Accidentally Hiding Your Assets From Your Kids | Estate Plan Pros
Accidentally Hiding Your Assets From Your Kids

Discover:Maintain

Most people I work with haven’t revealed a lot about their estate to their children.  And usually, there is no good reason to let your children know all the details about your financial matters.  But take a moment and step back – if something were to happen to you, how would your child, your successor trustee, your executor, know where to start?

If you have a trust in place, the first place to look is the trust property exhibit.  But that may not address life insurance policies, retirement benefits, and potentially assets acquired since the trust was created. 

You may intend that your children get “everything” when you’re gone, but unless there is a map to guide your children to where “everything” is, they may spend many frustrating hours searching through your house and paperwork to try and figure out what is there. 

How big of a problem is this?  In 2015, the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that California took in $400 million in income off of unclaimed assets.  They estimated that unclaimed property had become the fifth largest source of income for the state. 

Your children could lose a valuable life insurance policy because they had no idea it was there and didn’t get the premiums paid while you were incapacitated.

A bank account may just sit because there is nothing at home to indicate you have an account there.

To avoid these problems create, and more importantly, maintain, a list of where things are.  Opening a new bank account?  Add it to the list.  Closing an account?  Update the list.  Company changing names?  Update the list.  Oh, and make sure your children know where the list is. 

If you think you might have unclaimed property, search the state's Unclaimed Asset Database.

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Erik Hartstrom

Erik is the founder of Estate Plan Pros, a leading estate planning practice in Elk Grove.  Erik’s practice focuses on Estate Planning Law. In Estate Planning, Erik works with clients to make the process simple, so clients can focus on more important things. He is a local authority for specialized estate planning instruments, like Special Needs Trust, Irrevocable Trusts, or other focused documents. Erik has litigated, negotiated, and mediated the gamut of family law cases. With this unique perspective as a family law and estate attorney he can often spot issues otherwise overlooked. Prior to graduating he worked as a legislative analyst for a non-profit organization, and volunteered as a youth counselor. Erik currently participates in local politics and is an active member of his local church. Erik is very happily married and has two young sons. Together, his family loves to get outdoors and enjoy the varied activities the Sacramento region has to offer.


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