It’s not easy to think about your death and even more unpleasant to think about dying unexpectedly. However, there are a few simple things that you can do in advance to make life easier for those who will be handling your estate after you have passed away.
A widow's story
The other day we were meeting with a widow whose spouse recently passed away. While she had a general idea of their assets, for whatever reason she did not have a full understanding of the couple’s assets. This made the transition more difficult as it added stress to what was already an extremely difficult time. Even though they had a revocable trust, we found out that it wasn’t fully funded. That meant increased costs and time spent on cleaning up the estate plan.
An easier way
Creating the right documents for you is the first step. What also matters is giving your decision-makers a good tool to organize your financial affairs. One of the resources that we include with our estate plans is an asset organizer which you can complete with a listing of all your assets, how they are titled, named beneficiaries, all in one place for the trustee to have a snapshot of the assets they will be responsible for.
The following is a list of items or documents that you should think about put together for your trustee:
- Copies of and location of original executed estate planning documents
- Information on advance funeral arrangements
- Copies of beneficiary designations of IRAs and qualified plans such as 401(k) arrangements
- List of all digital assets; digital accounts, with user IDs and passwords
- Copies of life insurance policies and beneficiary designations of life insurance policies
- Copies of deeds
- List of bank and brokerage accounts
- List and location of other valuable assets
- Copies of ownership agreements relating to closely held businesses.
Rather than having your trustee read the trust and then also figure out the trust assets, give them all the information they need to execute that tool to make their job as easy as it can be.
Let us help you help your loved ones
If you have questions or you would like some help in organizing your assets, our Madison estate planning attorneys and staff would be honored to assist you. Complete this contact form on our website or call us at (608) 447-0006 to schedule a consultation!