You can take the view that estate planning is all about documenting your wishes in a legally binding manner. In fact this is a large part of what estate planning is all about. But at the same time, there are other pragmatic matters that must be addressed, and this is something to consider when you are making preparations for the inevitable.
For example, if you have a pet you have to make sure that you have a plan in place that will provide a home for the animal and the financial resources that would be necessary to maintain its care. This is a practical matter that can easily be overlooked, especially if you are simply assuming that you will outlive the pet. In reality you have no guarantees, so pet planning is important.
You also have to consider the things that your family members will need to access after you pass away. Important documents are going to be one of these things and sharing their location with those who will need them is a task that will need to be undertaken. If you have a safe deposit box this is another matter to consider. There may be keys to vehicles and real property that must be made available as well. If you put your mind to it you could probably add things to this list.
A lot of people do business online these days and most of us have social network presences. Passing along usernames and passwords to the heirs who will be handling your final affairs is another matter to keep in mind.
In the end it is a matter of communication. People sometimes find it difficult to discuss the topic of death. Yet it is something that happens to all of us and the practicalities involved simply must be addressed.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
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