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Estate Planning: Your Family, Your Wealth, Your Legacy.

If you are married or in a relationship, it’s likely that one of your “to-do’s” this month is to show the “special someone” in your life just how much you care.

But before you hit the closest Tiffany’s or spring for an embarrassing display of roses, may I suggest giving something truly unique and heart-felt.

And while it may be paid for in dollars, it is a gift that’s truly priceless and will hold deep meaning and value for generations to come.

So what is this ultimate gift of love?

Estate planning!

There is simply no better way to show your loved ones just how much you care about their well-being and security, now and forever more, than to get your financial and legal house in order.

By doing so, you are telling your significant other, “I want to make sure you are taken care of…. physically, financially and emotionally, no matter what life throws our way. I want to make sure the courts, federal government or disgruntled relatives never get in the way of my wishes for you. 
I want to protect you today, tomorrow and long after I am gone by means of this gift.”

If that doesn’t express true and forever love, I don’t know what else does.

National Estate Planning Awareness Week (October 20th-26th, 2014) is a great time to discuss with your love one your estate planning plans. It’s protection and peace of mind that your family will cherish forever

Advice on Safe Deposit Boxes

Once you’ve gone through the estate planning process, you’ve likely become aware of just what valuables you have. In many cases, such as jewelry, you may want to keep them in your home so you can have access to them whenever you would like. In other cases, though, it makes sense to secure them in a safe deposit box at a bank.

The types of items one chooses to keep in a safety deposit box can vary, but here are some common ones:

· Birth certificates
· Marriage certificates
· Social Security card
· Copy of your will
· Copies of degrees and professional licenses
· Copies of divorce or separation papers
· Military records
· Deeds, titles, and insurance for real estate
· Deeds, title, and insurance for vehicles
· Valuable assets you don’t need to access (jewelry, coins, guns, etc.)
· Stock certificates and bonds
· Business documents

The safe deposit box is intended to keep your important items somewhere secure, but there are some that you need to access more easily than through a trip to the bank.

Access to Your Safe Deposit Box

For obvious reasons, access to your safe deposit is strictly limited. If you want to make it accessible to another person, you’ll have to have them accompany you to the bank so that the proper ID can be shown and they can sign a signature card. This usually means that he or she now has access to your safe deposit box at any time.

You may be able to limit the access by foregoing the trip to the bank and naming the person as an executor of your trust. When the time comes, he or she can take the appropriate documentation to the bank and be granted access. This may require a certified copy of your death certificate along with the individual’s own identification.

As you can imagine, there are some documents that need to be accessed immediately if you should become incapacitated or deceased. It is typically of utmost importance for medical directives and guardianships of minor children to be produced, for example. Because it can take a fair amount of time to obtain these things from a safe deposit box, an alternate plan needs to be in place.

Keeping copies in your safe deposit box is still a good idea; however, to ensure that your documents are readily accessible but protected in case of some sort of catastrophic event (like a house fire), I recommend storage in a fire proof box in your home. You will also benefit from talking directly to the employees at your bank to fully understand their policies regarding access to your safety deposit box in the event of your death.

If you would like further information or assistance, please contact Antoinette Bone at (817) 462-5454 or e-mail info@abonelaw.com.

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