An important part of estate planning that is often overlooked is the creation of an “Important Information and Documents” folder. This may be either a physical or digital folder, and it should contain your important information and documents, that is, the items your loved ones would need if something were to happen to you. Organizing this important information now will alleviate stress and uncertainty in the future in the event that you are unable to manage your affairs yourself.
You may want to include the following in your “Important Information and Documents” folder:
- Contact information for your lawyer, financial advisor, accountant, or other relevant professionals.
- Estate Planning Documents, including Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney
- The location and access information for your original Will.
- Funeral & burial plans
- Life Insurance Policies
- Retirement Plan documents and Pension Policies
- Identification documents such as passports, and marriage, birth and death certificates
- Bank Account details, including safe deposit information & keys
- Motor vehicle titles
- Home information such as mortgage, water/sewer, garbage, power, gas, Internet, cable/satellite, and homeowner's insurance
- Computer passwords
It is helpful to have all of this information in one place. You should inform your loved ones or other representative of its location and how to access passwords. The above list is not all-encompassing. There may be other items important for your own situation and circumstances. You should review this checklist and update your information annually.
Organizing all the above can be difficult and time consuming. However, it is an important part of preparing for the future, for you and your loved ones.