We may not want to think about it, but we all know it’s true. We are — each and every one of us — going to die.
If we have property to pass on, estate planning is one thing we can do to make our time of passing less stressful for those we love — and to ensure that property gets to the family members or beloved institutions intact.
So, you have an estate plan. You’ve taken everything into consideration: your home, your savings, your 401(k) or pension and life insurance beneficiaries are all covered. You may have set up one or more trusts. You’ve even taken care of your digital assets, such as your Facebook page or, more importantly — your online bank accounts, can be managed. You’re covered, right?
Maybe not, according to Forbes contributor and certified financial analyst Charles Sizemore. Perhaps the single most important piece of estate planning advice you’ll ever get, he says, is simply to ensure that your loved ones know where to find your estate plan.
After all, it’s unusual for both members of a married couple to be equally engaged in running the family finances. Not everyone has the knack for financial organization. If you’re single, you may know where everything is in your messy home office — but will your niece or nephew?
What Sizemore, himself, did was to make copies of all of his accounts and relevant financial documents and turned them over to his estate planning lawyer. Consider doing that — and be sure several people have the lawyer’s card
Most important is to get started, and tax season may be the perfect time. Put together a simple list of all your assets and debts, including the account numbers. Keep an updated list of your online accounts and their passwords, and keep it where it can be found. Perhaps more important, include instructions for how to contact the institutions if your passwords are lost or expired.
“Estate planning is less about having the proper paperwork in place and more about managing the people in your life,” Sizemore observes.
Source: Forbes MoneyBuilder, “The Single Most Important — And Unconventional — Estate Planning Tip You Will Ever Get,” Charles Sizemore, March 19, 2015