If you have put forth the time, thought, and effort to create an estate plan, you want to know that others will carry out that plan when the time comes. However, that may not happen if administrators or loved ones run into problems accessing your plan and supporting documents.
You can prevent these complications by taking a couple of simple steps.
Keep lists of access codes and information
These days, many of our assets and data are kept in digital formats. Details for everything from bank accounts and insurance policies to personal contact information and financial transactions can be online – often behind the security of unique usernames and passwords.
While this can give you peace of mind while you are the one accessing everything, consider what will happen if someone else needs to access these accounts. How will they get in?
You can help your appointed representatives navigate these restrictions by keeping lists – or an emergency financial file – of your accounts and access credentials. You can also make a note of the security questions some sites ask, like what street you grew up on, and your answers.
With this information, your personal representative, attorney-in-fact, or other trusted agents can log on and manage financial and legal matters while you are incapacitated or after you are gone.
Just be sure that if you create these lists, you keep them in a safe location.
Tell someone you trust where you keep important documents
Security is essential when it comes to your financial information and legal documents. While you want to be sure that you keep your documents in a safe place where others cannot access them without your permission, there will be a time when your trusted representatives will need to know where you keep your estate plan. That trusted representative could be:
- Your spouse
- Your attorney
- Your best friend
- One (or more) of your children
- The person you choose as your personal representative
If no one knows where your estate planning documents are kept, the result may be the same as if you had never created them in the first place.
In short, a little transparency can make the estate administration process easier for everyone and help ensure your intentions are met.