Imagine for a moment that you have just died suddenly. Your grieving loved ones are in complete shock. When it comes time to “get down to business” they are still having a difficult time accepting the fact you are gone. They come to your house looking for a will. They think you might have one, but don’t know for sure. Will they be able to find one? Through their tears, they rifle through your important looking papers. They are trying to figure out what assets you owned, what debts you have, and where everything is located. How long will it tack them to track everything down? As they inventory your personal property, they wonder what they are supposed to do with it. Who would you want to receive your treasured book collection?
Unfortunately, this scene is all to common for many families. Do your loved ones a favor – let them know whether or not you have a will (you really should) and where it is. Let them know where your important documents are kept. Do whatever you can to keep your papers organized. Consider preparing an Estate Organizer. Each of my estate planing clients receives one – a workbook where they can provide information on the important people and professionals who should be contacted, the identification and location of assets, debts, and important paperwork, instructions for personal property, and a list of all of those memberships and internet accounts you might want cancelled upon your death.
Taking the time now to organize can save your family a lot of time and tears later.