My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humour/sarcasm. You've been warned. Please note the blog posts are time sensitive and subject to changes in legislation or law.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Best of The Blunt Bean Counter - Where are Your Assets?

This summer I am posting the "best of" The Blunt Bean Counter blog while I work on my golf game. Today, I am re-posting a February, 2011 post on where are your assets? It was probably my shortest blog post ever, but the message is succinct. Get your ass-ests in gear. Make sure you have a list of everything you own so that you do not leave your spouse and family a financial mess.

Where are Your Assets?

If you died tomorrow, would your family and advisors know where your assets are and what assets you owned?

I would suggest the answer in 50% or more cases would be a resounding no.

If you have answered no, take this one step further; consider the havoc you will cause your family and executors. They will be distressed having to deal with your passing, now you are compounding their stress by forcing them to deal with an estate when they have no clue what assets you own, what debts you have outstanding or where the assets are held. Most likely they will not have a duplicate safety deposit key or even know where your safety deposit box(es) is/are.

Whether you are just negligent or lazy, your actions are selfish and you should immediately take steps to rectify the situation.

All this can be averted very simply. Take a weekend and complete a personal information checklist (there are several on the Internet) and then put a reminder in your phone or Outlook calendar to review this checklist each year to ensure there are no changes.

Once completed, consider providing a copy of the checklist to your spouse, your accountant, lawyer or trusted third party. In any event, at minimum, put a final copy in your safety deposit box and ensure either your spouse of another person is aware of the location of the safety deposit box and the key.

I have on many occasions seen the aftermath of situations where a spouse has not provided a list of assets. It is not pretty and I am sure if you take a moment to ponder this, you do not want to leave your family in a similar situation. So, get to it and make a list! 

Bloggers Note: A couple years after writing the original post, I was told of a story of a well-to-do couple on vacation that got caught up in a natural disaster area. They ended up safe; but before they felt that security, they were trying frantically trying to call and inform their family what assets they had and where they were. I think this sums the theme of my post, just be prepared and if you get caught up in a natural disaster, worry about saving yourself, not telling your family where your assets are :)

This site provides general information on various tax issues and other matters. The information is not intended to constitute professional advice and may not be appropriate for a specific individual or fact situation. It is written by the author solely in their personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which they are affiliated. It is not intended to constitute professional advice, and neither the author nor the firm with which the author is associated shall accept any liability in respect of any reliance on the information contained herein. Readers should always consult with their professional advisors in respect of their particular situation.

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