Create — and periodically update — a family net worth statement showing all assets and how they are titled.

Whenever investing with anyone, whether they call themselves a stockbroker, investment advisor or financial planner, accounts are safer when held by a trusted custodian who sends statements. Reliable names include Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, and these firms hold cash and funds in accounts covered by Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC) insurance.

Whenever investing with anyone, whether they call themselves a stockbroker, investment advisor or financial planner, accounts are safer when held by a trusted custodian who sends statements.

Not to be confused with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the SIPC protects investors against the loss of cash, stocks and bonds only if the brokerage firm becomes insolvent or assets are missing from customer accounts. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, and that includes a maximum of $250,000 for cash. Most custodians add excess coverage of $1 billion in protection from Lloyd’s of London. Although this insurance doesn’t cover investment losses, it protects investors…

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