Ask The Expert: Estate Planning

Ask The Expert: Estate Planning

Greg Jensen with OptionsANIMAL, an investment education firm, discusses estate planning and retirement investment options.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Retirement planning, and estate planning isn't as easy as it used to be. Our financial lives, which have migrated online, have made paper account statements a thing of the past. Now, when people die without disclosing their financial affairs to anyone, there is often no paper trail for heirs to follow. What are your passwords, what are your answers to "secret" questions that only you know, and even more basic...what accounts do you even have?

This could include of course bank accounts, IRA's, that old 401(k) from a previous job, credit cards, brokerage accounts, etc.... You may know all of these accounts, but does your spouse? Maybe. But what if both of you die in an accident? Then who? How do your kids find what you even have?

As it seems with every answer when it comes to finances, you have to plan in order to succeed here. This problem is new and will definitely have its shares of challenges. These may include lack of privacy, trust, and even identity theft.


A general rule first - Keep it simple, but make sure you do it. The way I invest is very planned out and methodical. There is a reason for this. Planning helps alleviate confusion and panic when crisis is present. This applies to retirement planning as well as investing decisions.

The first solution could be to have a financial advisor to handle this for you. This is a costly step, but one that could put the paper work on someone else's plate.

On the other hand, you may be more like me and be inclined to do it yourself when it comes to financial and investing matters. If that is the case, let me give you a couple of ideas that may help insure this process works.

1. Make a list of all of your accounts. This includes websites, login info, secret question answers and passwords. Keep this in a safe place. DON'T stick it to the fridge.

2. Send the list to someone you trust. The executor of your will or estate plan would likely make the most sense here. The key thing here is trust. This is a touchy one. It reminds of a story in the news recently of the 90 year old man evicted from his home by his daughter. In the end, if you don't trust anyone here, then don't count on your heirs finding it.

3. Let others know who has your keys to the digital financial kingdom. In other words, make it part of your estate plan/ or will.

Watch ABC 4 Utah at 4 p.m. every Tuesday for more financial planning ideas and advice from Greg Jensen with OptionsANIMAL or Travis McGhee with FuturesANIMAL. You can submit questions to Greg and Travis at's Ask The Expert page.
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