If you died tomorrow, would your family know what to do next? You may have your will written and a trust in place, but your family may still largely be clueless about what steps to take when you die.
If you’re healthy, you may not be immediately concerned for your future – but life is uncertain. Take the time to go over this critical information with your spouse, your adult children and anybody else important to your estate plan – and fill in any gaps where needed.
A checklist of everything your family needs
Immediately after your death, your loved ones will be grieving, so it’s going to be much easier on them if you’ve left them with the following checklist:
- The location of your will, advance directives and other important legal documents. Ideally, the executor of your estate and the people who have your powers of attorney will already know their roles and know where to find these papers.
- The location of your safe deposit box and the key, your safe combination and the passwords to your online accounts.
- The names and contact information of anybody who should be notified. This can include professionals, like your attorney and your accountant, but should also include family and friends you want notified.
- Your burial plans, including any written instructions, pre-paid plan information and special requests that you may have.
- The list of all your recurring payments and any accounts or services that need to be discontinued.
- Any specific bequests involving your personal items that aren’t already covered in your will. This can include small gifts to friends or family of a sentimental nature.
Estate planning is all about preparing for the future. The more clearly you’ve detailed your goals, the better off your family will be at a difficult time.