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Building an Estate “Grab ‘n Go” Book

By Mary Benzinger, Army Legal Assistance Attorney, Pentagon Army and Air Force Legal Assistance Office, Washington, D.C.

If you passed away, would your friends or relatives know where to find your important estate planning documents? Just imagine how stressful it would be for them to search your home for hours looking for these papers.

One solution is to create a “Grab ‘n Go” book. Start with an inexpensive spiral notebook and label the spine “Estate Notebook” or something similar. Consider putting in it a copy of your will. Write on the copy where the original Will is located so it can be found quickly. Add a copy of any of letters of instruction (for example a list of persons or organizations to notify of your death). You can also include copies of beneficiary designations for your financial accounts and insurance. Also add a list of financial institutions (banks, brokerages, creditors, insurance companies) you deal with on a regular basis so your executor knows to send these institutions death certificates. If you’ve contracted for funeral arrangements, a copy of that contract should be included.

Now put it someplace obvious and easy to find in your home then tell your friends and family members where it is. They’ll thank you for having this information neatly available.

Next time: How to build a medical “Grab ‘n Go” Book

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Active duty or retired Servicemembers and their ID card holder Family Members may be eligible for free legal assistance. To find a legal assistance office near you, call your nearest military installation or go to http://legalassistance.law.af.mil/content/locator.php.