptops, tablets, phones – all with the ability to handle our technological needs.   And along with this activity and array of devices, we have logins and passwords.  But, what happens if YOU are unable to access these devices or websites?  What is our exposure to fraudulent activity or identity theft?  You have heard it many times – change your passwords every six months, have strong passwords with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, don’t share your passwords, be careful in what you access using public wi-fi and the list goes on.  Some simple suggestions – store your login and password information securely – either using a secure password inventory program or perhaps on paper stored in a secure location.

Also, remember that you may own digital assets and should provide for accessibility to these assets in your estate planning documents.  Failure to do so may present problems when you are no longer able to do so.  Talk to your estate planning attorney to ensure your documents address these assets.

ARE YOU COVERED?  We purchase a home and get insurance which coverage is adequate at the time.  We buy a car and purchase insurance based upon the day we purchase the car.  We buy life insurance that is adequate for us at the time purchased.  But, life happens – market values of real estate change, we add on to our home, our car ages and we may not need the same coverage as the day it was new, we have a baby, a spouse passes, we divorce – all of which can change our insurance needs.  We suggest that you discuss with your insurance carriers whether you are adequately protected for your individual situations.  Unless you are proactive in this regard, the coverage does not change automatically and you may be paying more in premiums than necessary or may be underinsured.

STUFF – I started this two-part blog with “stuff” and my final item is “stuff”.  I offer you a simple challenge – close your eyes and pick a room in your home.  Go around that room and list EVERY item that is in the room from floor to ceiling, inside every drawer, on every shelf.  When you think you are finished, open your eyes and go look in that room.  You will most likely be surprised to spot items you didn’t list.  We can’t remember everything, so my suggestion is to either take a video or still pictures of your home inventory and store the images in a secure location.  In the unfortunate event that you have a disaster, you will be able to retrieve these images to assist with insurance claims. You will have enough to deal with without having to remember each and every item in your home.

I hope that these recent blogs will help you to determine what areas you should address.  It’s the third week in January and I hope you are staying on track with your resolutions.  If not, I have just given you some new ones to consider.

 

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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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