Organizational Documents for Estate Planning

Some very important documents in your estate plan are not created by an attorney or an accountant, but by you!  By organizing matters now, you can be of great help to your loved ones when you are unavailable.

The important organizational documents for estate planning include:

  • An Inventory of Assets,
  • List of Contacts, and
  • Digital Asset Instructions.

Inventory of Assets

Make a list of your assets.  I am not talking about a list of every household item, instead I am talking about a list of assets such as brokerage accounts, bank accounts, land, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc.  Your list should describe the asset and for accounts, the name of the institution holding the account, the account number, the institutions phone number, address and the name of any specific contact you have at the institution.  Make it easy for the next person to locate and round up your assets so your wishes can be carried out.

You can be of great help in listing any debts that need to be paid along with the contact information and reference/account numbers.  No need for a vehicle to be repossessed because your personal representative didn’t know there was a lien on it because they couldn’t find the title.

List of Contacts

This is a list of people who can help with locating or managing your assets.  Include the name, address, phone number, and email of your attorney, accountant, maybe a banker or stock broker that can help with your accounts.  Also include the contact information for the people who help with your property, such as the lawn service, cleaning service, and pest control.

Digital Asset Instructions

Give some instructions on what online accounts are important and how to access them, such as how do they discover your password.  Are there accounts with photos you don’t want lost?  Let someone know where they are and how to get them.

Taking some time to prepare these documents will be very helpful.