Estate planning treasure map to leave your loved ones

As a California estate attorney since 1994 I have planned thousands of estates with people during their lives and, likewise, dealt with thousands of estates after death in trust administration and also in the California probate process.  Years ago I started calling the schedule of assets, that is often attached to a living trust, a treasure map.

I would tell clients to make the schedule of assets as detailed as possible as it is what your loved ones will follow when you aren’t around.  It’s how they find the assets just like the pirate and the treasure map would!

As the years went on, and in particular after a good friend had a heart attack at about age 50, I started encouraging clients to leave in more detail for their loved ones. If you drop dead today how will your spouse or partner pay the mortgage tomorrow?  Heck, other than cash at the ATM and a credit card does he or she, pay anything!?  Let me backup to that night. I recall it vividly. My friend’s wife called me, it was a Saturday night about 9:00, and she said, “he had a heart attack… I don’t know where our money is or anything.” She was in COMPLETE SHOCK AND PANIC!

I was reading through my blogs I enjoy and I came across this one today. Jim Wang is a long time blogger on financial matters. I actually subscribe to Jim’s emails as I find he often has helpful ideas and concepts to help people with financial planning, early retirement, and other such matters.  Today’s blog is entitled DO YOU HAVE A TREASURE MAP?  Here is the link to his excellent post.

I actually do exactly what he talks about. I have an Excel spreadsheet that lists assets, anticipated income, etc…. I also have a Word document that gets in details like who is the Realtor to call to sell our house.

I should tell you that Jim’s website is called and is truly an excellent resource. I encourage you to peruse it as you will find a ton of useful information. Here is that link!

I should end, just as Jim does in this blog post, UPDATE YOUR MAP!

Best wishes!

-John Palley


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