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Investing Specialists

How to Create a Master Directory

Creating and maintaining this simple document can save you and your loved ones a lot of time and headaches.

Note: This article is part of Morningstar's September 2016 Retirement Matters Week special report. A version of this article appeared on April 18, 2016.

A financial planner I know has a business that might best be described as "financial reconnaissance." For a fee, she'll sift through and put order to the financial documents of a person who has died or become incapacitated. She'll track down the person's financial accounts and document all of the assets. She'll save relevant paperwork and toss out or shred those documents that are unnecessary. She'll have valuables appraised. Depending on the complexity of the situation, her "cases" can take weeks or even months.

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