As we age we become more and more aware of the passage of time and the fact that we need to prepare an organized method for our family to carry on without us. Here are some tips on doing just that:
- Obviously the first thing is to make sure your estate plan is in order: will, trusts if needed, living will to express your health care wishes in life if you are incapacitated, a power of attorney to allow legal and financial matters to be handled if you are incapacitated.
- Place your estate plan in a place where your future executor can get to it easily, but NOT a safety deposit box. Although there is a statute that requires banks to allow them to be opened to retrieve the will, banks often make that very challenging. A burn box or safe in your home, so long as the key or combination is known to the executor, is just perfect.
- With your documents, keep an updated list of your accounts and debts. It isn’t necessary to update the amounts but the account numbers and login information for any online access is an incredible help to the executor.
- Have the conversation with your loved ones about where to find things, about what might be in your home of specific value that they may overlook, and any special wishes you may have.
- Some people like to also leave a loving letter with their documents, or a video of themselves expressing things to their loved ones to reassure them.
- Consider your pets. Make sure your estate planning includes a plan for them, and that your family knows what you want to happen.
- Check life insurance and beneficiary accounts to make sure that they reflect who you want your beneficiaries to be. Remember, life insurance is non-taxable and a great way to address losses to taxes in your estate if you can get it.
- Make sure a copy of your living will is with all your regular medical providers.
- Make sure you’ve done all the amazing things you want in your life while you’re healthy enough to do them! Live your life!