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A Wealth of Information is Critical to a Secure Retirement

Richard Cross - Cofounder

Richard Cross - Cofounder

I am proud of having a pristine record in the 38 years I have been helping families and business owners navigate the complexities of the financial, tax and insurance options facing all of us throughout our careers and into retirement. I have worked with CPA's and Estate Planning Attorneys to ensure my clients receive the best standard of care when it comes to their financial needs.

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During the unprecedented Coronavirus Pandemic do not just store toilet paper and canned goods.

Store all your financial records in one easy to access location for your loved ones.

More than 50% of Americans do not have wills nor properly prepared documents that allow for the orderly transfer of assets to their desired beneficiaries. Under these unprecedented times, you may not be able to get to an attorney but having the right advisor to guide you through some easy actionable steps is something you can and should do now.

Click here to open a PDF you can print and fill out to store your vital information.

Here are 10 tips to help your family navigate the financial complexities in the event of an illness or death.


  1. Organize all your financial accounts. Banks, IRA’s CD’s, mutual funds, life insurance policies, group life insurance and U.S. Savings Bonds are just to name a few.

  2. Check beneficiaries. Your life insurance policies, retirement plans, annuities, deferred compensation plans and your company’s 401K plans and 403B programs all have them. Keep in mind that many people have 401K’s left behind at previous employers. List the names and numbers of the HR people to contact.

  3. Make sure you have listed beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes and make sure to have contingent beneficiaries in the event the owner and the primary beneficiary would pass around the same time.

  4. Do not assume you have the correct beneficiaries listed. Contact each company, i.e. bank, insurance company and retirement custodians to confirm that the names, addresses and tax ID numbers are correct. Create a log of who you spoke to, their title, and when they verbally confirmed to you the information was correct.

  5. Consider changing the account registrations to a title that may read “TOD” which stands for Transfer on Death. Setting up a “transfer-on-death” with your bank or mutual fund company or brokerage account, directs these companies to give access to those you name rather quickly without having a will or having to go through probate. As of this writing, probate courts are closed due to the epidemic. Having your account registered with “transfer-on-death” supersedes a will and allows for an orderly transfer of those assets to your heirs. The advantages of that designation are that the individual or individuals you name cannot access these accounts while you are alive and can be changed by you rather easily during your lifetime.

  6. Safety Deposit Boxes could be a problem. If you store your vital information and wills in your local bank’s safety deposit box, should you become incapacitated or pass away, having your loved ones access these documents could be quite difficult. So, where you store these items, and who you give the location to is especially important for your emergency financial preparedness plan.

  7. List all 529 plans you may have set up for your children and grandchildren. An often overlooked yet very vital registration is this. You are the donor, i.e. you put the money in the account for the benefit of a child/grandchild. You need to name a successor owner in the event of your death. An example might be you are the donor for a grandchild where you name your son/daughter as the successor owner. This step is often overlooked but you should consider appointing a successor.

  8. Crypto Currencies such as “BITCOIN”. If you pass without informing a loved one how to access your digital monies, they maybe lost forever. Check out Forbes article https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiehopkins/2019/08/12/what-happens-to-my-bitcoin-when-i-die-simplifying-estate-planning-of-digital-assets/#6bcf0754816c

  9. U.S. Savings Bonds: There are nearly $24 billion worth of unclaimed U.S. Savings bonds that could have been passed on. To avoid this from happening, make a list of each, the face amount and the maturity. In addition, according to money.cnn.com, all states have over $58 billion worth of other unclaimed funds. Each state has a website to try to connect you with these funds, but most people never check to see if they are entitled to claim these monies.

  10. Have a file that contains your Health Care Proxy, Living Will and your Last Will and Testament. Just a few years ago, a survey conducted revealed less than 40% of people have health care proxies. With HIPAA laws, having a health care proxy for your adult children and vice versa are so important.


*****All you hear in the news today is the importance of “washing your hands” but do not wash your hands of getting your financial affairs in order. Please be safe.

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Schedule your no obligation consultation via phone or through our Video Conferencing Program.

Using your desk top computer, iPad and even your smart phone, you can connect with us for a Consultation at your convenience and invite other family members to join in from multiple locations.

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