Once you’ve made your estate plan, you might want to consider going the extra step and organize your documents and other information so that it’s as easy as possible for your loved ones to take care of your final affairs when the time comes.
What does this involve?
- Your estate planning documents should be kept together, in a location that’s safe from fire, theft, and flooding. Your executor and other loved ones of your choosing should know where your documents are and how to access them.
- It’s helpful to have a written funeral plan, so that your family doesn’t have to guess at what type of funeral you would have wanted, who should speak or perform at your funeral, whether you want to be buried or cremated, and all the other details that come with this difficult process. Take note, though: making funeral plans in advance is a great idea, pre-paid funeral offers should generally be avoided.
- You should keep a copy of any life insurance policies with your estate planning documents.
- With your estate planning documents, you should also place written information about how to access bank accounts, retirement plans, and stocks and bonds. You’ll want to include all the necessary details so that your executor knows where these accounts and investments are located and who to contact when the time comes. Your executor will also need to know where to find real estate deeds, family heirlooms, and other important items.
- Who will need to be notified when you pass away? It’s helpful to place a list of names and contact information with your estate planning documents.
Providing all the relevant information in an accessible, easy-to-follow manner is a huge step toward helping your loved ones settle your estate quickly and efficiently – and easing their burden in an already difficult and stressful time.