Too often, people never look at their insurance policies, annuities or IRA's after they are purchased.  We are finding more and more cases where a problem is not discovered until after the death of the owner.  This makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to correct the problem.

One such problem occurs when a policy has been used as collateral for a loan to an individual or bank.  If the lender did not issue a release, the insurance company cannot pay to the beneficiary until a release is obtained.  This creates real problems for the beneficiary, especially in cases where the bank has merged or changed names or where the individual assignee is not available or is uncooperative.

Another problem occurs because of a little fact that people either don't realize or they forget.  If an instrument requires a beneficiary designation, that is an indication that any value therein will bypass probate.  Changing your will does not automatically change beneficiary designations.  


In the event of a missing child, it is urgent that you have quick access to a child ID that can be used by law enforcement, media and volunteers.  It doesn’t have to have a specific format, but should include a few basic items and it needs to be concise enough so that you can always have it available such as in a wallet or purse.  Following are a few recommendations for a complete child ID:

Use a card the size of a credit card and include the child’s (1) name, (2) Date of birth, (3) Gender, (4) Height and Weight and date the measurements were updated, (5) Hair color, (6) Parent’s contact information and (7) Photo.  You should make copies for grandparents or other relatives or friends who might be traveling with the child. 

For further identification, it is a good idea to have fingerprints and hair sample or other DNA samples.  Check with your local law enforcement office to see if they prepare child ID kits.  Or, you can obtain an inkless fingerprint ID kit prepared by the National Child Identification Program through the products page of this website.

Number 7 on the list!

Jul 21 2010 |

CBS has a website called MoneyWatch, the goal of which is "to help you understand the economic world around you and to make better decisions about your money."

Kate Ashford wrote a terrific article entitled,  "8 Steps to Protect Your Family,"  which was a quick and logical how-to about estate planning.   

Step #7 was entitled,  "Organize Your Paperwork."    Kate wrote, "Do you know where your tax returns, insurance policies, brokerage and 401(k) statements, and mortgage paperwork are? If you’re not sure, you can bet your loved ones won’t be able to find them when they need to, plunging them into estate-settling hell. Put everything together in one place and then tell your spouse or closest family member where that is. Aside from the documents mentioned above, also include: your Social Security and health insurance/Medicare cards, plus contact information for your doctors, lawyers and accountants."

In one succinct paragraph,  Kate perfectly described the concept behind The Legacy Drawer®.  It's such a logical solution to estate planning practices,  we wonder why we didn't launch our website sooner!

For Kate's complete article,   click here.

Are you ready?

Jun 10 2010 |

 We see it in the news much too often...a family is devastated when Mother Nature strikes...hurricane, tornado, hail, flood etc.   The truth is,  we can't prevent bad weather, but we can prepare ourselves if and when we may need to survive on our own after a disaster.   The answer is simple, and the solution is very yourselves a DRK...disaster recovery kit!  Here's the basic contents, as recommended by FEMA,  the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Three-day supply of water - one gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Portable, battery-powered radio or television and extra batteries.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • First aid kit and manual.
  • Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes and toilet paper).
  • Matches and waterproof container.
  • Whistle.
  • Extra clothing.
  • Kitchen accessories and cooking utensils, including a can opener.
  • Cash and coins.
  • Special needs items, such as prescription medications, eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid batteries.
  • Items for infants, such as formula, diapers, bottles, and pacifiers.
  • Photocopies of credit and ID cards.
    All articles above are intended to help you and your family deal with the aftermath of a disaster.  Note that FEMA recommends you have copies of credit and ID cards.   Good advice;  however,  with a copy of The Legacy Drawer binder in your disaster recover kit,  you and your family will be totally prepared to deal with the follow-up action needed following a disaster of any kind.

    Be safe with tips from FEMA.  Be ready for the aftermath....with The Legacy Drawer binder.

It CAN happen to you

May 28 2010 |

A few months ago,  I was assisting a family following the death of a husband and father.  Even though his illness had lasted several years,  and the end was certain,  he had never taken the time to organize his information that the family would require immediately following his death.   Needless to say,   the family was devastated, and his wife was completely lost and grief-stricken.    It took almost a year for her to settle his estate,  and she was emotionally exhausted.    If the husband had helped his family organize their information with the help of The Legacy Drawer document organizer or some similar device,  his wife  would have been spared the tremendous stress caused by not knowing what to do.

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