During this time of being at home more, now is your chance to finish that project we all put off for later – estate planning. Getting your estate planning documents organized will ensure that your loved ones are protected and that your wishes will be met. You never know what tomorrow might bring.
In this article, we are going to go over the steps you should take to organize your estate planning documents. Here is what you need to know.
Which Documents are Necessary?
This list is comprehensive, but it doesn’t apply to everyone. Only worry about those documents related to your particular estate planning and consider noting which do not apply (n/a).
Beneficiary Forms – Make sure that you have them for all accounts with a beneficiary (i.e., life insurance, retirement accounts, etc.)
Power of Attorney (for financial matters)
Health Care Advanced Directives – Including Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, HIPAA forms
Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts
Insurance Policies (i.e., life, long-term care, disability insurance, etc.)
While it can be difficult to have such sensitive conversations, sharing your wishes with your loved ones and talking to your personal representatives is a gift for all of you.
Consolidate All of Your Hard Copies
If you don’t currently have original or hard copies of each of these forms, now is the time to request them. Place the hard copy in a clearly labeled envelope(s) and then into a fireproof home safe or file cabinet, not in a safety deposit box, which may not be accessible when needed. While it’s not necessary, it can be helpful to provide copies to those who will be handling your affairs, including your representatives, financial planner and attorney. This way, they don’t have to search for the documents when the time comes.
Digitize Your Paperwork
We also recommend digitizing your documents. Be sure to organize and label them accurately, including the date they were signed. This will help you verify which documents are current and which ones need to be updated.
These digital files should also be uploaded and saved in an encrypted format which requires a password to access. This is a great way to share with your representatives.
Bottom Line: Diligence Now Will Pay Off Later
The sooner you organize your paperwork, the more peace of mind you and your loved ones will have later. Also, the more work you put into these steps now, the easier it will be for your representatives and loved ones to sort through when you’re gone. Don’t delay, get started as soon as possible.
The information provided does not constitute an offer or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, products or services mentioned. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal or tax advice. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Indices are unmanaged and do not incur fees, one cannot directly invest in an index.