The hardest part in creating your estate plan is seeing the attorney to make sure it is done right. I want to give the proper kudos to all those I’ve met, those who’ve been diligent in creating a plan and memorializing their final wishes. Yet many have not listened to my recommended “follow-up” step – communicate with your loved ones. The most critical piece that needs to be shared is these documents might be found. This little oversight can be especially worrisome because loved ones don’t often search for estate documents until after the funeral. At the very least, leave your loved ones a “map” to help guide them after you’re gone. Without the documents, conflicts can arise between family members as to what a parent or loved one would have wanted. Further, problems, such as delay and missteps, can continue if you did not leave a current list of assets or the location of important documents.
A map is a tool used to get from one point to another – a tool used to prevent getting lost to help those left behind. Your map leaves directions or guidelines as to your burial or funeral wishes for your loved ones to follow. By providing directions to those left behind, you’ve reduced the burden on them to have to decide. There is no wondering whether something is as you’d have wished, no second-guessing, and the chance for conflict amongst the family is most likely eliminated.
Your map should also provide a list of current assets. The person whom you’ve charged with settling things after you’ve gone (your ‘executor’) will need to know what you have in order to account for and make your distributions. By leaving a current list of assets, and clearing out all outdated statements, contracts and policies, you will make that task much easier. Ensuring that the person you’ve named knows where to access your estate plan and your “map” is of utmost importance.
One of the greatest gifts you can give a loved one is the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re carrying out your true wishes. Creating a complete estate plan ensures this, and to leave a “map” will relieve a great burden during a difficult time. Call for an appointment with a Morris Hall attorney today; we are happy to review your plans and help you outline what all should be in your map. To help those left behind, you can also reach our office using our contact page.
Contributed by Morris Hall PLLC Phoenix and Prescott Estate Planning Attorney, Andrea L. Claus.
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