Several years ago, a client approached us and asked for help. She was worried that if something happened to her it would be difficult for her family to organize her affairs and close her estate. To further complicate her situation, she had only one child who lived out of state. In response to her needs, we created the Financial VaultTM, a comprehensive review and electronic archival of her complete financial and legal picture. We captured all of her sources of income, expenses, assets, liabilities, legal documents and other important information. Not only does the service provide peace of mind resulting from getting financially organized, but also from the fact that we have a complete duplicate inventory that is stored in secure, encrypted files. If home damage occurs from flood or fire, we have a complete record of everything.
So how does the Financial VaultTM process work in detail? The first step involves completing a full personal profit and loss statement (budget). We capture all sources of income such as earned income, pensions, social security, and rental income. We also capture expenses, including all monthly bills, insurance, real estate taxes, and any other costs. For items that occur semi-annually or annually, we adjust those amounts to a pro-rated monthly figure so we have a comprehensive budget that includes those one-off items. We collect and scan copies of all paper accounts for income and expenses, and inventory any online account information. The next step involves compiling a personal balance sheet (net worth statement) that captures all assets and liabilities. Assets include cash and investments, real estate, business interests, and personal property. Liabilities include any debts, outstanding loans or mortgages. Again, we complete a full snapshot and calculate personal net worth, in addition to taking inventory of all paper and online accounts. As part of the service, we also provide an overview that shows the asset allocation of all investment accounts. This ensures that the client is on track to meet their financial goals based on their situation and prevailing economic and market conditions. Basic asset titling is one of the most important aspects of estate planning, so we review how each account and real estate deed is titled in addition to making sure beneficiaries are current. Generally, we recommend using TOD (Transfer on Death) and POD (Payable on Death) features on investment and bank accounts. To complete the Financial VaultTM, we conduct a full inventory of important legal documents, and will refer clients to their attorney if needed. These documents normally include a Will, Living Will, Health Proxy, Trust Agreement and Power of Attorney. We list any important contacts and, if desired, last wishes information and letters.
Several clients have taken advantage of the Financial VaultTM. This year, we have added a new feature where, in addition to the personal p&l, balance sheet, asset allocation and legal inventory, clients receive two flash drives with encrypted copies of all the files and documents we have scanned. So now you have three protected sources – any paper files you have at home, the secure Financial VaultTM with Pawleys Investment Advisors that houses duplicate digital copies, and your own electronic safe. Please e-mail us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. It’s time to fill your Financial VaultTM and give yourself peace of mind!