We’ve had the unfortunate task of helping families with finances after a loved one passes away. One thing I have learned is the importance of Estate Planning. Now, we are not attorneys and are not giving legal advice—just passing along information that will make it helpful for your family to settle an estate.
—First, make sure all your bank accounts have beneficiaries listed. This person only needs to come to our office with a death certificate and ID to claim the funds.
—Second, be sure to have all your financial information in one place. Create a binder with a list of bank accounts, credit cards, utility accounts, life insurance policies, etc…Leave clear instructions how bills are paid (automatic withdrawal, bill pay, charged to credit card) and when they are due.
—Third, be sure that SOMEONE knows your phone passcode, Apple ID, financial account and email logins and passwords (or where to find them).
—Fourth, have a file for all vehicle titles and other important documents in one place.
—Consult an attorney to prepare a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney for Health Care, and Durable Power of Attorney. Ask about a Transfer on Death Deed for your home/properties or a Trust.
—Discuss your wishes with those closest to you. Explain why you made decisions so there are no hurt feeling among family members.
—Pre-plan your funeral or communicate your wishes for burial/cremation and the service.
If the above list is completed you may be able to help your survivors avoid probate and settle your estate easily without great cost.