Consider these important Estate Planning steps now to ensure your loved ones will carry out your wishes once you pass.
Whether we like it or not, everyone dies. And when you do, your financial affairs will be settled by one or more people, which is no simple task. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and invest the necessary time time and money now to avoid the head and heartaches for them when the day does come. Here are some of the important Estate Planning actions you need to take from Scott Taylor Smith’s new book, “When Someone Dies.”
Create a file labeled “My Estate Plan”
Collect all of your estate planning documents in one file, label it “My Estate Plan” and put them in a drawer or box.
Place copies of all your estate planning documents in one file clearly labeled “My Estate Plan” and put them in a drawer or box.
In this file should be your will, end-of-life instructions (advance directives and a medical power of attorney), living trusts, organ donation wishes, guardianship decisions, real estate records and your financial records for assets and debts. Include a signed document naming your executors, then provide copies of all of these documents to your heirs and those you love and trust.
Be sure to include your digital estate as well — your online accounts and downloaded destinations — and how you will want them handled. Next comes the inventory list you must create to explain how to access these assets.
(Related: Google’s Plan for ‘Digital Afterlife’)
Name your executors
An executor is the person who will be in charge of your estate (typically named in a will). Executors are responsible for settling financial affairs, ranging from getting your debts and taxes paid to distributing assets and, if necessary, dealing with probate.
If your will includes any unusual instructions it’s best to inform your executor in advance to minimize potential conflicts.
Add your executor as a co-signer on your financial accounts
This allocates the money in you have in the bank and investments immediately if needed to pay for your funeral and other expenses, like airfare for loved ones. A co-signer also enables your heirs to utilize your money for probate.
If possible, provide your executor with access to about $10,000.
(Related: Home Health Aides Deserve More Credit)
Rent a safe deposit box
Although unlikely, if your house burns down, and your records along with it, you’ll want to have copies of all your estate planning and end-of-life care documents in a bank vault. List your primary executor as a co-signer for the safe deposit box so he or she can immediately access its contents. Remember to give your executor the box key as well.
Follow the link below to read the remaining steps to make Estate Planning easier for your survivors.