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How Do I Calculate My Net Worth?

Adding Up Assets and Subtracting Out Liabilities

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The first step in assessing your need for an estate plan is to determine your net worth. Here is a basic guide to calculating your net worth. You'll need to print the chart for calculating net worth before you begin. If you're married or have a significant other, list the names of you and your spouse/partner at the top of the first two columns of the chart. If you're single, just list your name at the top of the first column. Also note that if an asset is actually titled in the name of your revocable living trust, then it should be listed in your column.

Add Up Values of Bank Accounts

Take out copies of the most recent statements for all of your bank accounts, including checking, savings, money markets, and CDs. If you're married or have a significant other and the account is titled in one name only, list the entire value in the appropriate owner's column. If the account is titled in the joint names of you and your spouse/partner, list the value in the joint column. If you're single and the account is titled in your individual name, list the value in your column. If the account is titled jointly with you and/or your spouse/partner and someone other than your spouse/partner (such as a child or sibling), then just list the proportionate share of the account in your column or your spouse's/ partner's column.

Add Up Values of Investment Accounts

Take out copies of the most recent statements for all of your investments accounts that aren't retirement plans. If you're married or have a significant other and the account is titled in one name only, list the entire value in the appropriate owner's column. If the account is titled in the joint names of you and your spouse/partner, list the value in the joint column. If you're single and the account is titled in your individual name, list the value in your column. If the account is titled jointly with you and/or your spouse/partner and someone other than your spouse/partner (such as a child or sibling), then just list the proportionate share of the account in your column or your spouse's/ partner's column.

Add Up Values of Stocks and Bonds

If you and/or your spouse/partner own individual stock in a publicly traded company, estimate the value of the shares by looking up the current value per share on a website such as Yahoo! Finance. Check with whomever a publicly traded bond was purchased from to determine its estimated current value. For U.S. Savings Bonds, go to the Federal Reserve's website and enter the bond information to determine their current values. Once you've figured out the estimated values, enter the total values of all stocks and bonds in the appropriate columns of the chart by using the guidelines provided for bank and investment accounts.

Add Up Values of Pesonal Effects

Personal effects, including jewelry, artwork, antiques, cars, and boats, can be really tricky to value without a formal appraisal. For cars and boats, go to a website such as NADA Guides to estimate their values. For jewelry and the like, use your best judgment by taking what was paid for each item and then factoring in wear and tear. For valuable antiques, do an internet search for a particular item to see if anyone is buying and selling it online. Once you've figured out estimated values, enter the total values of all personal effects in the appropriate columns of the chart by using the guidelines provided for bank and investment accounts, then list the total of all outstanding loans against these items in the "Liabilities" column.

Add Up Values of Life Insurance

Take out your life insurance policies and look at the names of the owner and insured and the face value of each policy. If the policy isn't a term policy, also take out a recent statement and look at its current net cash value. Add the total face value of all policies owned in your name and on your life to your column and the total face value of all owned in your spouse's/partner's name and on his or her life in your spouse's/partner's column. Add the total net cash values of all policies owned by you on someone else's life to your column and the total cash values of all policies owned by your spouse/partner on someone else's life to their column.

Add Up Values of Retirement Accounts

Take out copies of the most recent statements for all of your investments accounts that are held in retirement plans, such as IRAs and 401ks. List the total values of all retirement accounts for your benefit in your column and all retirement accounts for your spouse's/partner's benefit in their column.

Add Up Values of Sole Proprietorship Interests

In general assets, owned as a sole proprietor will be included in other columns, such as bank accounts or personal effects. If, however, you or your spouse/partner has a nontangible asset that is in your or your spouse's/partner's sole name and is a business interest, such as a valuable website that could be sold to a third party, then list the estimated value in the appropriate column.

Add Up Values of Partnership and LLC Interests

Partnership and LLC interests are sometimes difficult to value without a formal business appraisal. In general, however, you should be able to estimate the total value of the business by adding up its current assets and subtracting out its liabilities. Once you have this number, multiply your or your spouse's/partner's partnership or membership percentage by the number and add the value to the appropriate column of the chart by using the guidelines provided for bank and investment accounts.

Add Up Values of Closely Held Stock

Closely held stock can also difficult to value without a formal business appraisal. As with partnerships and LLCs, however, you should be able to estimate the current value of the corporation by adding up the values of its assets and subtracting out its liabilities. Once you've figured out this number, multiply your or your spouse's/partner's percentage of stock ownership by the number and add the value to the appropriate column of the chart by using the guidelines provided for bank and investment accounts.

Add Up Monies Owed to You

If you and/or your spouse/parnter have loaned money to a person or business and taken back a written promissory note or mortgage, then list the current balance owed to you and/or your spouse/partner in the appropriate columns of the chart by using the guidelines provided for bank and investment accounts.

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