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Apparently No Bank Of America Safe Deposit Box Customers Have Ever Died Before

Last fall, Jay’s mother died after a heart procedure. We’re very sorry for his loss, but also very sorry that her death meant that he has to deal with Bank of America. Before the procedure, she added him to her accounts as a signatory, not realizing that doing so didn’t give him access to her safe-deposit box. Going through probate in order to get the documents he needs to access the box will cost more than $1,000. What’s inside? No one knows. Certainly not Jay, even though he’s the executor of his mom’s estate and her only heir. It could be a copy of her will, or it could be stacks of gold bullion.  [More]

When You Plan Out Your Will, Be Prepared To Play Favorites

When You Plan Out Your Will, Be Prepared To Play Favorites

Life isn’t fair, and neither is death. When you sit down to plan out your demise, you’ll most likely find yourself picking and choosing among your descendants to give the better stuff to whom you deem to be the most worthy and competent. [More]

Is There Any Good Software For Writing My Own Will?

Is There Any Good Software For Writing My Own Will?

We should all have some sort of document that details who gets what after we die, but should we be paying big bucks to some lawyer to write said document when there are websites and applications that can help you do it yourself for significantly less money? [More]

Things To Put In Your "I'm Dead" Folder"

Things To Put In Your "I'm Dead" Folder"

Besides the usual will, investment account information, and the truth about your secret crime-fighting identity, one thing you’ll want to put in your “When I’m Dead” folder is contact information for key helpers and vendors, writes Karin Price Mueller over at Second Act. This is info for people like your accountant, attorneys, financial advisers, gardeners and home security folk. It will really help out who is managing your affairs after you’ve passed. [More]

What Should I Know To Provide For My Family After I Die?

What Should I Know To Provide For My Family After I Die?

While everyone should have their financial and legal affairs in order in case of sudden and untimely death, reader Charlie has to worry about this much too early in his life. He’s been told that he has only a few years to live, and wants to begin planning now to make his passing easier on his family and to provide for them. [More]

How Do You Pick An Executor For Your Estate?

How Do You Pick An Executor For Your Estate?

When you’re putting a will together, choosing the executor can be a touchy subject. [More]

Elderly Woman Evicted From Home Due To Deed Mix-Up

Elderly Woman Evicted From Home Due To Deed Mix-Up

An elderly woman in Kansas City was forced out of her longtime home this week because of a deed mixup. No, Bank of America didn’t foreclose on her by mistake. Why are her belongings on the lawn? The situation dates back to 1998, when her friend and roommate, the owner of the house, died without properly transferring the deed. A probate battle ensued. Now a real estate company owns the house, and has offered to sell it for $60,000. They paid $13,000 at auction. [More]

What's The Best Way To Help Manage A Relative's Finances Without Jeopardizing Your Own?

What's The Best Way To Help Manage A Relative's Finances Without Jeopardizing Your Own?

A tipster wants to know whether adding his name to his mother’s accounts will open him up to credit issues should something go wrong. [More]

Things You Don't Need To Buy For A New Baby

Things You Don't Need To Buy For A New Baby

Cameron Huddleston, an editor at Kiplinger and a mom, has some advice on how to make the most of your new baby budget. The money you save on things like play mats, changing tables, and fancy first-year clothes can be used to pay for less pleasant but more important safety-net things, like life and disability insurance, health insurance, and a will. [More]

Websites Offer After Death Services For Your Online Life

Websites Offer After Death Services For Your Online Life

If you don’t want all your various online accounts left unattended when you permanently go off the grid, you can now hire several different services to clean up any loose ends–closing accounts, sharing passwords with survivors, transferring gaming accounts, and so on. Wired says they cost anywhere from $10 a year to $300 for a lifetime account, although after reading about this you may find it’s cheaper and more efficient to just add the necessary info to your will. [More]

Lawyer Pleads Case Of Why You Should Avoid Will Kits

Lawyer Pleads Case Of Why You Should Avoid Will Kits

Florida lawyer Lesly Carmen Longa objects to will kits, free or otherwise.

Let Digital Version of Suze Orman Plan Your Demise For Free

Let Digital Version of Suze Orman Plan Your Demise For Free

Shrill, savvy financial guru Suze Orman is giving away downloads of the will and trust kit she hawks. Just type in the code 898989 (blogger Kelly Whalen spotted the freebie) and you’ll be on your way to dictating your financial goals from beyond the grave.

Estate Planning Lessons from Michael Jackson

Estate Planning Lessons from Michael Jackson

Let’s face it, Michael Jackson had a spotty record when it came to managing his money. Sure, he earned a gazillion dollars making music and was savvy enough to buy rights to Beatles’ tunes, but in his latter days he also spent lavishly, millions more than his annual income, and he racked up a sizeable debt. In other words, you wouldn’t want him as your financial advisor.

Four Financial Tools All New Parents Need

Four Financial Tools All New Parents Need

The baby’s on the way! You’ve got a crib, toys, and a rapidly approaching delivery date. So what else you do need? Kiplinger shares the four must-have financial tools that no new parent should go without…

Update Your Will After Major Life Events

Update Your Will After Major Life Events

When a new baby arrives, there’s not much time to do anything extra, but if you have a will you should review it and update it as necessary. The Associated Press is reporting that “Heath Ledger’s will leaves nothing to his former girlfriend and their 2-year-old daughter because it was never updated after they became part of his life.”

57% Of Americans Don't Have Wills

57% Of Americans Don't Have Wills

A new Bankrate national poll says that 57% of Americans don’t have wills, even though 76% of respondents said they considered it an important thing to have. This writer doesn’t have a will, but then again, I don’t have kids, and my “heirlooms” are all made by consumer electronic companies. What about people with offspring? It’s even worse: 69% of parents with kids under the age of 18 don’t have wills, even though 88% of them say it’s important.

Set Up Your Own Funeral Trust

Set Up Your Own Funeral Trust

Don’t set up an irrevocable funeral trust through your insurance company, says MarketWatch columnist Chuck Jaffe.

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Pets Are Cared For After You're Gone

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Pets Are Cared For After You're Gone

Earlier this month, the media reported that dead scary lady Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her dog, presumably to ensure that Trouble is well cared for, but also to be humorously cruel to the two grandchildren who got nothing. This inspired USA Today’s “Your Money” columnist Sandra Block to list 3 ways you can plan for your pet’s continued care after you go to “have tea with Mrs. Helmsley” (we don’t want to upset the children in the room).