How to Organize your Estate
Estate planning has a lot to do with planning for the unexpected.
That is why it is important to organize your estate.
While it may not be pleasant, it is definitely necessary to think about the future of your family if you suddenly became incapacitated or died. Would your spouse or family know what to do? Would they know where to find important records, assets and insurance documents? Would they be able to access (or even know about) online accounts or files on your computer? Taking the time to gather all the necessary information now can help alleviate anxiety and uncertainty in the future.
Organize your Estate With This Critical Information
There is a large volume of documents and information that your family would need during a tragic event such as incapacity (even temporary) or death. This basic list will help you start thinking of the critical information you would want your family to have.
- legal documents (will, living trust, health care documents including Living Will);
- list of medications you are taking;
- list of your advisors (attorney, CPA, banker, insurance agent, financial advisor, physicians);
- insurance policies (health and life);
- year-end bank and investment account statements;
- storage facility location, access method, and inventory;
- list of other assets, including location, account numbers, date purchased and purchase price;
- safe deposit box location, list of contents and location of key;
- list of people to whom you owe money (mortgage, credit cards, etc.);
- death or disability benefits from organizations; and
- past tax returns.
Also, many of your records are probably on a computer or stored online. If you scan documents or receive financial statements electronically, someone else may not even know they exist. If you use a computer accounting program such as Quicken, QuickBooks or Mint, those records would be on your computer. Family photos may be stored digitally or online. Much of this information is password protected.
Keep it Confidential
This all is highly confidential information that should be kept secure unless access is needed. This means that the person who you appoint to be the trustee of your estate is someone you have discussed with and who has your best interest at heart. If married, this most likely will be your spouse, but it can be anyone of your choosing.
It’s important to keep all personal and financial information as organized as possible and that your appointed person knows exactly where it can be found and how to access it. Make sure to update your information at least once a year to ensure that everything is updated. When you are not able to give direction, an estate plan allows you to guide your family into exactly what your wishes are for the future.
ODGERS LAW GROUP specializes in estate planning and can help you organize your estate. To learn more about estate planning or to schedule your free consultation with Mr. Odgers, contact us by e-mail, call us at (858) 869-1114, or schedule your appointment online here.