At MontVue we have walked alongside friends and family members as they not only grieve the loss of a loved one, but also work to put the puzzle pieces of estates together into an understandable picture. Life has a way of passing from one day to the next without much attention paid to the collective passing of time. Life is fleeting and, while we typically avoid the thought, we each have one less day on this earth today than we did yesterday.
No, I am not saying “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” But I am suggesting you make a concerted effort to have your estate plan, your financial puzzle, in as much order as possible. Yes, you likely have a will. Yes, you likely have all of your beneficiaries correct on financial accounts. But how about the bills you have on autopay: does anyone know where and how to access the bank account from which they are being debited? Credit cards? Facebook? Amazon? Who knows where your lockbox is? How about your car title: is that in joint names or individual? Who services your heat pump? Who is to take care of Fido? The unexpected nearly always brings unnecessary chaos.
So, make time to have a conversation with whomever will settle your estate, even if it is a virtual conversation, and let them know the little details that often fall through the cracks. If you do not want to share that level of detail just yet, then write it down and review it annually. One friend writes an “If I die” letter to his family every year that covers the mundane, routine parts of life, the parts that are often hard to piece together without a little guidance. He updates it yearly and his family knows where to find the most recent copy, should they need it. Whatever method you choose, take the time to make it a priority. Your family and executor will be grateful.