It is important to think about the way that your wishes are going to be carried out after you pass away when you are planning your estate. Unfortunately, far too many people fail to see the big picture.
We are not trying to compare a holiday to the afterlife in a flippant sense, but the following is a useful analogy.
Let’s say that you are going on vacation for a month, and you have a friend that is going to take care of things while you are away. You are not simply going to say, okay, keep everything in order, I’ll see you in four weeks.
Under these circumstances, you would provide the code to your security system, all of the necessary keys, and any other information that would be needed to do the job. For whatever reason, this simple common sense eludes a lot of folks as it applies to estate planning.
Provide Specific Directions
Whether you are using a trust or a last will as the primary vehicle of asset transfer, you should include a letter of final instructions along with the formal legal documents. In this letter, you can share all information that will be needed to administer the estate effectively.
There is no particular etched in stone structure to a letter of final instructions. You simply ask yourself what the person will need to know, and you respond accordingly. This being stated, there are some general steps that will typically be taken in all cases.
On a personal level, you should give the representative contact information for people that you want to inform about your passing. This can be distant relatives, old friends, former business associates, etc.
There are also professionals that should be notified, including your attorney and accountant, brokers, bankers, life insurance agents, financial advisors, and anyone else that will be part of the process.
Access information for financial accounts will enter the picture here as well, including the usernames and passwords for relationships that involve online management. You should also provide logins and preferences for your social media accounts, blogs, websites, and other digital property.
You have the ability to provide directions with regard to the way that you want your final arrangements to be handled. If you have a prepaid funeral plan and/or burial plot, you should share the details. Some people have very specific ideas about their memorial services, and this is another subject that can be covered in the letter of final instructions.
These are a handful of things to think about, but as we have stated, exactly what is contained within the letter is entirely up to you. When you include a letter of final instructions, a situation that could be very complicated and confusing will be simplified for the administrator.
We have a great resource that you can tap into right now if you would like to learn more about estate administration and every other aspect of inheritance planning. Our attorneys have devised a very clever worksheet that will definitely open your eyes. It is being offered free of charge, and you can visit our worksheet download page to get your copy.
Let’s Have a Conversation!
You can find the treasure trove of written information on this website, and we provide it because we want to help our neighbors protect their legacies in any way that we can. At the same time, there is no substitute for a direct, one-on-one interaction with an estate planning attorney.
If you are ready to take direct action, we would be glad to gain an understanding of your situation and make the appropriate recommendations. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at 808-531-5391. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use to send us a message.