Can You Lose Your Assets

Yes, assets can be lost if they are not properly documented.

There is a great opportunity to inventory what you own as you go through the estate planning process. Your attorney is your guide, and the architect, but you are the Trustor – the decision maker. It is so important to share, with your attorney, the information about ALL of your assets, and ALL of your intentions. Then, from time to time, as you update your estate plan, you can update your asset list. We recommend that you discuss “how” to get your assets titled correctly, and keeping track of what you have, with your attorney.

When the time comes for your successor Trustee to step up and do the job, you may not be able to update your list yourself, as you may be incapacitated or dead. As an example, you may have a life insurance policy from a previous employer, which you never added to your asset list. There is no way for your successor to find it, as there is no central registry to check. This policy is not unclaimed property, and you have no documentation in your home for your successor to find. This is why you are encouraged to start now. Consider the jewelry you own, anything in your safe deposit box, and anything you feel has value, especially any cryptocurrency you may have.

Starting now, you can password protect an electronic spreadsheet (don’t forget to write down the password…) and start with your vehicle, your home, and any personal property assets you are concerned about. Here are some sample column headers and descriptions:

Description of item (vehicle, financial account, home, etcFamily Car – Toyota, Van, 2005Home
Location of ItemGarage at home123 Main Street
Date Item was added to this list12/13/2021Fred and Wila Rockstone, Trustees of the Rockstone Trust
How Item is TitledWife is co-owner, 50%No co-owner
Any Co-Owner on this asset? Who and what percentage?$15,000 – Kelly Blue Book Value450,000, no mortgage, value from real estate site
Who would like to receive this item at your deathAFter seond of us dies, it can be sold, proceeds to beneficiariesHome can be sold, proceeds to beneficiaries

If you don’t yet have an estate plan, please consider making the appointment with the attorney for next month, then start working on your list. If you already have an estate plan, ask your attorney about the best way to keep your personal property list in relation to how your document has been written. It is good practice to bring current financial statements to your attorney, along with your list

Marguerite Lorenz, CTFA, CLPF is a Master Trustee and a Managing Partner at Lorenz Private Trustees ( and has served as a Trustee and Executor since 2003.

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