Most of my clients come into my office with a few basic goals. They want things to be simple for their family, they want to pay fewer taxes, and they want their assets to go to the right people. We can usually help them with this by drafting estate planning documents and helping to organize their assets so the plan works correctly. What we can't effectively do is help our clients get the day to day paperwork organized so that if there is a sudden accident or tragedy, the family knows what to do.
Here are some things you can do to make things simpler:
- Make a list of accounts with account numbers and contact info for the institution (banks, financial institutions, financial planner, life insurance, long term care insurance, utilities, medical insurance, etc.)
- Have a password organizer that a person can use even if they can't get into your phone or computer
- Have a list of addresses/contact info for people who should be called if you wind up in the hospital (who will care for the cat, who will make sure the heat is on, who has a key to the house)
- Make a list of other important people (who does the taxes, who is your primary care physician, who is your attorney, who is your auto/home insurance agent).
Leave the information where someone can find it, or tell someone where it is.
This is important if you go away and get stuck somewhere because a pandemic breaks out; it's important if you have a car accident and can't get home for a few days; it's important if something suddenly happens to you and your family needs to pick up the pieces. A task that is moderately annoying for you can be overwhelming for a family member. This is a gift that will allow them to focus on what is most important in that moment, rather than on trying to figure out how to pay the electric bill.