Estate planning can seem as though it is a matter of executing documents that state your final wishes regarding the way that you want your assets to be distributed. In reality, this is the first step, but you should also consider the hands-on tasks that must be completed after you pass away.
If you utilize a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer, you name an executor in the document. This individual would be responsible for administering the estate, and the probate court would be involved to determine the validity of the will and provide supervision.
Many people that understand all of the benefits would choose a living trust instead of a last will. We will get into the differences in another blog post, but we are sticking to the subject of estate administration here.
A person that establishes a living trust is called the grantor, and the administrator of a living trust is the trustee. The grantor would typically act as the trustee while they are alive and well, and a successor trustee would be named in the trust declaration to assume the role after the grantor’s passing.
Letter of Final Instructions
Regardless of which estate planning method you choose, the administrator is going to need certain information to be able to conduct the business of the estate. You can provide it through the inclusion of a letter of final instructions.
There is no hard and fast, etched-in-stone formula with regard to what must be contained within this letter. It is basically a matter of common sense. You have to ask yourself what information the executor or trustee will need to be able to effectively administer your estate.
The above being stated, to provide a basic framework, you want to provide contact information for the people that should be informed about your passing. These can be professionals like your lawyer, accountant, etc., and you can add people that you have had personal relationships with as well.
You should share a list of your financial accounts along with the location of all relevant documents Access to real property, lockboxes, sheds, garages, and the like should be provided.
Most people conduct a lot of business online, so passwords and usernames would certainly be part of the equation. If you have blogs, websites, and/or social media accounts, you should instruct the administrator with regard to the way that you want them to be handled after you are gone.
Details about final arrangements can be recorded if this is something that is important to you. Many people have very specific ideas about memorial services and other details, and this is another thing that you can think about.
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