Estate and financial planning documents and healthcare directives are of little use if those you have authorized to make decisions on your behalf are unable to locate these important documents or gain access to your digital accounts. Give consideration to who should have access to these documents and be made aware of their location.
- Will: An original will should be kept in a secure place known to a trusted family member, or perhaps with your attorney.
- Revocable living trust: An original should be given to legal, financial, and investment advisors, with a copy to the successor trustee.
- Financial Power of Attorney: Multiple originals of the Financial Power of Attorney should be given to the person appointed, with originals also to legal and financial advisors.
- Medical Power of Attorney: Originals should be given to the individual appointed, as well as trusted family members, all physicians, and your attorney.
- Living Will: Give originals to immediate family, all physicians, and your attorney.
- Funeral and burial instructions: Provide a copy of funeral and burial arrangements to a spouse, children, a trusted family member, and others who will be making final arrangements, including a funeral director if you have prearranged your funeral.
- Electronic and social media account logins: Keep the list in a secure place, known to a trusted individual, and to whom you appoint in your Financial Power of Attorney.
- Financial and bank accounts: Keep a written list of the account logins and passwords that can be accessed by a trusted family member or other individual.
- Document location list: Make the location of this master document known to immediate family and the person appointed in the Power of Attorney, along with your attorney.
- Personal contacts list: A list of individuals to be contacted in the event of a serious illness and/or death will be of great assistance to family members or a close friend. Also, a list of professional advisors will be helpful for those you have appointed to assist if incapacitated or in administering your estate.
Each family has its own dynamics. If you want to be the one to have control of who will make critical financial and health care decisions for you should you become incapacitated, and to honor your final wishes, you must have the documents in place and accessible to those who will be carrying out those functions.