The Simple Things Matter - Keep Your documents, records, and passwords in order

This article from the Wall Street Journal points out the importance of maintaining your estate plan, documents, records and instructions in one place where your executor knows to find them. 

After reading the article, return here for some additional thoughts on planning to minimize the probate process, costs, and the agony of losing a close friend or relative.

Finishing the will, trust, durable power of attorney and advanced medical directive is really only the begining of a well executed estate plan and not the end.

It is important to making a plan work to do the following:

1) Create a memorandum to document values, ideas, important information, and knowledge for your executor, heirs, and trustees

2)  The memorandum can also supplement a plan for distributing personal effects

3) Have all of your account numbers, back tax returns, titles and deeds in a safe deposit box or otherwise available to your executor or trustee.

4) Consider using a service to securley maintain your email, bank, and related passwords

5) Review all beneficiary designations to insurance policies, IRAs, 401(k)s and other accounts to make sure that they are consistent with your plan and tax optimized when appropriate.

6)  Make sure that the documents that make up your plan are all together along with supplemental memos.

without this type of careful planning, the probate process or trust administrative process can be far more stressful and expensive.

For more information for executors and trustees, order our great report on the 10 Most Common Mistakes Pennsylvania Executors Make and How To Avoid Them or our series of materials on Enhanced Estate Planning.

David M. Frees III, Esquire
Estate Planning, Trust, and Asset Protection Lawyer
Offices in Chester County and serving the State of Pennsylvania
David M. Frees, III
Attorney, Speaker and Author