You have been proactive as far as getting your estate plan in place. You have a trust, a pour over will, powers of attorneys, and HIPAA authorizations. You have your beneficiaries named for your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. But, do your loved ones know what to do when you pass away? Let’s face it. Even the most prepared of us are never prepared to meet our ultimate demise. And even fewer of us prepare our loved ones for what to do when that day comes. There are some things you can do to make it easier for your loved ones to navigate your death.
While you may have all of your documents drafted and signed, does your successor trustee/personal representative know where those documents are kept and how to access them? Are they organized in a way that is easy for someone other than you to understand? The easiest thing to do is to send electronic copies of your estate planning documents to the key people that need them. Also, let them know who is storing the originals and where. That way they will know who to contact to handle the affairs of your estate.
Make a list of all your accounts (banking, credit cards, investments, insurance, mortgage company, car loan, etc.) so that your loved ones know who they need to contact when you pass away. Many people pay all of their accounts online and do not receive paper invoices in the mail. It used to be that once a month or two had passed, a person would have a pretty clear picture of a deceased person’s account information based off of what was received by mail. That is no longer the case. Just making a simple list of what accounts are paid on every month can save your loved ones a huge hassle. Make sure you provide a list of all your online accounts (for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Paypal, Venmo, etc.) to the person charged with managing your affairs so that they can deactivate them. You may even want to provide passwords to these accounts, but make sure you lock up that document so that your passwords do not end up in the wrong hands. If you have several online accounts, you may want to sign up for a password keeper program. Then you only need to provide the master password for that program.
In addition, make sure that if you have a trust that everything you wanted to be in that trust is actually in it. Anything that passes outside of the trust will have to be probated. We have seen an uptick in cases needing to be probated because trusts have not been properly funded. If you have a question about how to properly fund your trust, we can help answers those questions.
These are only a few things that you can do to make it easier on your loved ones once you are gone. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many different aspects that go into estate planning and we realize that, which is why, with our diverse set of services, you will have all your bases covered. We will assist with wills, trusts, health care designations, powers of attorney, tax planning as well as probate and trust administrations and more.
Our attorneys have been working on estate planning since our firm was founded. We have provided hundreds of clients with security and peace of mind when it comes to planning for both the expected and unexpected. We also have well-rounded experience in all stages of estate planning, including creating, updating, changing and administering estates.
If you have questions regarding an estate plan or need assistance putting together an estate plan that works for you, we encourage you to contact us. Call 248-349-6203 or send us an email below to make an appointment.
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