“You can’t take it with you –

– but you wouldn’t want someone to take it from you!"

This is how Saturday’s WSJ’s Personal Finance column on "paperless world" ends.  Many folks tout the trend to a paperless office, let alone world. While I previously wrote a contrarian perspective of the paperless office, one of the consequences of such a prospect that I did not mention can be that your heirs won’t know where to look for your assets come time of need (your death).

Today, not only did I read this WSJ column, but my wife also paid her credit card bill by going on-line, typing a few key words and authorizing payment from her bank account. No paper trail; no paper; and no tracking should I or anyone else need to know.  In fact, I wouldn’t even know how to get into her account!

The article suggests that, even in a paperless world, some things need to be written on paper … A "map of your assets" should include the location of safe deposit boxes, information on banking, brokerage and insurance accounts and, perhaps most important, a list of advisers such as lawyer, accountant and insurance agent.

DO NOT put this information on your computer where hackers can get it. DO write it down and place the writing in a safe place, but one where people will think to look.

Perhaps the most important result of the article is to suggest that it is important to think about what can be on-line and what should be in writing!


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