If you’re like most people you know that your trusted helpers need access to your estate planning documents. However, you may not realize that your helpers need access to other information as well so that they can carry out your wishes if you become disabled or die. Your estate planning helpers are the trustee of your trust, the executor of your Will, and your agents under your Power of Attorney Health Care Proxy.
While some people choose to give their trusted helpers a copy of their estate planning documentsand pertinent financial information, others choose to wait. Be sure your trusted helpers know where you keep your estate planning documents such as in your fire safe in your closet, in a box in the refrigerator, or on a shelf in your home office. It’s always a good idea to give this location information to your estate planning attorney too.
Make a binder or folder of your other important papers and keep it with your estate planning documents. Be sure to have a list of your advisory team and their contact information. This would include your estate planning attorney, CPA, financial advisor, and insurance professional.
It would also be prudent to have a list of people you want to be contacted if you become disabled or die, such as your minister, the funeral director, family members, and friends.
In this binder, also keep important certificates such as marriage, birth, and death certificates, divorce decrees, stock certificates, the most recent investment account statements, car titles, deeds, and insurance policies.
In fact, keep a current list of your assets. Include the title of the assets, how much each asset is worth, the account numbers, and contact information for the bank or investment company. Update this list every six months. Things change every day and out of date information will not be helpful.
Importantly, (super importantly) keep a list of account passwords and usernames. Yes, it’s okay to write them down and keep them with your other important papers. What’s the combination to your fire safe, what information does your trusted helper need to get into your online bank account, investment accounts, utilities, as well as email, Twitter, and FaceBook accounts.
This folder or binder that you keep with your estate planning documents will reduce your trusted helpers’ stress and burden tenfold. If you have any questions about getting your affairs organized and updated, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.