Tips to Make Estate Administration Easier on Your Loved Ones After You Pass
As you plan for the future, it’s important to consider what might happen to your loved ones and your assets after you pass away. You can help alleviate a little stress for your friends and family members by staying organized in your estate planning efforts.
The following are a few tips to help make estate administration easier on your loved ones after your death:
- Label all files clearly. Make sure all of your estate planning documents are stored together and clearly labeled so your estate executor can easily find them. Your executor should know exactly where you store these documents to prevent a long, pained search through your possessions. All individual files should be clearly marked, including your will, advance directives, financial records, guardianship decisions and organ donation wishes.
- Make sure your personal representative knows his or her responsibilities. Your personal representative (called an executor in some states) should not be surprised by his or her appointment to the position. You should tell your chosen representative of your decision and make sure that person knows and understands all of the responsibilities that come with the role.
- Consider giving someone like your personal representative a power of attorney but do not make the person a co-signer on your accounts. Giving someone access to your financial accounts can make it significantly easier for that person to deal with those assets during your lifetime if you become incapacitated. It is tempting to add that person on your financial accounts to facilitate his or her access to those accounts at the time of your death, too. In Florida, putting another person’s name on your account creates a presumption that you intend to make a gift of that account to the person whose name is on the account as of the time of your death. Unless you intend to make a gift like that, do not just add the person’s name to the account.
- Outline your funeral requests. Having a document that clearly outlines all of your funeral wishes can prevent some additional headaches and keep loved ones from arguing about what you would have wanted for the occasion. This includes burial choices and what kind of ceremony you want.
- Be transparent with your loved ones. Be as up front and open with your loved ones as possible when it comes to the contents of your estate plan. There should be no surprises and no need for conflict when it comes time to execute your estate plan.
For further guidance on how you can create a truly organized estate plan, consult a skilled Tampa attorney with BaumannKangas Estate Law.