On July 8, 2013

Organizing all the necessary information is one of the keys to successful estate planning in Colorado and across the nation. Most people know they will need to include their will, power of attorney, safe-deposit boxes, checking and savings accounts, tax returns and deeds and titles. However, not-so-obvious information might include a letter of instructions, including burial information, contact information for an attorney, passwords, automatic withdrawal information and social media account information.

In one scenario where a person didn’t plan well, a financial institution had the responsibility of acting as the executor of the person’s estate. However, the person hadn’t communicated key information to the bank, so officials had to go to the home and look around for the necessary information. Organized estate planning can eliminate the need for this type of scavenger hunt.

One woman has created a binder for estate planning that keeps all of the information in a safe place. Along with a checklist of all the necessary documents, her estate documents organizer has a place for passwords, PIN numbers and a variety of information needed for the computer. Without specific instructions on a person’s death, loved ones might not know where to begin looking for key information and might not even know what to look for. In one case, a life insurance company contacted family members more than a decade after the deceased person’s death in order to distribute monies.

One important aspect of estate planning is stating who will help make important health care decisions and who will execute financial plans. Because of possible delays in obtaining the contents of safe-deposit boxes, people should consider other options for information storage.

When it’s time to prepare for estate planning, the process can be overwhelming. An estate planning lawyer might be able to help clients organize the necessary information and help them plan for the future.

Source: pressdemocrat.com, “Organizing is a key part of estate planning”, Robert Digitale, June 30, 2013

Categories: Estate Planning

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