Do You Have or Know Where to Find
(Without Asking Your Spouse)...
YES or NO
Your birth certificate?
Your spouse's birth certificate?
Birth certificates for each child?
Your marriage license or certificate?
Divorce decrees or death certificates regarding
any prior marriage?
Records showing title to the family real estate
and the cost basis adjusted for improvements
Real and personal property tax receipts?
Income tax returns for the past four years?
Title to your cemetery lot or mausoleum, if any?
Titles to automobiles, boats, motors, etc?
Your social security number?
Your spouse's social security number?
Social security numbers of each of your children?
Where your spouse keeps life insurance policies?
A list of the life insurance policies on your
spouse's life, including group insurance?
The face value (less loans) on all insurance on your
spouse's life on January 1 of this year?
The name and address of the life insurance agent
for your spouse?
The premiums, due dates, and beneficiary designations
on life insurance?
Similar information on life insurance on your life
and the lives of your children?
What medical, accident, and health insurance your
The nature, coverage's, premiums, and due dates on all
property and liability insurance?
The name and address of the insurance broker
who handles your casualty insurance?
The life, accident, health and other group
insurance from your spouse's (or your) employment?
The amount of social security benefits you and your
children will receive upon your spouse's death?
A list of any benefits to which you, your spouse
or your children my be entitled, based upon your spouse's
military service, or corporate stock options?
The market value of your separate assets on January 1
of this year?
The market value of your spouse's assets on January 1
of this year?
The market value on January 1 of this year of all real
estate, stocks, corporate bonds, government bonds,
and other property owned with your spouse (or anyone)
in any form of joint ownership?
The location and number of any safe deposit box in your
spouse's name, your name or joint names?
The location of the keys to the safe deposit box and the
parties who have access thereto and the passwords, if any?
All family bank accounts, including the banks, the
titles of the accounts, and the persons who have powers
Where your spouse's Will is kept?
The contents of your spouse's Will, including the name
of the personal representative?
Whether you have a power of appointment under your
spouse's Will or any other instrument?
The name and address of the attorney who drew the
Will or should represent the estate?
(You should know
her or him personally.)
The name and address of the accountant whom your
spouse employs on personal affairs?
The name and address of the preparer of your tax
Your spouse's principal banking contact?
The names of the stockbrokers you and your spouse use?
The approximate family income for the fast year?
Your spouse's various business interests, including
percentage of ownership, rights upon death or the death
of an associate, and whether such businesses are operated
as corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorship?
The desires of your spouse, and you, for the
disposition of any closely held business?
Do You and Your Spouse Have...
YES or NO
At least $1,000,000 of liability coverage on your
Up-to-date beneficiary provisions on life insurance
that have been reviewed within the last three years?
Current Wills (or Wills and Trusts)? This includes:
Have they been reviewed in the past two to
three years or since new circumstances have arisen?
Currently acceptable personal representatives,
trustees, and testamentary guardians named in
An estate plan that has considered taking advantage
of the marital deduction if gross family assets,
including life insurance and joint property, exceed
An estate plan which has considered gifts to your
children to minimize your income and estate taxes,
finance their education, and start building their estate?
Fire insurance on your home and contents that has been
checked within the last two years for the amount of
coverage and the type of policy?
An appraisal or listing of your tangible personal
An appropriate amount of insurance on your jewelry,
furs, an art objects based on recent appraisals?
Adequate personal and household liability insurance?
Knowledge of the possible gift tax liability for your
home, bank account, securities or other assets placed
in your joint names?
Complete understanding and acceptance of one another's
0 -12 "YES": Terrible. Don't sit there. Rush to your spouse and demand answers.
13 - 22 "YES": Average. That doesn't mean "good." You need more information quickly!!
23 - 32 "YES": Well above average, but you still know only about half of what you should know. Ask - soon!!
33 - 42 "YES": Remarkable. You are among the very best informed spouses, a fraction of 15 of the total.
43 - 52 "YES": Go to your spouse's office and take over. Hurry - you are better than he or she is.
If you are going through a divorce, or contemplating one ... go easy!!!
New York does not automatically give custody of children to any one parent. In deciding custody, the court only considers what is in the best interest of the child. It considers who gave primary care during the marriage, scheduled doctors' appointments, and attended school meetings. Generally, the court allows the non-custodial parent ample visitation with the child and even awards joint custody. Visitation is often only limited in circumstances where there is abuse.
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