You’re getting older — and that’s just fine. At the same time, however, you find your thoughts occasionally drifting toward your own mortality and the loved ones you’ll leave behind. You want to make things as easy as possible for them when it comes to handling your estate.
That means it’s time to get organized. Here are some tips that can help:
Put all your important papers in one place
Maybe you’ve never been the most organized person, but it’s time to pull things together. You should make sure that the following documents are in an easily accessible place and organized:
- Your will
- Your powers of attorney
- Your life insurance policies
- Your tax returns for the last few years
- Your real estate documents, including deeds and mortgage information
- Your pre-paid funeral arrangements, burial plan or final directives
These will make it easier for your executor to quickly take stock of your information and handle the immediate concerns following your death.
Make a list of all your digital accounts and assets
If you’re like most people, you do a lot of things online. Make sure that you leave behind usernames and passcodes on all your digital accounts, including bank accounts, utilities, email, cloud storage accounts and social media. Without these, your heir may encounter a lot of frustration stopping automatic payments, archiving your social media pages and getting precious documents and family photos out of storage.
Write a final letter to your heirs
Make a list of people who should be contacted (and how to contact them) following your death and outline any steps you think your heirs should take to preserve your estate. You may also want to add a few details that aren’t covered elsewhere — like the reasons you’ve divided your assets a specific way.
If you find that your current estate plan isn’t as complete as you thought or you haven’t started working on it, an experienced estate planning attorney can help you.