The death of a love one can leave a family struggling with some big emotions. Processing the loss can take time. It can take energy. It can require a lot of support. On top of all of this, there are the logistics to be addressed following a loved one’s death. Going through their estate, reviewing their wishes, and tying up all kinds of loose ends can feel like a lot on top of everything else. To help your loved ones through this process, there are a number of things you can do now that will help them after you pass away. The key to this is organization. It is a way to help your loved ones even after you are gone.
Ways You Can Organize Your Assets for the Benefit of Your Heirs
Getting your affairs in order will involve a lot of asset wrangling. You may think things are simple enough, until you really put some thought into it. Consider, for example, your bank accounts. It is not uncommon for a person to accumulate a number of bank accounts over their lifetime. Sometimes, a person will want to make a switch of which bank they primarily use, but will not close their bank account with the former bank. Other times, a person will open different bank accounts to hit certain savings goals for each. For instance, one might be a new car fund and another might be a vacation fund. When these fund goals are met, accounts are left open with just a little bit of cash left in them.
When you think of organizing your assets to help out your heirs after you pass away, considering consolidating your bank accounts. Close out accounts and transfer the money to a central account. After all, the personal representative of your estate will need to get written documentation about your bank accounts. Having a number of open accounts can make this task very difficult, especially if you were the only one who knew about the account in the first place. Consolidating your bank accounts will help make the personal representative’s job easier, minimize the time and costs of administering your estate.
Speaking of helping to make the job of a personal representative easier, you should consider utilizing a Statement of Guidance as you organize your assets. Most of us will accumulate a significant number of things over the years. Part of organizing your assets should be documenting where these possessions are located and how they can be accessed. Do you have a safe deposit box? State where it is located as well as where the key is. Where do you keep your car keys? What online accounts do you have and what are your usernames and passwords? These are things that can easily be lost when you are gone. Put this information in a Statement of Guidance to help guide your personal representative and heirs after you pass away.
You should also organize those assets that should have beneficiary designations. This means you need to check on things like your life insurance policy and retirement accounts. Check to see that a beneficiary is listed and it is your most current beneficiary selection. Change the designation if you need to. Doing this means that these accounts will pass outside of probate and go directly to the beneficiary as opposed to becoming part of your estate.
Estate Planning Attorneys
At Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace, we care about you and your loved ones. We will help you create a plan for the future that takes the best care of those you hold closest. Contact us today.