Good estate planning can include making a letter to your executor providing them with important information and documents that can help them implement your wishes upon death. There are several things to think about and specify:
Who should be notified of your death?
Do you want a funeral or a memorial ceremony?
- If so, what type?
- Who should attend?
- Would you like for people to send flowers, or would you prefer donations to charity?
- Which charity?
Where is your will?
Where are you life insurance policy, pension, annuity, or retirement account documents stored?
Where are your bank account and safe deposit box records?
Where are your stock, bond, or mutual fund records?
Where are your real estate deeds?
You should plan so as to avoid unnecessary losses. Stocks, bonds, bank accounts, real estate, and insurance policy benefits may go unclaimed and be turned over to the state government. Each year, such benefits go into state treasuries because the rightful property owners couldn’t be found. Organize your information and identify its location for your executor. You can write a letter detailing your information, locations and plans:
- funeral plans
- insurance policies
- wills, living trusts, deeds, and other important documents
- pensions and retirement accounts
- bank, money market, and mutual fund accounts
- stocks and bonds
- items in safes and safe deposit boxes
- the location of photographs, heirlooms, and other irreplaceable items
However you choose to organize your affairs, create a clear, easily accessible system. When you have everything in order, store your information in a safe place. You could consider keeping everything in a fireproof metal box, file cabinet, or home safe. Consult with an experienced attorney for your estate planning needs.