If you are preparing to plan your estate, it is also essential for you to organize your estate planning documents to be easier for your loved ones to find. Here is a sample list of the types of documents that might be included:
- Insurance policies
- Deeds, trusts, wills, and other documents
- Retirement accounts and pensions
- Bank, mutual fund, and money market accounts
- Items hidden away in safes and safe deposit boxes
- Stocks and bonds
- Heirlooms and photographs
- List of individuals you wanted to be contacted upon your death
When determining how to organize these documents, keep in mind this will be an emotional time for your loved ones. We provide our clients with a binder with organizational tabs to put copies of all documents in but another solution is getting a portable handing file folder box like the one shown here:
Label each hanging file to correspond with the document inside and have a separate document in each file. This system will reduce the searching for your Personal Representative. However you decide to organize, put the end result in a safe place and make sure you communicate with your Personal Representative and Estate lawyer where this box of documents is stored. Do not put your funeral arrangements in with your Estate Planning documents. Your family will need to know your wishes to arrange your funeral before they address your Will.
If you don’t organize your estate planning documents, your family may suffer avoidable losses. In addition to property losses, relatives may not be notified of your death, and important information about your family history may not be passed along to future generations.
Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law, serves clients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Melbourne, and beyond with matters of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate Law.