We often choose a close family member to be the executor of our estate, usually because we trust them to carry out our final wishes. However, being an executor can be a huge and laborious task, especially when you are grieving the loss of a special loved one.
Ideally we would plan ahead for them so the journey they have before them would be as smooth as possible.
My father passed away when I was 15 years old and I can remember magazine subscriptions and an assortment of other mail coming to the house as unwanted reminders for years. A simple system of record keeping for our executors could prevent this sort of thing from happening.
Organizing and documenting our affairs is one of the most thoughtful steps we can take to help relieve our loved ones from emotional and financial burdens. All the information we have in our heads is of no use to anyone when we are gone. Without proper record keeping, our estates are at risk of financial loss, identity theft and missed deadlines.
For example, have you made any funeral pre-arrangements? Are you prepared with a record of all your family data? Are you organized with all your key documents, club memberships and magazine subscriptions? Have you listed the contact information for your professional team, like lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers and financial advisors? Of course it goes without saying that you have a proper will and power of attorneys in place.
Providing written instructions regarding the distribution of your personal property will be a true gift to your executor! If can certainly help prevent some very ugly family conflict.
A lot of people are not really concerned about what is said about them when they are gone, but many do. Wouldn't you like to have the last word by having some imput into your own obituary? Where will it be published, in your home town or where you're living now? What picture will they use? Now you probably shouldn't write your own eulogy, but a list of your lifetime milestones, accomplishments, a brief biography and a list of your favorite things would most certainly be very helpful to your executor.
Lastly, don't forget about your online presence. Make sure your executor has access to your social media sites, travel and hotel award sites, and any other multitude of online password protected sites that you are a member of.
You will want to update all these lists regularly along with your will and power of attorneys. Usually every 3-5 years or whenever you have a major life change.
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