Are you prepared to pass on what you worked hard to grow?
Emotionally, this is not something any of us is really ready for. It is difficult to wrap our minds around the complexity of change that our family would endure, should we pass away.
Practically, this is something we need to be prepared for immediately. It is called an accident for a reason. Children often apologize for things they have done wrong, citing an accident. In most cases, it was something that was foreseeable and preventable, they just thought it wouldn't happen to them, or they wouldn't get caught.
Planning for your family's future can have similar unintended consequences. Don't get caught thinking it won't happen to you. Your assets might end up in a legal battle, be assigned to the state, or be inherited by an unintended party (ahem, ex-spouse). Even if your spouse or children eventually inherit your assets, they could be put in financial peril trying to afford what is rightfully theirs while waiting on the court to make a decision.
There are several things that people think of... who is the beneficiary of the life insurance policy? Or do I have a will and/or trust in place and is it current? (If you haven't thought of these, it's time to get them updated!)
However, there are several other things that most people don't think about or prepare for and they are all related to one question... "Can someone step in and access everything they need, if I am not here to access it for them?"
What accounts will need to be shut down?
- Credit cards
What is automated and paperless, making it hard to track down?
Do I have a password sheet or USB file? Where is it stored? Is it properly labeled?
Can my executor get into my email?
Who is my legacy contact on my phone? Do they know how to access it?
Do I have legacy contacts on my social media accounts? Do they know they are listed?
Are my financial and personal items organized in a manner that would make it easy for my beneficiaries to execute them?
Whose names are my assets registered under?
- Other titled assets
Does my executor have the code for my safe? Key to my house?
Is there a safe deposit box? Where is it? Where is the key to it? Who is listed as having access to it?
Who has the ability to access my bank accounts? Do I have an executor assigned in my will so there is a quick transition to an estate account.
What is in my safe?
- Copy of the will, listing an executor
- Copy of the trust, listing all assets
- USB with a List of passwords
- Titles to vehicles/homes/vacation homes
- Life Insurance Policies
- Long-term care policies
- Disability policies
- Information on pensions
- Social Security card
- Contact information for professional services; attorney, accountant, and financial advisor.