Organize Your Estate Planning Legal Documents

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Estate Planning Legal Documents Need To Be Updated and Organized

The death of a loved one is a traumatic time for surviving family members and friends. In a short period, the survivors must organize a funeral, open an estate, and find, inventory, and deal with the bills and assets of the deceased. Too often, these sad tasks are made even more traumatic by scattered or unorganized estate planning legal documents.

You can prepare in advance, by not only by having a sound estate plan but by taking some time to organize your documents. Store them in a way that can be readily found by your executor, heirs, and family members when they are needed.

Know Your Estate Planning Legal Documents

What documents are needed for estate planning? Documents for estate planning include more than just your will. If you wish to leave special instructions about your burial, funeral, memorial service, or other plans, then including those in a packet for your heirs would be a big help

If you have made arrangements with a funeral home for a pre-paid burial or service, your family needs to know that information. Many people dislike discussions of death or their property with others, so family members or loved ones in charge of a funeral might lack critical information.

You should include a comprehensive list of your property. List real estate and other important assets like automobiles.

Also, list financial information like bank accounts, investment accounts, annuities, and other forms of property that are held with brokerage houses or institutions. If your executor or administrator cannot find your financial account information, there is a very real possibility those assets might revert to the state if left unclaimed.

Be sure to include any title documents to motor vehicles, real estate, or other assets. Your executor will need them to know the extent of your property but may also need them to transfer ownership in an estate sale. While replacements can be issued, that is time-consuming and an unnecessary expense.

Don’t forget that any life insurance policy should be included in your collection of estate planning documents, and a copy of any other insurance policy, such as a home or car insurance policy may also be relevant to the work of your estate’s administrator.

Your will should be included in any collection of estate planning documents, together with any other documents that will be needed to carry out your wishes. If you wish to set up a trust to manage some or all of your property after your death, that document should be included. The name and address of your estate planning attorneys in Chicago should be included, together with any other professionals you utilize to handle your business or financial affairs, like financial planners, tax preparers, or accountants.

If you have a safe-deposit box, storage locker, or rent a storage unit, you should include information about the location and a list of the contents of those sites. An administrator or executor will need to deal with the property but can only do so if the place the property is stored is known.

happy couple talking with insurance agent on a meeting in the office

Safe Keeping of Estate Planning Documents

You may be tempted to put your collection of estate planning documents in a bank-safe deposit box. This solution seems secure but is probably a bad idea. Banks routinely scan the obituary section of local newspapers and are legally required to seal a safe-deposit box after the death of the owner. While an executor or family member can get the box unsealed, at least to check for a will, the process is time-consuming.

A better choice would be to have a fireproof box or safe in your home to hold the documents your family will need after you pass away. You also have to take the administrator or executor you intend to care for your affairs aside and explain where the documents can be found.

A consultation with an experienced firm of Chicago estate planning attorneys, like Anthony J. Madonia & Associates Ltd., can help you not only develop an estate plan but to devise a secure and effective means of getting your estate documents to your executor after your death. Call today for an appointment.