It’s always hard to plan for an event you would rather put off and, well, death certainly falls into that category for many of us. If you’ve procrastinated on giving much thought to the particulars you are hardly alone, but a well-thought-out estate plan is one of the kindest things you can do for your family.
When the time comes, your family will already be preoccupied by the grief and pain of your passing; spare them the additional burden of having to rummage through all your affairs to find the personal and business paperwork they’ll need–that’s hardly a memory you would like to leave behind.
Instead, take the time to bring all of it together in one easy-to-find location. The following items are best placed into a single file that your family is aware of. Otherwise, your unexpected death or health crisis may well cause even more stress.
Advisors – Have you worked with financial advisors in the past? Attorneys? How about life insurance agents, CPAs, etc.? Furnish your loved ones with the names and contact info of anyone with information that might be important.
Bank Accounts and Safe Deposit Boxes – You should make your family aware of the names of any banks you hold accounts in and the relevant account numbers. Don’t forget online banking! Provide the PINs, passwords, and web addresses that hey will need. Provide the contact information of any personal banker and, if you have a safety deposit box, record the name of the bank and the account number, not to mention the box’s contents and the location of its key.
Investment And Retirement Accounts – You will need to give your inheritors all the information they need, much like above. Give them the name of your brokerage, your personal broker, the location of your statement and, of course, the account and PIN numbers.
Insurance – Keep a portfolio containing the details of each of your policies–whether health, home, car, life, or long-term care–and provide the contact information for each account’s corresponding agent. Don’t forget the account numbers!
Health care – Leave behind the contact information for any physicians you work with regularly, as well as information on your Medicare or other gap coverage you may have.
House – Is your home still mortgaged? If so, be sure to provide the important details: who is the lender and when are payments due? Indicate the location of all deeds and property titles. If you have any home service providers–cleaning help, lawn care, etc.–include their contact information.
Credit Cards – Make a photocopy of both sides of each credit card and provide balance and payment information.
Vehicles – Your loved ones will need information on where titles and registration information are kept, as well as a photocopy of your driver’s license.
Personal – There may be friends and neighbors who you would like to be made aware of your passing, so include a list with their email and phone contact information. Of course, your own email account log-ins and passwords should be provided. Read more about planning your digital estate here – Planning for the future of your digital estate.
This last bit of planning on your part will go a long way toward helping your family cope in the immediate aftermath of your death or incapacitation.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of your wealth to the next generation. Call our office today at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about this in a family estate planning consultation, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security.
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