We all know the importance of having a Will to divide our assets after we’re gone. But there’s still more to be done.
Simply having a Will won’t do your loved ones any good if they can’t find it and in addition to the Will, there’s other items your family will need as well.
For starters, you should create a list of passwords to all your online accounts. Knowing how to access your bank records, your email and any other online services you have will come in handy as your family begins the process of closing out your estate.
Include contact information for your estate planning attorney, along with a list of documents – such as your Will or a Trust – that have been prepared on your behalf.
In addition, you should have an expandable file folder that contains important documents such as life insurance policies, recent statements for your retirement accounts, bank account statements and, of course, the deed to your home.
Make another list that includes all your current bills so that your family can easily see what needs to be paid. Tell them how to turn off the security alarm on the house, where the spare keys are kept for your house and your cars. If you have any valuable assets hidden around the house, they’ll need to know that as well.
Do you own a safety deposit box or a post office box? Provide your family with the details on those and include access instructions as well. Do you have a prepaid plot at a cemetery or perhaps a funeral plan you’ve purchased with a certain funeral home? Your family will need this information too, along with your preferences for how the service should be handled.
And last but not least, create a list of all your friends and relatives that would need to be notified in the event of your death or incapacitation. It’s common for parents to know how to contact Great Aunt Mae while the kids have no idea – leaving current contact information makes it easier for your family to get in touch with those that need to know.
Attorney at Law
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