No one likes to think about it, but when we pass away it will be someone else’s responsibility to wrap up our affairs. This can be a difficult task for your executor if he or she does not know where your important documents are kept, information on your financial accounts like what types, where they are, and how many you own, and even mundane things like your internet passwords or home security PIN number. The best way to help your executor is to provide directions in the event of your death that can make a very difficult time a bit easier. This will also go a long way to helping your estate close faster.
The best way to give your executor what they need to take care of your estate is to provide a list with all of your key information. This list should include locations, combinations, and anything else related to:
- Home security systems
- Post office boxes
- Home safes
In addition, the list should include information about any safety deposit boxes, such as where the box is located, the box number, the contents of the box, and the location of the box keys. You should also ensure that your executor is authorized to access the box.
Also include a list of all of your financial accounts and policies, as well as information about their ownership statuses (solely- or jointly-owned) and beneficiary designations. If you choose, you can provide passwords to your online financial accounts, email accounts, and social media accounts. Keep in mind that you will need to update your list as passwords change and accounts are opened or closed. It’s a good idea to review your list on a regular basis to account for any changes that have occurred.
It’s important to note that you do not have to hand this information over to your executor before you pass away, especially if you have any privacy concerns. The information can be given to your will and trust attorney for safe keeping along with your other estate planning documents. You can tell your executor to contact the attorney in the event of your death to retrieve the information and begin settling your estate.
If you’d like more information about advance planning to help your executor, or if you’d like to have your existing estate plan reviewed by an experienced will and trust attorney to ensure that your affairs are in order, please contact me at 916.247.6868 to schedule a consultation.