Not too long ago, a blog post caught my attention. It’s entitled Estate Planning So Your Executor Doesn’t Desecrate Your Grave. In it, Andrea, the author, gives a compelling argument for getting yourself organized so that you don’t leave a mess for your family to clean up. Her estranged father, unfortunately, left behind an estate that was completely disorganized – no Will, no guidance as to which bills needed to be paid or which important people needed to be contacted – and Andrea, as his personal representative, got to clean up the mess.
Andrea talks about the fact that you not only need a Will, you need to make sure that the person you name as your executor knows they’ve been given this honor, and that they agree to it ahead of time. She also talks about the fact that you need to leave lists for your executor, including:
- A list that contains all the information about your financial accounts, including who to contact concerning each account, account numbers and passwords, and information about the assets contained in each account, plus the names of any beneficiaries.
- A list for all of your bills and debts, so that your executor knows how much is owed and who to contact.
- A list of people who should be informed of your death, complete with updated phone numbers and addresses.
This is a good start, but depending on your financial situation and other factors in your life, you may need a more comprehensive estate plan. And, no matter who you are, you need an incapacity plan so that your family is not left to deal with a financial mess in the event that you become disabled. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you make a plan so that you don’t leave behind a mess for your loved ones to clean up.