One of our most popular client seminars that we present on a regular basis is, “What Happens When You Die: What your trust now does for you and your loved ones.” In this seminar we speak at length about all of the steps a person must take now, while they are alive and have the mental capacity, to ensure that their affairs are in order when they pass away.
I often explain to clients in this seminar that death is like an inevitable storm that is on the horizon, and each day we live, the storm gets closer and closer. The issue for each of us is whether we are going to be prepared when the storm hits. Will we be wise and take the time to build our “house” upon a sturdy foundation, or will we be like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand? When the storm strikes, the foolish man’s house will wash away, but the wise man’s house will stand firm and provide him and his family with much needed protection. Like the wise man, there are many steps that we all need to take today so that when the storm does hit, our loved ones are as prepared as possible to deal with the tragedy that has just struck them. They should then be free to be occupied with what is most essential - remembering and honoring the loved one they have recently lost.
One of the items we stress is a Contingency Day Checklist. This checklist, if done correctly, will enable your loved ones to focus on the loss they have just experienced and not be worried and stressed over the huge task of wrapping up your estate. It gives them a game plan that they can follow very easily in step-by-step instructions.
One of the items we cover on the checklist is to make sure that you write down all of the combinations to your secured locations and all of your passwords to your computer accounts. You want to make sure that you have instructed your Trustees as to where they can find all of your important legal documents. They need to know where you keep your estate planning documents. They should know where to find other important papers, such as tax records, business papers, life insurance polices, deeds, and investment records. Your goal is to make things as easy and simple as possible when you pass away. You do not want to leave a mess that your loved ones have to unravel when you are gone.
Check back tomorrow for the second part of this article...
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.