We all know that a death in the family creates stress, anxiety, tensions and even some drama. Some decisions need to be on the spot without consideration or planning. It is also not always clear who should be making them. This can result in arguments and damaged relationships.
Successful Farming’s recent article, “Create an Estate Directory,” suggests that one way to avoid this is to make sure your wishes are known, long before anything happens to you. Along with important documents, there’s a considerable amount of information that will need to be accessed and shared. Getting it organized now can help family members reduce stress and avoid frustration. An estate directory form is a warehouse of information that can help a family carry out a person’s wishes. It can give them everything they need to know, in the event that a loved one dies.
Every adult should organize an estate directory. This document can assist aging parents to help their children and loved ones, when they need to reach this information. This important exercise can bring a sense of relief to a family. Those in grief at the loss of a loved one aren’t troubled by pressing financial and logistical issues. If you’re married, complete it with your spouse. It can lead to discussions about gaps in your planning.
The estate directory should have information such as birth date, place of birth, driver’s license number, marriages, children, citizenship information and Social Security number. There should also be any personal facts such as your parents’ burial location, your funeral preferences, as well as important contact info and account passwords. Make sure that the document lists contact information for your financial planner, estate planning lawyer, executor, accountant, stockbroker, insurance agent and clergy. It should also include important documents such as: birth and marriage certificates, tax records, vehicle and property titles and military records.
Once you finish, give copies to your spouse or next of kin, as well as an adult child or other representative and your attorney. If you have several children and share the document with only one, make sure that all your children know the document exists and you have designated the one sibling to open it and share as needed, when appropriate. You can share a hard copy or store it digitally, along with other scanned documents on a thumb drive.
Be sure to review the directory annually and update as needed.
Reference: Successful Farming (August 2, 2017) “Create an Estate Directory”