By Betty Berry, Dec. 6, 2011

Q: My husband lost his wallet on a recent trip, and I am trying to replace the contents. It is very difficult because he has some memory loss and doesn’t remember everything he carried. Please tell others to take a few minutes to inventory what they carry with them.

A: This is difficult regardless of whether one has memory loss. I’m sure most of us could not accurately list the contents of our wallets.

An inventory can provide an accurate record of your wallet’s contents and give you an opportunity to “weed out” what you carry.

Experts say a thinner wallet is safer as thieves would have less information and therefore less opportunity to defraud.

To do your inventory, empty your wallet of its contents. Review each item to determine whether this is something you must carry, something you should put away for safekeeping or something you don’t need.

Your Social Security card, for example, should not be carried with you. The Social Security Administration recommends it be placed in safekeeping and carried only when you need to present it.

List all items to be carried in your wallet on your inventory sheet. Write down the identity of the item — XYZ credit card or California driver’s license, for instance — the account or registration number, name of registrant, any expiration date and number to contact in case of loss. Date the list and file it with your important papers.

Update your list when you change any content of your wallet.

Q: I have just moved to California from another state and want to know whether I must have a new will prepared. If not, in which state would my executor present my existing will for probate?

A: You do not need to execute a new will because of your move from one state to another. A written will made outside California is valid in California if it complied with the laws of the state in which it was executed.

You should, however, review your will periodically to ensure it reflects your wishes. Addition or deletion of assets as well as family changes such as marriage, death, divorce or adoption should serve as reminders to review your legal papers and if necessary to update them to reflect your current wishes.

Your executor must present your will for probate in the jurisdiction — county and state — where your were when you died. If your estate includes real property in other jurisdictions, more probate will be required there for the purpose of proving title and for protection of creditors at those locations.


Wednesday: Wednesday is the last day of annual open enrollment for Medicare enrollees to change health care coverage for 2012. The coverage you have today will be the coverage you will have for 2012. For help, call 800-434-0222.

Wednesday: Panel discussion on “Purposeful Giving in Challenging Times,” at the Thousand Oaks Council on Aging meeting at 1 p.m. in the boardroom of the Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362; phone 495-6250 or email (please include your telephone number). You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.

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