Your Estate Planning Portfolio

Family estate planningWhat are the most critical pieces of personal information for you to compile and organize?  Jennifer Carlson, an estate planning attorney with the Stuart Tinley Law Firm in Council Bluffs, explains that one of the most caring things you can do for your loved ones is to prepare a portfolio of your important documents.  This is an often overlooked part of estate planning.  Portfolio preparation consists of organizing all of your important documents in one location with user names, passwords, and verification information.

At the time of one’s passing, family members are grieving, and it is often difficult for them to identify the assets you own, locate passwords/keys, and retrieve necessary documents.  Because none of us knows when our portfolio will be needed, compiling your portfolio information is a task that cannot “wait until later.”

While each person’s portfolio will be different, following is a list that covers the most common documents.  This list can prompt you to consider additional items that need to be part of your personal portfolio as well.

Personal Data:

  • Marriage license
  • Divorce/Separation documents
  • Social Security information
  • Military service information
  • Tax returns (including tax information to prepare current tax return)
  • List of advisors
  • Safety deposit box information
  • Prepaid funeral arrangements/Cemetery plot documents
  • User names, passwords, verification questions


  • Real estate deeds
  • Vehicle/Motor home titles
  • Stocks, bonds, investments
  • Cyber assets (web page, domain name, blog)
  • LLC, partnership, corporate documents
  • Installment contract, promissory notes
  • Bank and/or credit union accounts
  • College savings plans
  • Life insurance policies
  • 401(k) and similar accounts
  • Individual retirement accounts
  • Pension documents
  • Annuity contracts
  • Job-related benefits
  • Fraternal benefits

Estate Planning Documents:

  • Will
  • Trusts
  • Letter of instructions


  • Medical history
  • Health insurance information
  • Long-term care insurance policy
  • Medical power of attorney
  • Living will/Do Not Resuscitate order

General Power of Attorney


You may choose to keep hard copies of these documents organized in files, or you can store them online in the Vault that is a feature of my$View.  Available through Dickinson Investment Advisors, my$View is your own personal website for you to be able to view, organize, monitor, and store all your financial information in one secure place.  You can make note in the Vault where your original documents are stored because, for example, your original will is filed with the court.

(You may call Tom Sperling at 712-256-4846 or send him an email at if you would like assistance in setting up your own personal my$View website so as to make use of the Vault.)


[Thank you for your interest in this estate planning material from our client event. The information above is from the personal notes recorded by Tom Sperling, and is of a general nature. This material is not intended in any way to serve as legal advice.

If reading this material leads to further questions for you, you are encouraged to contact Jennifer Carlson or another estate planning attorney of your choice. We also invite you to attend future client events here at Dickinson Investment Advisors.

Just as a reminder, Jennifer A. Carlson is an attorney with Stuart Tinley Law Firm LLP in Council Bluffs.  She practices primarily in estate planning, probate, wills, and trusts, and can be reached at 712-322-4033.  Stuart Tinley Law Firm LLP and its predecessor partnerships have been practicing in Council Bluffs for 150 years.  The firm is a full service multidisciplinary law office serving the Council Bluffs/Omaha metro area, southwest Iowa, regional, and national clients.]

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