If something were to happen to you today, would your successor trustee know exactly where to find all the information they would need to handle your affairs?
Here are our top 10 items to keep in your estate planning file:
- All current estate planning documents. Old ones may be destroyed to prevent confusion as to which is the controlling document.
- Burial plan information. If pre-paid burial or cremation arrangements have been made ahead of time, your successor trustee needs to know where to find those documents. Note: In order for a veteran to be buried at a military cemetery, the family needs to present the veteran’s discharge papers (DD 214), so be sure those are easily accessible.
- Up-to-date Schedule “A”, including a list of companies and services direct debited from your bank accounts and credit cards (so that these services can be stopped).
- Old tax documents in case of an audit.
- Instructions for how your house operates. (The alarm system, sprinkler system, gas and water shut-off valves, the keys to open the garage door if the electric opener fails, etc.)
- Information about any safes/safe deposit boxes or other storage units, including a list of contents and how it can be accessed.
- Location and keys for P.O. Boxes.
- Information on allergies, prescriptions, and medical history.
- Any old life insurance policies or retirement plans from the military or former jobs.
- Letters to your loved ones to be read after your death. These can be a source of comfort when the time comes.
Note: Make sure your file is kept either at your estate planning attorney’s office or in a secure place where your successor trustee can find it.