Along with your estate planning documents, it is important to leave a folder or binder with other important information. This will make taking care of you and your assets much easier if you become incapacitated or die. It would greatly help your Agent (under a Power of Attorney), Trustee (under a Trust), or Executor (under a Will) to have all of this information readily available.
First, let someone know where you are keeping your estate planning documents such as in a fire proof safe, in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator, or labeled on a shelf in your den. It is wise to share this information with your estate planning attorney as well.
Second, prepare a contact list of your advisory team. This should include your estate planning attorney, financial advisor, CPA, and insurance professional. List names, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, website addresses, and email.
Third, keep a list of current usernames and passwords. This is ever important in the digital age. It would be prudent to take down your Twitter and Face Book accounts after you die. Your user name and password are required. In addition, many bills such as credit cards, electric, gas, water/sewer, mortgage or rent, and car payments are made online. Online banking requires the username and password as well. Even email information should be included to check for important messages and to notify senders that you will not be replying any time soon.
Fourth, keep a list of people you wish to be contacted. For instance, this may be a list of people such as those on your Christmas list that should be notified when you die.
Fifth, keep important papers available and organized. These papers would include marriage, divorce, adoption, and death certificates; stock certificates; the most recent investment account and bank account statements; and the like.
Sixth, keep an updated list of all of your assets and any funeral arrangements you either have made or would like to have made on your behalf.
Being organized reduces the burden on your loved ones. If you have any questions about getting your affairs organized and updated, please feel free to contact our office. We’d be happy to guide you through the process. 858-792-5988.