Your Amazing Itty Bitty® “Before” Financial Checklist

This book is helpful if you:

  • Are starting to assist your aging parents
  • Are 50+ and thinking about the second half of your life
  • Never want to cause your family additional financial stress
  • Want to get your financial house in order
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Step 6

Homework: What’s in a Name?

How you name/hold title to your assets, can significantly impact how they are treated after your death. Spending some time with your legal advisor to review the title of each asset on your Net Worth Statement, is an important discussion.

  1. You need to decide where you want each asset or account to go after you are gone.
  2. Then your legal advisor can help you advise the best way to title each asset so it gets there with the least cost and/or delay.
  3. In general, a beneficiary designation on an account bypasses probate and allows that account or policy balance to go directly to the beneficiary.
  4. An attorney licensed in your state of residence and who specializes in estate planning is the best resource for getting this advice because each state can have different laws.

Ways to Title Assets and Bypass the Additional Cost/Delay of Probate—THIS IS WHERE MOST PEOPLE FAIL! 

  • Joint with rights of survivorship ownership on non-retirement assets
  • Payable on Death (POD) designation on bank accounts: savings, money market, CDs
  • Transfer on Death (TOD) designation on non-retirement accounts: individual or jointly held stock, mutual fund, and/or bond accounts
  • Transfer on Death (TOD) designation on a home, vehicle or property, also called a beneficiary deed
  • Title the asset in the name of a trust
  • Name primary and contingent beneficiaries on retirement accounts, annuities and life insurance policies (naming your estate as a beneficiary will NOT bypass probate)

Remember, a beneficiary designation is like a mini-will on each account. Each account will get distributed to the beneficiary on that account and it will never go to your will for distribution (unless your estate is listed as beneficiary but then it goes through probate first!), so keep beneficiary designations current and use Trust, TOD or POD in the account titling as recommended by your estate planning attorney.

For more on this chapter and other steps to take before a major life event happens, check out my book the “Before” Financial Checklist: 15 Important Actions to Complete Before the Loss of a Loved One, available on Amazon.


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This book is small but jam-packed with so much useful information if you are over 50, approaching retirement or helping aging parents prepare. There is an easy way to transition and a hard way. This book is a guide to the easy way.

Diane Markins / Amazon Reviewer

So much great information in this book! It really does take you step-by-step and guides you on how to plan for these unfortunate events. It’s short and sweet but gives you all the information you need, even things you would never think about needing to do. I even purchased a few of them for my friends who are helping their aging parents.

Marcia B / Amazon Reviewer

Your Amazing Itty Bitty® “After” Financial Checklist

This book is helpful if you:

  • Are thinking ahead regarding your own estate
  • Have lost a spouse, parent, friend, or other family member
  • Are aware of a terminal condition and trying to prepare for what’s to come
  • Are unsure about what is involved after the loss of a loved one and want to become more aware
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Step 11

The First Month: Miscellaneous “To Dos”

  1. Go to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to cancel driver’s license and transfer vehicle title.
  2. Notify the Registrar of Voters.
  3. Cancel any medication prescriptions, print subscriptions, and memberships.
  4. Delete online personal accounts: email, social media, business sites, etc., to avoid fraud or identity theft. Procedures for each will vary.
  5. Send out acknowledgements for cards, donations, etc., if you’ve decided that is something you want to do. This can also be delayed until a time that you are ready and able to tackle this project.
  6. Contact the Post Office with forwarding information, if necessary.
  7. Cancel all services no longer needed, i.e. phone, internet, cable, etc.

Marie has provided two amazingly simple, but well- defined booklets that answer the BIG questions for many who are anticipating, or have lost a loved one. I found them insightful because they took what felt like giant fears of “unknown tasks,” out of my journey as a new widow.

Doreen Hanna / Founder, It’s A New Day Widow’s Ministry

This is a great guide to addressing all those important details in a loved ones financial history. You will be glad you have this book to help you through it.

Jeannine Hurrish / Amazon Reviewer

Getting Financially Organized

This book is helpful if you:

  • Are trying to get your financial records organized and up-to-date
  • Want to make sure your documents accurately reflect your wishes
  • Want to ensure a shorter, less stressful and often less costly process for your family
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and then there was one

Book by Charlotte Fox

Guidelines for End-of-Life Preparedness

A comprehensive step-by-step workbook to promote conversation, express your wishes, ease transition, and protect your survivors when a loved one dies. This 264-page workbook provides over 70 fill-in-the-blank forms to prepare your estate plan before and after the loss. Help protect your survivors so they have all the information necessary to effectuate your estate upon your death.

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