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Having Peace of Mind

December’s blog focuses on estate management and the important documents you need to have readily available in case of an emergency. At Sterling Financial Management, we strive to help you, our clients, as much as we can with all financial aspects of your life from college planning to retirement planning, from investments to Social Security and Medicare. As part of our relationship with you, we also want to make sure you have other important pieces in place, such as a will, beneficiary forms, life insurance and power of attorney.

Thus, we created a Peace of Mind Checklist and binder to keep you organized with these vital documents for when a major life event occurs, such as the birth of a child, a new job, buying a home, retiring or a death in the family. The checklist is broken up into eight sections that list the necessary documents you should have at your fingertips.

At our Holiday Open House this year, clients will receive a complimentary Peace of Mind Binder when they stop by either the Hagerstown office on December 9th or the Frederick office on December 16th.

Here is a list of the important pieces you need to have to manage your estate and include in your binder:

  1. Important Contacts: A complete list with the name and phone number of your financial advisor, accountant, insurance agent, attorney, etc.

  2. General Items: Important documents such as birth certificates, marriage or divorce papers and Social Security cards.

  3. Investment Documents: Statements for retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, annuities, 529 College Savings plans and beneficiary forms for these accounts.

  4. Insurance Documents: Health insurance, life insurance policies, mortgage insurance and long-term care insurance.

  5. Personal Financial Documents: This section may contain a lot of different pieces, such as an inventory of valuable items, recent tax returns, outstanding loans, mortgage documents, rental and/or lease agreements and property records.

  6. Bank/Credit Documents: Savings and/or checking account information and credit card statements.

  7. Emergency Documents: Specific instructions in case you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself, such as a living will, power of attorney and health care proxy.

  8. Final Arrangements: File your will, burial instructions, funeral home information, charitable donation instructions, etc. here. You may also want to include a letter for your beneficiaries outlining your wishes.

Getting your estate in order and putting all the necessary paperwork in the right place will not only make things easier for your family in case of an emergency but also give you some peace of mind as well!


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