The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die (Wall Street Journal)

As 2011 wound down, multiple states began investigating the status of unclaimed life insurance policies that were never paid out to beneficiaries -- and it's about time. According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, state treasurers currently hold $32.9 billion in unclaimed bank accounts and other assets. One way to protect your family from struggling to claim their inheritance? Keep all your crucial documents in one easy-to-locate place. In addition to your will, the list of crucial papers should include documentation of housing and land ownership, cemetary plots, vehicles, stock certificates and savings bonds, any partnership or corporate operating agreements, and a list of brokerage and escrow mortgage accounts.

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