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While practicing social distancing and staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are given an opportunity to handle a few important tasks that may normally fall to the back burner.

The pandemic is a stark reminder of how important it is to be well prepared. In times of crisis, it’s vital to know the location of our documents and to ensure our finances and estate plans are as buttoned up as possible. Sadly, we also need to stay vigilant against identity theft and sophisticated scammers.

As we spend more time at home and with our family, it is the perfect time to organize our finances.

Here are five ideas to organize your finances, with resources to get you started:

1. Organize your important papers and list their locations to share with your personal representative and loved ones.

Whether you use a fireproof filing cabinet, an online storage vault, or both, having your important records organized and accessible is vital, especially in the case of an emergency.

If you haven’t set up your Key Wealth Direction private client vault and website, consider taking the time to do so. If you prefer to use a paper file cabinet, make sure it is fireproof and consider making digital copies (stored in an alternative location like a Safe Deposit Box) as a back-up. Make sure the right people have access to these files.

Resource: Five Easy Ways to Securely Store Documents with Key Wealth Direction® Vault

2. Set up or review your password management system.

While the digital world gives access to data in an instant, along with technological progress comes the need for strong layers of protection. Using a password management system, creating strong passwords and smart digital device management can go a long way toward ensuring your privacy and security.

Resource: Eight Steps to Protect Your Passwords and Digital Assets

3. Tackle the eight estate planning "to-dos" for high-net-worth individuals and their families or review what you have in place.

Estate planning can be a sensitive and complex topic for families to address, often causing people to delay implementation. Now is a great time to talk with your financial advisor, estate planning attorney and family about your wishes; designate a financial and healthcare power of attorney; and decide on and draft healthcare directives as a start.

Much of this work can be started via phone with your advisor and estate planning attorney.

Resources: Checklist: Eight Estate Planning To-Dos, Checklist: Legacy and Estate Planning

4. Review and update the beneficiaries on your retirement and bank accounts (if applicable).

As you know, most retirement plans, annuities and life insurance policies ask you to designate a beneficiary when you set up the account. The problem is, many times people don’t review them once they are in place. Circumstances change, so it’s important to review who will receive your accounts in the event of your death.

The process is relatively simple. Contact your retirement plan or the financial advisor on your accounts and request they provide your beneficiary information. If you need to change the beneficiary, your financial institution can provide the necessary documents.

5. Stay vigilant to ward off financial predators.

Fraudsters are constantly looking for ways to gain your trust to gain access to and obtain funds from your account. Unfortunately, during times of crisis predators attack. When someone is stressed, they often let their guard down. Knowing what to look for can help stop identity theft and fraud while protecting your accounts.

Resource: Fighting Fraud: The Latest Scams And How To Protect Yourself, Identity Theft, Fraud and Your Wealth. How To Stay Protected

Another important resource: Your team at Key Private Bank.

Remember that your advisors at Key Private Bank are here to support you in your efforts. Let us know how we can be of help.

For more information, please visit key.com/kpb or contact your Key Private Bank Advisor.

Any opinions, projections, or recommendations contained herein are subject to change without notice and are not intended as individual investment advice.

This material is presented for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual tax or financial advice.

KeyBank does not give legal advice.

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