Help Them Help You: Create a Road Map for Your Family
One of the most common questions clients ask at the conclusion of a Signing Ceremony is “What’s the first thing my family should do if I become incapacitated or pass away?” Generally, the answer is “Call us.” We will meet with your loved ones to explain your legal documents and go over the duties expected of them.
Sometimes, however, what the family needs most at hand if something happens to you is not legal know-how, so to speak, but rather practical information to aid them in filling-in-the-blanks. To help your family handle your affairs, manage your finances, or make decisions on your behalf, we suggest you create a road map for your role players (those people you have tasked with implementing your estate plan).
The information you may want to include is:
Location of important documents (including existence of Safe Deposit Box).
Your social security number.
Your doctor’s names and contact information.
Current medical information, including medications (with dosage) and allergies.
Health insurance information (medical, dental, vision, long-term care insurance, HSA or FSA account status, etc.).
List of financial institutions where you have accounts and the type of account (include 529s, UTMAs or UGMAs, & other custodial accounts).
Life insurance policy information or, at the very least, identification of the insurance companies which issued your policy(ies).
Names and contact information for the professionals you work with (accountant, financial advisory, life insurance agent, attorney, etc.).
Contact information for your employer’s HR Department or benefits manager.
Information regarding military benefits (disability compensation, funeral honors, burial in national cemetery, etc.) plus discharge papers (DD-214).
For adult children: names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses.
For minor children: names, dates of birth, social security numbers, medical and insurance information, pediatrician’s information, school information.
Information regarding your pets (including contact information for your vet, any pet insurance information, medical issues, dietary restrictions, etc.).
Login and password information for on-line accounts.
Instructions for accessing cryptocurrencies, virtual wallets, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), etc.
The goal here is to think through all the things your family would need to know if you could not communicate with them. Be practical, not sentimental. Yes, your daughter may wish she had the family recipe for potato salad, but that is not the purpose of this exercise.
By compiling this information and making it accessible to your trusted decision-makers, you can help them be better prepared to carry out their roles. By helping them, you are really helping yourself!
Phone: (919) 678-5761